Shopping, Shoes, and...Shackles?

This week I went shopping with some friends, but I didn't plan to spend a lot of money, primarily because I didn't have any. Good reason, huh? I just wanted to window shop, eat a delicious caramel apple, taste samples at Harry and David and enjoy my friends' company. It didn't turn out exactly as I had planned. My friends ended up doing some serious sale shopping, and I was left in the dust, my wallet empty, and at the end of the day only left with one bag from the Gap and sticky fingers from my caramel apple. The samples at Harry and David weren't even that great. Overall, my shopping trip was a disappointment and left me once more staring despairingly into my closet, wishing I had cuter, more expensive clothes, or even just a fuller closet. I felt like I had nothing to wear, even though there is an ample supply of t-shirts, tanks, skirts, and jeans in my drawers and closet. Right now I'm wearing a pair of denim capris, and a turquoise shirt, my hair is loosely tied back, and I'm in the house barefoot. Not exactly a fashion statement, but I'm comfortable, and still reveling in the fact that I got this shirt for a steal at a garage sale. So many times I am dissatisfied with what I am wearing, and look at all those girls who have all the money in the world to buy whatever they want. I get jealous, frustrated, and then...I go shopping again. I buy a new top, or a pair of flats that I think will complete my wardrobe, only to find the next week that I am in need of a new pair of sandals for the summer, or I need a nice brown jacket to go with that skirt I bought last week. For me, shopping is an unending circle of dissatisfaction and spending money I really should be depositing in the bank for that $1000 Macbook I'd like to start saving up for. (I did the math...that's 50 babysitting jobs.) As we all know, God wants us to see that true beauty comes from within, and I could think of many woman I know who don't necessarily meet the world's standards of beauty, but are so enjoyable to be around because of their bubbly personalities or friendly dispositions. Sometimes, I wish I could wear short shorts, a bikini, or a low-cut top, you know- just to fit in, but wearing what the world is calling "new" or "in" isn't what's important to God. So, referring to the title of this post, "Shopping, Shoes, and...Shackles?" I want to make one point- This week when I went shopping, I came home with a pair of gray sneakers from the Gap that were similar, but CHEAPER!!! than the ones I've been wanting for a long time, I pictured myself wearing them every day and all of the sudden being hip and cool- looking like other girls. Then I got some orange stuff from the grass at my church on them...I really hope it comes off. Shopping and wearing cute clothes is just one more opportunity Satan can use to entangle, or trap us in a web of lies, confusion, and ultimately separation from God- because when we want more, we are saying He is not enough. Are you in shopping shackles? Do you find it difficult to stay away from the sales flyers in the papers, the "Style Watch" magazines in the supermarket, or the clearance sale at your favorite clothing store? God wants you to be free of those chains, to bring you closer to Him- and the only way out of your bondage is through Him. I find so much more satisfaction in spending quiet time with God in the morning, taking pictures of God's creation, or spending time hanging out with my friends and family than I do after I buy a new outfit. God does want us to be happy and we can be if we spend our time loving Him and loving others instead of trying to be like other girls, or working our tails off to make ourselves look "beautiful". Even though I still wish I had that new top I saw at Maurices the other day, or a real pair of Chuck Taylors instead of a pair from Gap, I know that I need to find my true satisfaction in Jesus, and that's the only place I'm gonna find it!

The movie Confessions of a Shopaholic, a "romantic comedy" about a young woman who can't put down her credit card, is a surprisingly insightful commentary on this generations addiction to shopping, and really causes the viewer to think about their spending habits and what's really important. Click on the photo below to access Plugged In Online's Christian review on the PG movie:


Friends of Narnia said...

Wow, that's convicting, Madeline. I don't go shopping often at all, but even if I don't NEED new stuff, I always WANT to get new stuff for a new season, because I'm tired of the stuff I had last year. It's always the same. And I often buy a skirt which then leads to a shirt which then leads to a sweater which then leads to the discovery of a.... Well, you get the picture. :) I think there probably isn't a girl in the world who isn't discontent with her clothing at one time or another. But in America we're CONSTANTLY being bombarded with "You need to look like this!" and "If you're wearing something looser than this you are so NOT cool." We need to be constantly "monitoring" our thoughts about clothes, because of the culture we live in. We are so much more than clothes, but that's not what the culture wants us to believe. Is it just me, or does that actress look like Giselle??

~Queen Lucy~

Madeline said...

I'm glad. I never re-read my stuff before I publish it- partially because I'm too lazy and partially because I want it to be raw and real...You are so blessed to be in a family where you don't have many opportunities to go shopping- trust me- it is a gift from God. He is rescuing you from some serious temptations. There were several times while we were shopping that I was convicted to splurge on a top because it was "just my style" and REALLY pretty. Anyway, I'm glad you agree. And yes, that girl does look a lot like Amy Adams..she is really pretty. Her name is Ilsa Fisher.I think the reason I like both of them is because they are unique in their appearance..they don't look like your every day actress. :)

Madeline said...

Typo...I think "Ilsa" is spelled "Isla" and pronounced EYE-la.

Lexi Lou said...

OH, reading that reminded me of the chapter in Little Woman called, "Domestic Experiences". I don't know if you have read the book, but I happened to read this chapter just this morning! I was just flipping through the book and chose one chapter to read and it happened to be one that I think applies to your life. Actually, the chapter had a lot of conections to you, Madeline. In it Meg goes shopping with her friend and is tempted to buy some silk, for fifty dollars (a lot back then). Her friend is rich and can buy anything she wants, and Meg just wants to buy all that she wants as well. In the end Meg feels guity at her extravagent spending (not saying this part of the story is applicable to you).
Just to let you know, I buy half of my clothes at Goodwill (often they can be name "brand" things, but not "brand" new), but I have also been shopping at stores like Kholes where I get new things as well, so I sort of understand how you feel. it would be nice just to be able to buy all that I want and get new clothes all of the time, but it is not realistic for me to do so. There are eight people in our family to clothe and we can't spend money on new clothes all of the time, but I do get more clothes now that we shop at Goodwill, things are cheaper therfore I can get more. For instance, instead of a $20 pair of jeans, I can get 3-4 pairs.
Anyways, I think that it is wonderful that you can see what is wrong in your life, and that you desire to make a change. You obviously don't like the way that you feel, and that is an evidence that Christ lives in you and that you want to follow Him. So let me encourage you, there is evidence of the Holy Spirit here! Yeah! I am glad that you realize that Jesus is the only true satifaction!