March 14, 2014
Why Shopping Will Never Satisfy
"Keep your life free from love of money, and be content with what you have, for he has said, 'I will never leave you nor forsake you.'" Hebrews 13:5 (ESV)
We only had ten days to get everything packed and ready for the movers. Shipping boxes, wrapping paper and rolls of tape were everywhere. Every room called for attention, and I didn't know which direction to go first.
With a squeezing economy and company cutbacks, our family made the hard decision to sell our home and do some major downsizing. Deep inside I knew it was the right choice, but the process was hard. Although I tried to put on a happy face, my heart was aching.
Dragging myself from room to room, the amount of accumulated stuff overwhelmed me. Clothes, furniture, linens, accessories and enough kitchen appliances to open a diner filled every room.
As I viewed all the things left to pack, I thought about my past shopping sprees where I'd picked up so many of the items. The early-bird door busters and all those neon yellow clearance stickers lured me in. The endless rows of shiny metal racks, boasting 50-percent-off treasures sealed the deal.
I had prided myself thinking of all the money I saved buying everything on sale. Who was I kidding?
The truth was our checking account balance was shrinking, yet I kept wanting new things and buying more. All the while, insisting these were purchases we "needed."
But now, all of these bargains had to be boxed up, moved and put into storage. My "treasures" had become burdens. As I looked around at all the clutter, I wondered if it was my heart, not my home, needing to be de-cluttered.
It was time to make some major adjustments in my thought life and begin living out today's verse in Hebrews 13:5, "Keep your life free from love of money, and be content with what you have, for he has said, 'I will never leave you nor forsake you.'"
God spoke to me that day with gentle conviction that it was time to stop making excuses for buying so much and be content with less.
Kneeling in my storage room, I prayed and asked God to forgive me. I told Him I wanted to change but I needed His help. The process wasn't easy, but it was necessary.
Ten days later when the movers arrived, everything was boxed and ready to go. Instead of heading to a storage facility, we delivered many of those boxes to a local children's home in desperate need of household items and clothing.
It felt freeing to give away more and keep less. To experience the Giver instead holding onto the material gifts. To trust the Provider and stop worrying about having enough. To simply be content.
Maybe you struggle sometimes with contentment too. Do you ever find yourself buying something you really don't need? I know, it was probably on sale.
Perhaps God is asking you to keep less and give away more. To be content with what He's given you and not feel like you have to buy more to be more.
Friend, don't fall for the lies I did. Trust that God will provide what you need when you need it. If you have extra items, consider giving them away to someone in need and experience the freedom of being content with less.
Dear Lord, You know me better than I know myself. Help me to be content with what You've given me. Take away my cravings for always wanting more. Teach me to desire You above all else. In Jesus' Name, Amen.
Do your past spending habits define who you are today? If so, you'll appreciate Limitless Life, a new book by author Derwin Gray. We'll be studying this book in May in our Online Bible Studies.
Click here to visit Leah DiPascal's blog and find out how God challenged her to a 90-day shopping fast as she learned to be content in Him alone. You can also submit a prayer request and enter her drawing to win a copy of What Happens When Women Say Yes To God Devotional book.
Reflect and Respond:
In what areas are you least content? Write them down in your journal along with the two Scripture verses below. Pray and ask God to help you become content with what you have as you trust Him to provide all you need.
Get a box or kitchen trash bag and go through your closets. Place at least one item from each closet into the box or bag and take to a local charity.
1 Timothy 6:6-8, "But godliness with contentment is great gain, for we brought nothing into the world, and we cannot take anything out of the world. But if we have food and clothing, with these we will be content." (ESV)
© 2014 by Leah DiPascal. All rights reserved.
Originally published Friday, 14 March 2014.