The other morning my daughter Julia and I were watching an episode of Clean House. Not sure if you ever seen it or not but this show goes into people’s homes with all their mayhem and foolishness (that is what Niecy Nash the hosts says which translates to a huge mess of stuff) and cleans it out, sells it at a yard sale then redesigns the inside of the home to a clean workable space for the family to enjoy. Well, this one episode was the messiest house in the country The mother and two daughters lived there and said the accumulation of stuff had come about after the husband had died two years previous. At one point, one of the designers is trying to go through the mother’s closets to gather stuff for the yard sale and the mother is refusing to get rid of anything. The designer tells her that she in bordering on an addiction. Well, the mother shoots back at the camera at a different point that it is not an addition but “Retail Therapy.”
Retail Therapy in My Life
Retail therapy was something that I grew up watching and doing up to about 3 years ago. I can go back and tell you the about the ups and downs in my life and the shopping trips that occurred right after. My mom grew up with her mother saving everything. You know the generation after the Great Depression. She learned that you don’t throw anything away. When I got married and left home, my mother gave me all the boxes from my childhood with all that school stuff. For me, I was not into accumulating that kind of stuff but I was definitely into accumulating the shoes, bags, jewelry, cloths etc.
You might be a shopaholic if …
Not sure if you can relate to this or not but here is a test.
- If you have even used the term, retail therapy – You might be a shopaholic
- If you have hidden purchases in your car or anywhere else – You might be a shopaholic
- If you pick up the mail to get the Credit Card statement before your spouse – You might be a shopaholic
- If you have bags of returnable items in your car or home because of buyers remorse - You might be a shopaholic
- If you lie about how much you spent on something like “It was only $50″ when it was actually $100 – You might be a shopaholic
- If you have a difficult day or a conflict came up and you head to the mall or some other store – You might be a shopaholic
- If you “NEED” to get a new outfit for every “Special Occasion” – You might be a shopaholic
I personally have done most of the above things and more in my past. According to Free dictionary online, shopping along with gambling, eating disorders, sexual activity, overworking are called process addictions. Process addiction are mood-altering behaviors. You know there is nothing more awesome than the high from a “good sale.” I have also suffered from food addition too. Same thing happens to me whether it is shopping or eating that I get that instant high and get to forget my problems in that moment.
Freedom from Shopping Addiction
Today is very different for me. After going through some discipleship, transformational seminars and getting in God’s word, I no longer use shopping to fill mydesires and urges for my pain and hurt. Now let me be honest to say I do have the thought from time to time but I can pray, call a friend for support and I can move past it. Unlike other addictions where you completely stop the behavior like drinking or drugs, you still need to shop and eat. So here are some things that I do today to create a positive outcome.
- Pray before I go shopping – To me it is no different from a recovered alcoholic walking into a bar or a party.
- I have a plan of exactly what I need to buy whether for me or my kids.
- I do not go to the mall or store just to kill time.
- I communicate with my husband before I go to let him know so I am accountable to what is being spent.
- If I purchase new items for me or the girls, the equal amount of things comes out of the closet. 2 shirts new – 2 shirts removed
Identity in Stuff or Jesus?
A lot of my personal shopping addiction was about where I got my identity. If your identity lies in your stuff you have, then you are idolizing those things. When I finally started living my life for Christ and identifying with His ways, my heart and mind shifted to Him filling my deepest needs rather than stuff.
My prayer for this message is that Christians will stop joking about their shopping adventures and start challenging each other to move from this most acceptable addiction in our society. Also, I pray that if you relate to any of this information that you will be in prayer, take responsiblity for your choices and seek out support. There is so much freedom to be had from Christ alone. Please do not go another day thinking that your stuff makes up who you are. He who conceals his sins does not prosper, but whoever confesses and renounces them finds mercy. Proverb 28:13