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: