The parking garage gave me a hint of what I was about to experience.
Ah yes, the infamous Mall of America.
I had been there before, but must have forgotten its enormousness. (Did you know there is a wedding chapel inside?! Who needs Vegas…) As my friends and I entered this giant, 4-floor, purchasing paradise, I didn’t know where to begin.
Being the poor college student I am, I knew this day could be rough, but vowed to only buy things I “needed.”
Ha. Yeah right.
I decided to go off on my own and peruse the mall as the introvert I sometimes try to be. In and out of stores; I was annoyed. It was a Saturday and there were people everywhere. I went in stores only to feel overwhelmed by all of the things I wanted. Scarves, purses, makeup, shirts, jeans, dresses, coats…I wanted them all. “I need new clothes, right? I mean, like, what’s a couple bucks?” I convinced myself to buy a few things here and there, and as the hours went by, my wallet got lighter.
I felt overwhelmed with all of these things I “needed” and couldn’t afford. I wanted it all and so much of it I couldn’t have. I felt discontent, unsatisfied, and anxious. Emotions I recognize from other shopping excursions. But for once I wanted to figure out its root…
I stood back for a few seconds in Forever 21, and just watched. The lines to the register were nearly out the door as people plopped down 20s, 10s, and scanned credit cards for amounts more than I make in a month; purchasing things, things, and more things. I couldn’t even comprehend the amount of money that goes through that store in a day, not to mention that mall as a whole. I felt sick.
We were all consumers, laying down hard-earned cash for things that would fade and might tear and could possibly be out of style tomorrow. What was it all about? Looking good…feeling good…living good? I asked myself if the purchases slung over my shoulder were worth the hours this past month I had put in at the coffee shop. What was my drive to consume? Why did it always leave me feeling so unsatisfied? No matter how much I would buy that day, I knew I would go home regretting purchasing this or kicking myself for not buying that.
As I put away my wants when I got home, the already-full closet bulged even more. Ugh. The unsatisfied emotion returned.
The moral of the story isn’t to refrain from shopping, because I can guarantee it won’t be long before I return to a mall — but moreso to consider your wants vs. your needs.
Before you hit up the mall, first check out your closet. Think of all you have, use some consumer discernment, and consider other places where that quickly-burned cash could be better put to use.
Recently I learned about an amazing ministry called Mission India where one dollar can send a child in India to Bible school. Wow. I could have sent a few busloads with the cash I blew this past weekend.
This isn’t a guilt trip, just a thought provoker. Let’s all (and yes, this is just as much of a challenge to me as it is to you) try to think more about our resources and how they can be better spent.
Luke 12:48b “From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked.”