Home > a new spirituality > My grand shopping experience, I mean, anxiety

My grand shopping experience, I mean, anxiety

Monday was a splendid day.  It started with me getting my hair done at my favorite salon (Hed Kandi Hotel Arts) with my amazing stylist (Chrissy Straub).  But wait, lets not forget the quick visit to the Starbucks next door for a special morning java.  There’s nothing like coffee, time to read, fresh new color, a head massage and the miracle-working power of the stylist blow drying the hair to look like something out of a Pantene commercial!


Later that day the boys and I headed to Cross Iron Mills where the deals were amazing!  I found 4 dresses for $60!!  It was a refreshing day of shopping.   With excitement I got home to try on my new duds with my new doo!   I had a day like this awhile ago.  I’m not sure where those clothes went….  I couldn’t help but reflect on this at the end of the day.


“They (marketing guru’s) then encourage us to shop, convincing us that shopping will do today what it failed to do yesterday”… (Staub)


I’ve found myself at the mall times over, looking for something to make me feel beautiful only to find that feeling leave after a couple days, itching to be fed again.   I didn’t really see how annoying this cycle is until I saw it in my son.   I would buy him a toy, which he would be thrilled about….. for a few hours.   That same day, he would be asking for the next “new thing” he wants me to buy him.   There was my mirror standing in front of me, showing me my ugly greed.  At 4, he’s already a perfect consumer.


Consumerism and materialism distracts us from mission and cause a spiritual down-spiral.  Is it wrong to buy a starbucks or a new outfit once and awhile?  No!  But we need to be sensitive to know when we’re just spending to feed our god.   Just like I love to give my son new things, God loves to bless us!  But when it turns into ungratefulness, hunger for more never to be satisfied, and a means to find meaning and status…. it sends us down a path that’s hard to turn from.


“It is tremendously instructive to stand back and observe the frantic scramble of people for money or things related to money (what it can buy and what it can give us.  And this does not just occur among the poor and starving.  Quite the contrary – the super wealthy, who really have nothing to gain by more money, still seek it furiously.  The middle class, who are really quite adequately cared for (and who are from a global perspective the wealthy), continue to buy more houses than they need, to acquire more cars than they need, to have more clothes than they need.  Many of us could live on half of what we now receive without much serious sacrifice, yet we feel that we are just barely making ends meet (because the world and media are tellings us that this is so) Money is an idol we must be converted from in order to be converted to Jesus.” (Richard Foster)


Consumerism has created in us a “new immediacy”, Hirsch says, “living alternative to what heaven has always stood for; focusing now on the fulfillment of all our longings”.


This goes beyond meeting needs to buying with ulterior desires of status, identity, and happiness.   Why do I need 1 more dress?   Am I afraid of not having enough to wear because clearly  the 7 dresses in my closet isn’t enough for this summer?  I want to look beautiful and I hope each dress to fulfill that for me.  But they can’t.  I can keep buying and buying, but the new one will always turn into tomorrows Value Village donation.   That’s what idolatry is: trying to fill the hole only God can with things that cannot possibly deliver that kind of promise (no matter what the marketing ad promised)


Consumerism raises a whole new god: the god of ME.  This god craves status, to be noticed, to be admired.  It isn’t rooted in LOVED, but feeds off SELF.   If Jesus “fits” it’s cool to share some space with Him, as long as the god of ME still gets what it wants.   Sure, give a little to the missionary, help the local food shelter, etc….. after all that makes that god of ME look amazing!  But whoa, lets not go too crazy now with abandoning this god to passionately pursue what’s on the One True God’s heart.


Friends, may I suggest switching “gods”?  Jesus gives a radical alternative and passionately speaks against all things the love of money produces.


Find identity in the One who created yours.  To find meaning in the One who has designed it in advance for you.  To surrender status-anxiety, the desire to be admired, the focus on self, and the insecurity that comes from thinking about how others perceive you.


“You can’t consume your way to Jesus” (Alan Hirch)


“We’re set up to buy and sell, not to give and receive” (Ibid)

Categories: a new spirituality
  1. June 23, 2011 at 10:17 pm

    It scares me how much consumerism mentality has even crept so long into my view of the church, and relationships…it seemed so much of my life was about what I could get out of it. It such a huge paradigm shift to walk away from all that…the desire is there, but I guess it’s a heart change when the behaviour is so ingrained!

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