Showing posts with label Shopaholic. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Shopaholic. Show all posts

My Story Is Beautiful

My Story Is Beautiful | Through Clouded Glass

Through my teenage years I felt awkward.  I didn't fit in.  I think that's when clothes started to become a little too important to me.  I would stress about wearing the "right" thing, the thing that would make me feel a little less like I was on the outside.  As an adult, the pressure to wear the trendiest clothes is lessened, but I still let my feelings about myself in social gathering get wrapped up in the clothes I'm wearing.  I don't think I'm the only one who feels that way.

In the last year I have started to realize that my preoccupation with clothes and shopaholic tendencies are a sign that I am using clothes to fill a hole in my self-confidence.  But the problem with filling holes with physical things is that the patch job doesn't last very long.

My identity should never be placed in how I look, but in who I am in Christ…



Over a year ago, I was reading a book on fashion when I had a punched-in-the-gut moment.

I wasn't actually punched in the gut, it just kind of felt like it.

You might be wondering how a book on fashion could make a girl feel that way.  Did I realize how horribly unfashionable I was?  Did I find out my favorite pair of pants was so "last season"?

No, it wasn't that.

Perhaps I should back up.  I had recently heard of a book called "You Are What You Wear: What Your Clothes reveal About You".  Can you believe that my pastor quoted from it?  The premise sounded interesting, and I like fashion and clothes as mush as the next girl, so I picked up a copy.

I started the book and read the introduction about the "psychology of dress".  So far so good, and the book was interesting.  Little did I know the next chapter would hit home in a way I wasn't expecting.
I read about a woman who was in debt because of her tendency to buy things she didn't need.  I didn't relate.  I don't spend money I don't have on clothes.

But then the author started talking about reward centers, and dopamine surges associated with finding the perfect item, and self-soothing, and I came to a disturbing realization.

I was addicted to shopping.

Today the term "shopaholic" is thrown around as something funny or charming, but all of a sudden I hated that word.

As I read, my patterns of behavior became all too clear to me.  When I was stressed about something, I would treat myself to a new bottle of nail polish.  When I was unhappy with being alone so much (Derek was traveling a lot at the time), I would pack up the kids and update our wardrobes.  When I felt bored or sad, I'd buy something new for the house.

I was so disturbed by this that I mentioned it to a few people, and some assured me that it wasn't that big of a deal.  I wasn't spending money I didn't have - so what was the problem?

The problem was that it wasn't just about not spending too much money.  I knew deep down that I was self-medicating with boots, and blouses, and throw pillows.  I recognized the boost I felt when I got something new.  It made me feel like I had something to look forward to, like my life was a little more exciting again.

I didn't like the idea that I was self-medicating with things.  I was trying to fill a hole in my life with material items.  The problem with this is that the satisfied feeling never lasted very long.  The next time I didn't feel good about something in my life, I had to buy something else to give me that temporary "high" again.

But what hurt me most was that I realized that this "addiction" of mine was hurting my relationship with Jesus.  I should have been letting Him fill up the empty places.  I should have been taking my worries, stresses, and sadness to Him, instead of giving myself temporary relief by buying something new.  I should have been drawing my comfort from the Word of God, instead of material possessions.
Enter the punched-in-the-gut feeling.

In a very subtle, socially acceptable way, I had been putting clothes in a role that only God was made to fill.  There is a reason shopping highs don't last very long.  It's because shopping was never meant to be my comfort.  God was meant to be my Comforter, and I had accepted a cheap substitute instead of being satisfied by the comfort that only comes in Him.

I had to stop and ask for forgiveness right then for letting things replace Jesus.  And it hurts me even now to type that, because I hate the thought that I ever thought they could.

I'm not saying I'm completely over my shopping addiction.  I still struggle with emotional shopping, and there are times when I still give in.  I am so grateful for the grace He gives as I work on this.  I am trying to remember that material things will never fill my holes.  I need to fill my mind and heart up with the truth of God's Word, with the love and grace that He is always ready to pour over me.  When I am filled up with Him, the temptation to try to fill the holes in my life with other things fades.  He is the only One that can truly satisfy.
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