I was a shopaholic. I went through things fairly quickly, such as clothing, electronics, shoes, purses, you name it. My closet was originally at a point where I could not possibly close it- ridiculous, right? And yet for years, I had never thought about the reason as to why I was broke and unsatisfied all the time. So to supplement (and make up for) my shopping endeavors, I decided to get a second job. However, I realized that by having this second job, I had even more of a need to save. This second job could NOT be my reason to keep carelessly spending. And the second job, as well as a few life lessons taught me why I spent so much.
This shopping problem started due to a void I was trying to fill. When I was in grade school, rarely would I get what I actually “wanted” so to speak. Of course I always got the necessities, such as backpacks, proper fitting jeans, winter coats, etc, but as I got older, there were certain “styles” that my fellow classmates picked up on; name brand purses, jackets, shoes. And sadly, with the exception of a few occasions, I did not get these things. Yes, though a lot of the kids getting them might have been a little spoiled (not all of them, don’t get me wrong), I felt like I was just not able to fit in. It didn’t help that I didn’t look like most of the kids around me which led me to feel “different” by default. I felt “not as worthy” as the kids around me which led me to my shopping addiction once I got my first job in high school. I then started to buy everything that my little heart desired since grade school; every coat, pair of shoes, purse that I ever wanted, I bought without a second thought. I was much happier… Or so I thought.
This pattern of buying whatever I wanted soon spiraled out of control the more stressed I became. The times where I felt the loneliest, I would easily blow $100 that day on clothing that I just did not need. But when it came time to get the necessities… such as food and household essentials, and paying for outings, I was quick to hold back to “save” for more “stuff”- a new Xbox, yet another graphic tank that I already had 20 of… It never stopped.
This year was officially the first year since high school that I have been a LOT more financially responsible. It is ALSO the first year that I have started to heavily eliminate some of my past tendencies and move forward. Getting rid of the clutter is not just about the material build-up, it’s the reason behind it that forced me to face the facts and deal with them properly. Here are the facts:
Material things TRULY cannot fill the void. Only God can do that. He clearly states “Take care, and be on your guard against all covetousness, for one’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions.” in Luke 12:15. It also says “For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.”. My heart was not focused on God. It wasn’t focused on the eternal joy that I will one day experience from following Him. I was following things. Useless things. How many shirts do I really need? How many laptops, workout leggings and tennis shoes will it take to become satisfied? I can tell you right now, if you depend on things to make you happy, read up on some of our celebrities and tell me how happy some of them truly are. How many of them at some point in their lives have gone through depression, tired from all of the “things” and eventually realizing at the end of the day that something was still missing?
When we realize just how much we need Jesus, the need for the “things” will disappear. I have had accountability on this for the first time in my life (my roommate has helped me, yay!), and I am a work in progress; God is using me in ways I never thought He would. Our God is amazing and will not fail us, even when those “things” do.
I still have a long way to go, but my focus is on Jesus and being more like him. I have felt one of my burdens get lifted off my shoulders and I can breathe a little easier knowing that I am now fully aware of the real reason behind my spending problem. This discovery was a long time in the making, over 4 or 5 years, but now that I feel the transformation, I don’t ever want to turn back.