The last two days I have taken a few hours each day to just shop or look. I haven’t really bought much because I have always had someone with me. I find it very soothing just to go in and browse among the clothes, feel of the fabric and comment on the styles. I don’t know why it is born in most women to enjoy this treat. I want to believe it is the part of being the Proverbs 31 woman in which God puts in us. We have to find just the right thing that makes us feel good and is the right price. You can laugh! There have been times when I have been mad at Jeff or upset for some reason and just have to go to town and look around in the department stores. It has a way of clearing my mind or taking my focus off of the now. I may never buy anything or even try on anything but it is nice to window shop. I usually run into people I know and make small talk too. I think the escape of reality even if it is just a few hours helps us regain focus on the important things. People who don’t like to shop seem to get their relaxing state in some other form or another.
Of course anyone can go overboard with shopping and buy in excess in which they really don’t need. I remember in my twenties every time I got a paycheck, I felt like I had to go and spend it with just buying something. I think back now, look at myself and wonder why I didn’t save and now I know. I still see people who are my age or even older who continue to do the same thing yet never having anything but always broke. I still hear couples say to each other, “Let’s go to Walmart and see what we can buy today to blow some money.” This is a sad when you see parents trying to ‘give’ their children toys when in fact the children would be just as happy to go to the park and spend time with parents.
Those commercials on television, ads in magazines and on billboards entice us to spend don’t they? Do you know people can have a shopping addiction? Researchers believe that it releases a chemical in the brain in which makes a person feel in control and relaxed with pleasurable emotions. Much like an addicted person with drugs or alcohol it is a rush, but to continue to get the high, shopping must increase more and more. I also know people in which had numerous credit card debt, pray and work to get it back to a zero balance and then run it back up to the max again. I wonder if they learned anything in the process.
How do you know if you are addicted to shopping? You might be able to tell by looking at your typical shopping trip. It’s often driven by need to fill a void more than the need to socialize or replace the jeans that have mysteriously shrunk, and it’s usually out of control. Other factors to consider are how your shopping is affecting your life and why you shop:
- Do you have to buy something, anything, if you go shopping? Or can you leave a store empty-handed because you didn’t find what you needed?
- Do you depend on shopping to make you feel better when you are down? Does shopping give you a “high” or give you a feeling of power and control?
- Is your shopping adversely affecting your life? Are you in debt primarily due to shopping?
- Do you hide your purchases?
- Do you go shopping intending to buy only a few things and come home with bags and bags of purchases?
- Do you buy multiples of items? Do you have purchases that have never been used or clothes that still have tags on them?
- Buy things you want regardless of the financial sense it makes.
- Running credit cards to the max.
Here is the answer to prevent shopping binges:
- Pay for things by cash, not credit cards or check.
- Make a shopping list of things you need not want.
- Destroy all credit cards and have only one for emergency use.
- Window shop after stores are closed and avoid “sale” signs.
- Avoid TV shopping channels and catalog, internet sites.
- Take a walk when feeling overwhelmed to fill the void or urge to shop
I hope that none of you fight this battle but if you do then maybe in some way I have helped you overcome. If you battle with other compulsive or spontaneous decisions take time to sit down and write out your thoughts and get in touch with the real you in trying to find out why you do those things. It might just boil down to the void you are trying to fill in your heart.
Because we are all born into a sinful world, and because of sin we are unattached to the Savior Jesus until we decide to turn all of our lives over to him. Until we serve Him 100% and give him all, then people will continue to try to fill the void by shopping, drinking, drugs, sex, pleasure, vacations, sports, and many other things of this world. However, if we take time to get caught up in His Spirit, pray and be released into the winds of His love, we can overcome all the world’s enticements and addictions. When you get into a relationship with Jesus, it brings much more than just a feeling of a high but also a faith that will conquer anything. It starts in a made up mind!
Romans 12:2 New International Version (©1984)
Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is–his good, pleasing and perfect will.
Prayer: Lord, I thank you for wisdom for the things we need to know the difference in why we do the things we do in every situation. Help us better to understand the reason why we try to fill the void or try to cover up the pain with things other than you. I thank you for exposing the wrong and giving us the right. Thank you for putting us on the road to righteousness and faith. Thank you for supplying all my needs for you alone are my provider and strength. In Jesus name. Amen.