Retail Therapy & Misplaced Joy

As a fifteen year old, I had a collection of handbags and purses. I bought them all the time, as though “collecting” were the only appropriate way to shop. I had too many to count, and I was rather proud of it. I have always loved shopping. It’s on of my favorite past times. (I know, what a past time, right?)

Today is Cyber Monday, which is so fun. Shopping from my couch? I’m in. Last night I laid in bed perusing all the great deals, scheming up a way to come up with…oh, $200 in extra cash. Just somewhere. But then I close all the tabs and come back to reality after riding the high of a full shopping cart and incredible savings.

I’m a pretty basic 20-something, in that, I go to Target for therapy. I drink Starbucks while I’m there and always, without fail, buy more than I should. I can’t resist clearance end-caps, and saying no to a great deal? I’m horrible at it. I love a great deal. I love seeing that I saved $30 in one trip and only spent $30 (that happened two days ago). I walk out of the store feeling like even if everything else in my life is chaos, at least I can rock a great deal.

I can’t believe I’m even writing a post about this. This seems futile. Retail therapy? Who cares! What a real trying time of life, Janelle.

Phew.

Can I press into that for a moment? I think it’s the little, futile things that slowly destroy us. I think it’s in the little things, the places we say, Well, it’s just $20 on a bunch of stuff, who cares? It’s just a little lie about how long this took me, who cares? I only pretended not to receive that text so that I wouldn’t hurt her feelings, so who cares?

It’s easy to look around at everyone and their big problems and think that we have it pretty great when our problems are how much money we spend irresponsibly. I do that. My life is not hard, truly. But how fully am I living, if I’m stashing away futile, misplaced joy? How fully am I living in Christ if I’m lying about small things, without anyone telling me I’m wrong?

I misplace my joy. I put it in my clothes, the great deals on home goods, my Kylie Jenner lip kits, spending money left and right to give my children the greatest gifts on Christmas.  It seems futile. It makes me cringe a tiny bit, because there are greater issues in the world, right? But I don’t want to live half-heartedly in the gospel. I want the gospel to pervade the places that I’m misplacing my time, my energy, my joy. I want the gospel to cleanse my futility.

I’ve been working on this for two years, at least. Since Evan began freelance work, our money situation is consistently unknown each month. We live week by week, month by month. Some days I envy those who have salaries and consistent paychecks, but God prompts me often to look back and remember what God has done in us all this time. I know Him better now than I ever have, and I don’t think that would be true if we stayed in the place we were. I hate that it has taken me years to work on this. That I have been misplacing my joy for this long, that I have to keep working on it, and that God has not fixed me just yet. I press on and keep praying Romans 12:2, Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.

Keep renewing me, Lord, so I can see Your will. Your good, pleasing, and perfect will.

 

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