Friday, May 1, 2015
something to fill the void
1 month down, 11 more to go on our shopping fast. It's been an interesting journey so far, and I've noticed several things about myself:
1) Consumerism is an addiction. Or at least it has been for me. I have to avoid looking at the ads, avoid looking at the fabric (new projects are my weakness), avoid looking at the style boards showing me all the outfits I could put together if I just had ___. I know that if I look, I will want, and if I want, I will have to go through the whole internal struggle, the desire to justify a purchase, the ultimate pain of saying no... It sounds so serious, when it's really quite ridiculous. So I can't buy myself fabric to make a new scarf! Why should that be hard?!?
2) I was spending money like a fiend and never even realized it. Since we've gone on our fast, our spending (obviously) has come to a screeching halt. It's amazing how little I'm spending if all I'm shopping for are groceries and diapers! I had no idea I was spending so much, and now looking back, I'm not even sure what in the world I was buying! It was simply the attitude of consuming, of buying more, of allowing myself to be attracted by something and taking part because I could.
3) I'm bored. Shopping, consuming, new things... it was something to keep me occupied, something about which to be excited. Even if it was simply a pen, it was something new, something to go out and buy to fill my otherwise boring life with an interesting tidbit. Yesterday I went to Target to exchange a box of diapers for a bigger size. I decided to quickly peruse the sale section for kids clothes. Morgan and I decided that yes, clothes for the kids are actually a need, but I also tend to go a bit crazy with clothes, so I made myself an extremely specific list so that I don't buy more than they need (like: 2T gold tights, 1. 3T winter top matching black pants, 1. 5T khaki play-pants, 1. etc). I actually found 2 items on my need-list for the kids on the sale racks for awesome prices so I bought them. The purchase was so not exciting (I found the pair of khaki play-pants for Emerson and a pair of jeans for Chelise), but I felt like an addict getting a fix. I'm embarrassed even to admit how extreme my dependence on stuff has become!
But then I started thinking about it... My life really is pretty boring. My conversations are almost exclusively with a 4-year-old and 22-month-old, and my activities consist mostly of washing dishes, breaking up tussles, disciplining backtalk, wiping butts, occasionally doing something as exciting as getting groceries. Up till 1 month ago, I dealt with my boredom by shopping. Looking at how high our credit card bills were getting every month, I must have been really bored! I know I'm doing the most important thing I could ever do - raise my children and spend these precious and short years with them. I know it, believe it, and wouldn't trade it for anything!! This is what I want to be doing!! But... yeah, it can be pretty boring.
4) I need something better than shopping to fill my heart. I used to look forward to Morgan coming home just so I could run out and do... something! By myself, of course, alone in the van, without listening to Veggie Tales. But this week we haven't needed groceries, and until I needed to get diapers, I had nothing to go out and do. The boredom settled on me. It weighed on me as heavily as the persistent clouds. I needed the sunshine of something to fill that void. Harry Potter got pulled back out to play in the background as I do my daily chores. But even Harry Potter can't quite fill the void of needing something to enjoy in a day of humdrum. I need to learn how to turn to God and let Him fill this void. Jesus wants my heart completely, and so as I rid myself of the idols, I want Him to replace them.
Practically speaking, what does that mean??? I don't know. But I want to know. I want to be excited about Him, about the mysteries of His ways, about the incredible truths of His Word! This week, I have asked myself what I need to do in order to turn this idol into devotion. I don't want simply not to shop for a year; I want to be changed. And so I ask the Lord to show me what this means. Show me, Lord, what You want for my days, so that You are the joy that fills them and You are my excitement in them.
Jeremiah 33:3 'Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know.' I believe You, Lord, and I am excited. I am waiting. I am wanting You instead of stuff. And I know You will do far beyond anything I can ask or imagine.