Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Things Make Me Hap-pay

I love to shop. I do. I know it's not kosher to admit it, but I really do think that buying things makes me feel happy. I also know that things aren't supposed to make you feel happy, and if you do admit that buying things makes you happy, then this makes you sound materialistic and greedy and (gasp!) secular. As in not spiritual.

Confession Time.

Things. Make. Me. Happy.

Sometimes deliriously happy. Sometimes happy for a moment. Sometimes happy for days. Weeks. Months.

I love to shop. I love to shop for my house and I love to shop for my clothes and I love to shop for my shoes and I especially love to shop for everything else that I haven't mentioned in the above "I love to shop for" categories. The only things I don't love to shop for are things like guttering and air conditioners and parts for garage doors, because we all know that stuff is very boring.

Yesterday, we made our Official Back-to-School shopping trip. It's better if you just get it out of the way.

The younger of my two offspring, who does not love to shop, was disappointed that we were choosing to use our time in such a reckless fashion.

"We've got five more weeks!!" he was howling from the backseat. "FIVE. MORE. WEEKS!"

(What, you ask, would we be doing if we weren't shopping for back-to-school supplies on a random Monday afternoon? Sitting at home, playing Minecraft. Well, not me. It makes me feel something akin to invertigo when I look at the screen.)

However. The older of the two tends to get ecstatic and slightly frenetic (I don't know where this comes from) when the prospect of shopping (for herself, that is) comes up. When we walked into JC Penney to look for some shoes (I had a $10 off coupon for tennis shoes that I would not let go to waste, plus they were on sale--$37 for a pair of $80 Nikes? What what!), she already had the I Love Shopping gleam in her eye.

This could be dangerous.

But I couldn't help but smugly smile when the Staples employee gave me a fist pump for saving a chunk-o-change by doing all my school supply shopping at one time, because I saved 25% on my entire purchase.

Do you know what I love almost as much as I love shopping?

A good deal.

The oldest got a new book-bag, which is not something we buy every year, much to her distress and hints as to the implications on her social life, as she has been carrying the same book-bag since third grade. In fact, she came home mid-year last year with one of the straps cut, claiming it "just broke" (as if I'm an idiot who fell off the turnip truck yesterday) and she desperately needed a new one who's strap would be intact. She was so happy about the new bag that she was literally jumping up and down. I've never seen such over a book-bag, but we've all got our vices, and hers just may be bags. (She has promised to carry said new bag all three years of middle school. I'll get back to you on that in three years.)

As happy as shopping and clothes and shoes make me, the feeling never lasts long enough for me. And I have a suspicion that if I were completely honest with myself, I'd admit that I'm searching for more than just new shoes. If I could be completely honest, I think I might admit that "searching for" and "significance" might go together. Perhaps I could add "value" or "merit", and I could probably throw in "beauty", too. But in all my searching for these things, I've never found a thing, or an item, that is completely fulfilling, even when it's in the plural form.

Some people, eager for money, 
have wandered from the faith and 
pierced themselves with many griefs.
{1 timothy 6:10}

Wandering would imply that it wasn't on purpose, wouldn't it? I'm not a bible scholar, and don't pretend to be. What I share comes from my own experiences, but I can't help but think that it's a slow process, like wandering down a path you see that looks interesting, and maybe getting a little bit lost in the process.

It's true. I have been in my life eager for money. Like excited about it. Like wanting more of it. Like jealous of those who have it. Does this make me materialistic and greedy and (gasp!) secular? Probably. It's not where I mean to be. It's just where I've ended up. Because I've made one big mistake: thinking that money and things can fulfill me and that God cannot. But that's an awfully big gamble to take, especially considering that God promises to fulfill our every need.

And my God will meet all your needs 
according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus.
{philippians 4:19}

When I make my way back to God, I think I begin to realize that the true desires of my heart aren't necessarily shoes and accessories, but things like joy and peace, which not even a pair of the best jeans can offer. So while I've been a bit like a weeble-wobble, tottering here and there, the truth of the matter is that only God can truly give me what I'm looking for.

And I am so into that.

Take delight in the Lord, 
and He will give you the desires of your heart.
{psalm 37:4}

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