Are you a shopaholic? Try this quiz
Confessions of a (reformed) Shopaholic
Apart from home, where do you most often hang out?
a) friend’s house
b) the park
c) the shopping centre
When you see the junk mail catalogues in the mail box, do you:
a) throw them all in the recycling
b) sift through them to get rid of the supermarket ones, and read the rest
c) attack them with a highlighter and red texta, and arm yourself for the best bargains
d) what’s junk mail?
It’s a public holiday...
a) Excellent. Time for some chilling out with the family
b) Anything that involves less time at school is good
c) Reduced shopping hours??? Better get there quickly!
The thought of not being able to get to the shops...
a) Doesn’t bother you at all
b) Isn’t too big a problem. There’s always tomorrow
c) What? What do you mean? There has to be shops. Always!!!
Now, if you answered (c) to most of those questions, chances are you’re a shopaholic. You don’t have to spend thousands to be addicted to shopping. You can just be addicted to the buzz of finding a great bargain.
Why shopping doesn't make you happy
The cycle of shopping addiction starts with making you unhappy. That’s what advertising does. You see that ad, magazine photo shoot, whatever, and suddenly you know you’ll only be happy when you have that item. So you go to the shops, where everything is bright and shiny and new. Your brain gets a real buzz from buying the item, and it’s all fantastic until you return home, when you’ve only got a few little bags of stuff. Then you’re discontent again, and you need more stuff. So off to the shops you go. Again.
The man who had everything
Jesus told a story about a man who was in a similar situation. You can read about him now in Luke 12:13-21. He wasn’t content with what he had either. He wanted to get more stuff so he’d be able to say “You have plenty of good things laid up for many years. Take life easy; eat drink and be merry.” (Luke 12:19) Did God ever enter into his thinking? Nope. God’s final statement is chilling: “You fool! This very night your life will be demanded from you. Then who will get what you have prepared for yourself?”
Find lasting satisfaction
Advertising, fashion mags, shop displays all promise us an easy life. They say, “Buy us, and you’ll be gorgeous!” or “Buy this, and you’ll be the envy of all your friends!” But their promises are false. They trap us into living a life a little bit like a mouse on a wheel: always chasing after the illusion, and never getting there.
Jesus wants us to get off that wheel, and focus on him instead. His story should be a warning to us: “This is how it will be with anyone who stores up things for themselves but are not rich toward God.” (Luke 12:21) Don’t waste your energy on the mousewheel of shopping. Focus on what will last, no matter what: our relationship with Jesus. That’s forever.