Are you ready for some retail therapy? At night, after the children go to bed, tired moms tune into a screen to unwind or have a little me time. Online retailers of all sorts meet the desires of their audiences with opportunities to buy things to make their lives easier. I know, I used to be LuLaRoe retailer. No, I will not disclose how many leggings I own. Yikes!
After a long day of working and meeting everyone’s needs, we are tired. We have high expectations and full plates, likely one of those plates was dropped. Over half of us admit to turning to retail therapy.
Why do we think we need retail therapy?
It is a reward.
We live in a culture, where we feel the need to reward ourselves. Clearly, rewards work. They motivate us to get more things done and get them done faster.
We use them with our kids. Bosses use them at work to motivate employees. Likewise, stores use them to encourage us to buy more from their stores.
Rewarding ourselves can be addictive. We get a rush when we buy something or eat something. Quickly though that chemical response wears off and the emptiness returns.
Sadly, we are left with that same unmet need that we had before. Ultimately, the retail therapy falls flat.
Why do we buy so many clothes? We are unhappy.
Unhappy with Our Bodies
Frankly, a lot of women are unhappy with our bodies. Repeatedly, we lull ourselves into thinking that maybe the right cut will make us feel skinny or beautiful. Perhaps the right color will focus attention on our eyes rather than on what other body parts we wish were smaller or prettier.
Unhappy and confused between wants & needs
Indeed, most American women have more clothes than we possibly need. Moreover, we have lied to ourselves about the difference between a need and a want.
No, our closets don’t need to be utilitarian and spartan. Indeed, we can enjoy clothes and express ourselves with what we wear. I want to challenge you to be intentional about what you are buying and why you are buying it.
Unhappy with Our Lives
Shopping for so many people is entertainment and an escape.
In effect, we return to our hunter/gather roots. We track down that particular pair of leggings, and we capture it. Some women amass a collection of shoes or purses.
We desire to feel like we have accomplished something.
Overwhelmed by a never-ending pile of laundry and cleaning chores that seem to be on endless repeat, we seek to have something to show for our time. However, a well-stocked and curated closet is a not a legacy accomplishment. In the end, it has no eternal value or impact.
We desire attention and to be noticed.
In fact, life for many of us is lonely. Perhaps the right outfit will help us fit in or stand out. In a stage of life consumed with motherhood, maybe our husbands will see us as the beautiful catches they once thought that we were. (The Atlantic has a thought-provoking article titled: “The Loneliness Loop: Why Feeling Sad Makes Us Shop and Shopping Makes Us Sad.”)
We are overwhelmed by our crazy busy and chaotic lives.
Can this product save us time and energy? Can it perform miracles for our schedules? Our lives are so overscheduled and complicated. However, the solution is not found in gadgets but in choosing to say “no” to so many commitments. It is a simple equation of less stuff equals more time.
Retail Therapy steals from our relationships.
Relationships are key to the life of faith. We need time to build relationships with other Christians. We need time to invest in discipling our children.
If the gospel is shared in relationships, the Devil’s greatest tool in undermining the spread of the gospel is to keep us too busy to form relationships with non-Christians.
“Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth,
where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal,
but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven,
where neither moth nor rust destroys and
where thieves do not break in and steal.
For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”
Retail Therapy does not give us Confidence
Confidence comes from within not from without.
The confidence that comes from clothes is just an illusion. Ultimately, you need to be comfortable in your own skin. Real confidence comes from knowing Jesus Christ as your savior. Your past, present, and future are in the hands of a God who died on the cross for you.
If you are a Christian, you are a beloved child of God created in God’s image. Our status in Christ is from where our identity, our hope, and our confidence should arise.
Confidence comes from knowing your purpose in Christ.
Shopping to pass the time or get a rush never compares to spending our time in ways that God calls us. Can we rest and sometimes relax, of course.
How much time is spent on Facebook that could be spent studying the Bible or in prayer? (I stand guilty too.) How much more patience would we have with our children if we went to bed early and got the sleep that we need, instead of watching another television show?
Retail Therapy does not meet our deep needs.
Spend time wisely. Invest in relationships.
Stop escaping into a screen or a store. Find your purpose.
Scare the Devil. Real therapy that makes you whole is building the Kingdom of God.
Spend your time wisely. We have a limited amount of time with our children and on this earth. We are called to make an impact for the Kingdom.
Be present. Stop searching to fill the void through retail therapy or screen scrolling. Open your eyes and hearts to the people God has placed in your life.
How do you balance your buying for yourself and your family?
Do you have strategies to help you be more intentional about your purchasing?