A “guilty pleasure” of mine is online shopping. I put that in quotes because it would be pleasurable if I didn’t feel so guilty about it…
I’ve been in a “get rid of this” mode. And I bagged up most of my wardrobe for donation. Despite what was to be a “downsizing” of general “stuff” what ended up happening is I felt like I needed to replace that wardrobe with a new one. Definitely opposite of the point.
But a few online purchases later I essentially re-stocked my closet.
What is wrong with me?!?!?!
I have several “justifications” I will spare you from… though one is I looked around and most of my business wardrobe was (a) either bought in 2007 or (b) maternity clothes I find so comfortable I can’t stop wearing 3 years later… anyways…
I emailed Bridgette about my simultaneous guilt and non-guilt. Because I am a sucker for a good deal and man did I get a good one… But that really shouldn’t be a factor, should it? In the end I still spent money on stuff which I could arguably need and not need.
Now over the past year I have been greatly improved in this weak area of my life. But I definitely fail and fall from time to time. There is so much life to be had during the non-wasted time of hunting down a good online deal and tricking sites into accepting more promo codes than they should. During Lent when I gave up online shopping I felt such a great perspective shift from my usual one and “swore off” wasting any more time online shopping. I did decently for awhile but dang these holidays and their “pre black friday deals”!
Okay… so a few online purchases later mostly for myself and to find friends for my lonely clothes hangers I was feeling good and guilty. (That’s both (a) good, (b) guilty, and (c) good + guilty.) I felt like I was falling back into that black hole that is my ability to search for and seize online deals.
Then – Thank you God! God rescued me from my inability to stop myself.
How did He do it?
He had my bank call me because they were concerned about fraudulent activity. As I listened to the message I was 100% certain this was going to just be a list of recent online purchases I had made – spit back into my face to feel guilty.
But uh-oh instead it was “Please confirm whether or not you bought airline tickets from Hong Kong Airlines”. Heart attack and a very strong pressing of the keypad button to indicate “No”!
I was so grateful that my bank realized the fraudulent activity and immediately stopped it. That is great in and of itself – because I lost no money, etc etc. But God gave me another present — the result is my debit card was immediately terminated and I have to wait for my bank to issue a new one.
Farewell Amazon cart filled with crafting supplies.
Farewell Shutterfly order.
Farewell future hunted down deals where I generate losses instead of profits for both my prey and my bank account.
Farewell wasted hours online where I avoid working on my long real-life “to craft” list.
All of that God put on hold as He said “Since you can’t help yourself I’m helping you.”
I’ll put it out of my mind that Black Friday deals are happening now and are also right around the corner. I’ll put it out of my mind that I wanted to grocery shop for some holiday baking supplies. I’ll put it out of my mind that I had actually kind of planned on wasting more time online shopping for some Christmas presents.
And now I have some time to sit and reflect and pause and otherwise observe the bottomless rabbit hole I was falling back down. “Stop it. Stop it right now.” I tell myself and this time I have to listen, not necessarily because of choice. But in the deepest longing and strongest parts of my heart that is what I desire. Maybe this momentary pause will reinvigorate my resolve against my weaknesses. Maybe I will be stronger for having had to be “strong” – in that, I had no other option due to other forces beyond my willpower.
So perhaps you might think I should be stronger. Perhaps you think it isn’t that hard to just not do something you both want to and don’t want to do. Perhaps you think I should just be content with what I have. –I want to be better at those things too (unless of course I find that unavoidable good deal). I just can’t do it myself and so I thank God that He offers me grace in perfectly creative ways. “I love you and this is how I am choosing to show you. Like it?” Oh God – I really do! You are funny and loving and stop me when I can’t stop myself. You shove it into my face in subtle, loving ways where I have guilt …but it is also pleasurable? Because man you are creative in how you get me to finally notice and listen to you!
Now the real test will be when I get my new card…. Do I fail? Do I not? I’m 100% certain this will be a struggle. I am 50% confident in myself to fight against the online forces that be. But I am 100% confident God will be there – and should I fail He’ll find a creative way to center me and bring me back to Him.
Photo Phootnote – There is a camo-frog in the middle of that mud.