Photo Cred: Yuriy Trubitsyn
Nearly every girl I know loves the word. Shiny floors that you can practically see your reflection; displays of glittering chunky gold and silver jewelry; racks of sunglasses that are prefect for summer and make a perfect addition to your collection; textures that run through your fingers like silk, soft cotton, and denim that you can see yourself wearing and the comments your friends will make if you purchased this latest necessity. Let’s not forget, of course, the rows of flats for sundresses and jeans, the click clacking of trying on a new pair of heels, and the strappy sandals that make your feet look slimmer.
Oh, all of that and more rushes to me when I hear the word “shopping.” And it is the and more part that I want to write about today.
Amazingly, I never liked shopping growing up, or ever really. My friends in middle school would meet at the mall on a Friday or Saturday and spend the evening tossing around and trying on new clothes and dresses. I was too self-conscious about my body to ever really enjoy it. In high school, looking for a prom dress was the most disastrous $100 my mother and I would ever spend, the trauma of trying to fit a dress to my oddly proportioned, petite, somewhat athletic, yet still carrying a bit of baby fat body would ever experience. (I do not miss high school prom dress shopping one bit.)
To be honest, to this day I don’t really like shopping. But not because I’m too self aware to enjoy it, I just prefer to be outside, hiking, biking, or doing yoga than to brows aisles of clothes “just for fun.” Fun means so much more than being inside under blinding florescent lights looking at styles I want to buy and can’t afford or wishing I could pull off but never can.
So, it was to my surprise that for one of the first times in my life a few weeks ago, I felt a connection to the 3.5 billion other women who live in the world and care about this thing called shopping. Why had I been missing out, for nearly a quarter of a century, not appreciating this consumerist pastime?! Had I just crossed over to womanhood, as the world knows it?
Let me explain.
I walked into this one store that has a red and white logo and nearly every important thing to humanity inside. You know… Target! I ran in quickly to buy a card for a friends wedding, or birthday. I can’t even remember the event because after picking up the card, I meandered to the clothes section.
Instead of being overwhelmed with all the options and colors, I could barely pull myself away from the dresses, shirts, pants, shorts, more shirts, more dresses and more pants all waiting just for me. I took multiple trips back and fourth from the clothes to the dressing room and back again. And I’m sure that the sweet lady who gave me a new card with a number each time I walked in and out of the dressing room with armfuls of clothes, secretly hated the pile that built up of discarded options that someone (probably she) would have to put back in it’s home at the end of the day.
I tried to help out by putting one or two things that I remembered where I got them back on the rack, but let’s be real, I was too enamored with this thing called shopping to be of much use. I probably put those shirts on some pants rack somewhere.
I don’t remember how long I spent in Target that morning. But I ended up walking out of the store empty handed, save for the card I had run in to purchase originally.
I wanted sooo many things! Too many things. I wanted the leopard shoes that wouldn’t go with anything in my closet. And the dresses to add to my collection of dresses I rarely wear anymore. I wanted boots and purses and new workout clothes…
But I walked away from it all; even though I could have used the pretty, plastic card in my wallet with my name on it to make all those things I wanted, mine.
I don’t know if it was my conscience or what, but a thought hit me at the end of the clothing frenzy I found myself that morning: I have to be a good steward of what God has given me, with both time and money. In the end, I couldn’t justify purchasing new “stuff” when I didn’t have the money to actually pay for it, when I had been struggling for months already to pay off that pretty, plastic card with my name on it. I couldn’t justify buying all this stuff for myself when so many people live with so little and don’t have a choice. I couldn’t justify claiming these new things as mine when the point wasn’t for an event or purpose other than to satisfy my desire of compliments and wanting.
So I walked away.
I also realized that morning, that I will never get back the time that I spent at Target trying clothes on.
To me, there are more important things to do with my money and time than buy more stuff for myself. (That’s not to say I will never buy anything ever!) However, I realized that day in Target that I turned a corner with shopping. It is with purpose and intentionality that I will shop in the future, not out of a rush of simply wanting things.
So I encourage you to think about what is in your shopping cart or basket the next time you meander into a store, being honest with what you find yourself reaching for, and think about spending that time and money on things (friendships, family, talents, and dreams) that are truly important. Maybe it’s time to turn a corner and walk away.
Have you ever seen Confessions of a Shopaholic?
Funny clip of shopping at it’s finest.