A Raging Battle in My Closet

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I have a confession to make.

My name is January, and I am a shopaholic. I confess that at times I crave a good sale, a new pair of shoes, and a designer dud at a thrift store price. I have even found myself justifying my purchases to God…because if I am shopping at Goodwill, it’s better than paying full price at a fancy department store, right?

Certainly there is nothing wrong with a little Goodwill shopping. I love thrift shopping. It gives me pleasure when I dig through racks of clothes to score a high end piece of apparel for less than 4 bucks. That’s golden!

But, it’s when shopping becomes my go to therapy that we start to have a problem.

It’s when I seek the thrill of finding a great new outfit or deal after a hard day to put me in a better mood instead of God that we start to have a problem.

1 Timothy 6:9-10 even warns of the despair one can feel when emphasis is placed on possessions and worldly riches on Earth: But people who long to be rich fall into temptation and are trapped by many foolish and harmful desires that plunge them into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is the root of all kinds of evil. And some people, craving money, have wandered from the true faith and pierced themselves with many sorrows.

And I know all to well what kind of ruin and despair using shopping as a cure-all can cause. It causes disagreements in the home over budgets and finances. It caused this same girl at 23 years old to have to claim bankruptcy due to credit card debt (all from shopping), and we won’t even start with the space issue we have in our closets, attic, and laundry bins because of my cravings to shop.

What’s worse? It causes a rift between me and God.

Looking at Psalm 84:2 this week, God opened my eyes to just how much more I could be seeking and yearning for Him.

My soul yearns, even faints for the courts of the Lord. Yet, so often the only courts I yearn for are the ones found inside a mall.

My heart and my flesh cry out for the living God. Yet, my heart and my flesh cry out at the flash of sale alerts, clearance racks, and fancy new clothes.

In Chapter 1 of the book Made to Crave, Lysa TerKeurst states “we consume what we think about. And what we think about can consume us if we are not careful.”

Do I think about shopping? Yes. Has it consumed my life more than God? If my closet is any proof-most certainly!

So, Monday in an effort to feel empowered and to cleanse my soul of the craving for shopping, I also cleansed my email inbox of sales alerts, fashion articles, and anything else that may tempt my flesh into visiting the courts of the mall instead of the courts of the Lord.

This may seem a tad overzealous, yes-but I want my passion and desire to burn for Christ, not for the latest fashion trend at the shopping mall, or the newest treasure at Goodwill. I want Christ to use my fashion sense to do His will in whatever way he sees fit, not by adding more stuff to my closet. I want to draw closer to Him, and not to the ladies in the dress department at Belk.

Am I saying that I will never seek out another clearance rack or peruse another Goodwill on a Friday morning? No. But what I am saying is that I will look to Him to give me the desires of my heart before I hit the mall.

I will seek His courts above before I head to the courts of the mall.

I will seek Him for the support and solace I need before I use shopping to fill these empty spaces and build me up.

I will seek to crave Him, His wisdom, His love before I surrender to the craving of hunting for the latest deal at the store.

I will fill the closets of my heart with more of Him, instead of filling the closets of my home with more clothes.

25 Comments

  1. Oh, friend! You expressed a struggle so many of us women have with such eloquent and perfect words. Thank you for sharing your heart with us. I know you are going to give great insight to the depths of so many women’s hearts in regard to this topic.

    Shortly after I incorporated a meal plan and wasn’t able to binge on the foods I craved, I went to Goodwill on a sale day and spent $40 (obviously could’ve been worse) on about 10 dresses and a few accessories. But when we were driving out of the parking lot, my heart was so empty. I thought buying the clothes would make me feel better, but it only felt worse. The Lord made it so clear that, not only could I not KEEP the clothes, but I needed to stop turning to shopping to fill me when I’m empty.

    Praise God for his Holy Spirit that guides us to truth!

      1. Filling the gaps in my world with clothes is something I have done for a while, and I can totally relate to your Goodwill story. It makes me think of the movie Confessions of a Shopaholic and Amy Adams when she says “when I shop the world is better, and then it isn’t, and I have to shop again!” But it doesn’t have to be this way, because I have an awesome God who can fill the gaps that clothing never will! That is my hope through this journey!

        Thanks for stopping by and reading, and I will definitely check out that book you recommended. Thanks for sharing that with me!

        Blessings to you,
        January

  2. Oh my goodness. That must have been so difficult! I will be praying for you, your closet, your inbox, and for you to find the courts of God. Surround yourself with the word! God bless you.
    Hugs, Melinda

    1. Thanks for stopping by and thanks for your prayers! It will be quite difficult to resist the lure of a shopping mall, but I am confident in the strength Christ will give me!

      Blessings to you,
      January

  3. Oh I feel this, sister! God brought this issue to my last January. I read a post from someplace talking about this and how she was going cold turkey for a whole year. Buying nothing for herself for 12 whole months! I snickered and thought pitifully that no way could I do that. I couldn’t even do it for a month. I clicked off the post, but God kept bringing this back to me over and over. Finally I committed (a huge job change with a lot less money helped the ole motivation) to one month. February. Buy nothing for myself for 4 weeks. With God’s help, I stopped running out at lunch to browse and feel better. No more Target trips. The only thing I purchased was groceries. Then at the end of Feb., I said, I wonder if I could go another month? And I kept going. I ended up deep cleaning my closet and took 6 bags to Goodwill. If the only thing I wear and feel good in is cardigans and scarves, than my closet should reflect that. I got rid of so much. It was nuts. Shoes went too. Anything that I bought on impulse and then was disappointed went out too. I was tired of that guilt staring at me every time I opened the door. I can’t tell you how freeing it has been to only have things in my closet that I wear! And how much God has worked on me with this! I’m praying he will do the same thing with food – the next battle. Praying for freedom for you in this! I have walked it and you can conquer it!

    1. Cleansing my “closet” has been something I have been trying to do for sometime now, but like you each time I thought about it, I either couldn’t stick to it or just thought it was a unrealistic goal. I now see that if I want to grow closer to God, I have to make this a goal!

      Thanks for stopping by, and prayers for you on your journey with conquering your food battles!

      Blessings, January

  4. I have been there! i got my first (4) credit cards when I was 19 and had them all maxed out by the end of the 2nd month. 😦 it has been a constant struggle of mine over the years.
    It probably still would be but it’s just a little hard to go shopping when you live in the middle of bush Africa! However, when i’m feeling particularily low, or when i’m bored with life or amazon has sent me an email telling me that something is 75% off…. I do still find myself doing some online shopping. I pray that when I return to Canada in August I won’t go crazy and be consumed by the availability of shops and SALES!

    1. I think society places so much emphasis on obtaining material wealth, that falling into the trap of needing more stuff is just such an easy one to fall into. I am praying that God’s strength will help me resist those bright red and yellow sales signs!

      Thanks for reading and prayers and blessings to you.

      January

  5. This is one of my struggles too! I have chosen this year to go a NO buying spree. Unless it is a have to thing and there is no other way around it. Goodwill is one of favorite places and sucks me in every time. I’m also trying to downsize my closet and only keep what I truly Love. Prayers on your journey.

    1. I have been attempting a NO buying spree, and thankfully this Bible Study came around at just the right time to really move me in the direction to make a true change. Prayers that God will help you through this journey and give you the strength to resist the temptation to shop. It is a sneaky one indeed!

      Prayers and blessings,

      January

  6. Wow! I had tears in my eyes reading this. It was very powerful and insightful. Thank you for sharing and I will be praying for you!

    Jenny – OBS Leader, Group 78

    1. Wow! I am so glad that this touched you, and I am amazed at how many women struggle with this issue as well. Thanks for stopping by and reading.

      Blessings, January

  7. January, love, love, love this!!! Love how you are using Made to Crave to help with your shopping and love how you are using this week’s Memory verse to stand strong against temptation. Thank you for sharing!!

    Kris Danko (OBS Blog Hop Team)

    1. Thanks for reading! The temptation to shop is such a struggle for me (as well as a form of gluttony, maybe?) that I am so grateful I was invited to join this study. It has certainly been eye-opening in only a few days.

      Blessings, January

  8. I loved your connection with the courts. When I read that you cleaned out your inbox, I literally said out loud ‘You go, Girl!” I have friends that fight this urge all the time and unfortunately while I was reading this I realized I am an enabler for some of them. They have told me the strife is causes in their budgets and their relationships yet I will let them drag (Yes, I am not a fan of shopping) me out and I will do nothing to try to talk them out of it. The buck stops HERE!

    1. The inbox was such a hard thing for me to clean, because it always made me at least feel connected to my need to shop, but I knew if I was going to go all in for God, I had to get rid of the constant alerts of more stuff I could fill my closets with.

      My friend and were enablers for each other. We always have given each other reasons to shop. We have just this year decided to ask each other “Do you really need that? Or do you already have something you can wear?” So far it has worked!

      Thanks for reading and blessings to you,

      January

  9. Wrote about his in my journal last night. My problem is shopping for my grandbabies, especially the little girls. Not only do I do an injustice to the Father, but it gives my husband fits as well (unsubmissive much?). I’m really working on this as well as the food, and the email purge is helpful to be sure. Thanks for sharing!

    1. Yes, it is one of the things I fail to submit, and even actually have at time hid from my husband. Which means I also thought I was hiding it from God. It has affected my relationship at home for sure, but it most importantly the relationship to my heavenly home.

      Thanks for reading, and prayers for you as you continue your journey!

      January

  10. Thank you January for being so honest, candid and transparent about your struggles. I’ve grown up with this retail therapy mentality. I would say I’m more of a binge and purger when it comes to shopping. It’s feast or famine for me. I will go months without buying anything, then WHAM! mega shopping spree. May God bless you with the discipline to be obedient to His promptings.

    1. I have done the binge and purge many times. I ban retail shopping for a while and boom the cycle starts again! I am determined this time won’t be the same!

      Thanks for reading and blessings to you!

      January

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