Friday, September 9, 2011

Flowers Fade Friday: A Trip to Target

I used to occasionally read a funny blog called What White Chicks Cherish. The blogger, Mark, makes fun of what "white chicks" do - which is basically just a way to make fun of America's self-indulgent middle class culture. One time Mark wrote a post called "Spending, Like, Over $100 at Target on their lunch hour." Check it out if you want, but I can re-cap it quickly. Imagine this... White Chick (as he calls her) dashes into Target to pick up something on her lunch break. After throwing a few toiletries in her cart, she makes her way to the clothing, because you can't skip the clothes section! There is a super-cute top on sale that she simply can't pass up. She then realizes she might be low on laundry detergent so she heads to the household section as well and decides to restock most of her cleaning products. When she passes the food section, she can't help but grab a new pack of Diet Coke and some Kashi cereal. Somewhere in the midst of this she has to switch from a basket to a cart. She almost makes it to the register, where she is planning to grab some gum and a magazine during checkout, but she realizes her girlfriend's birthday is coming up! After browsing cards and gift wrap for ten minutes, she is now late getting back to work. But you know she stops to grab a Starbucks Pumpkin Spice Latte on her way out the door, because who can resist a festive fall beverage? (Plus she never did get around to eating on her lunch break...)

This post is funny, because it's so true.

But it's also a little bit sad... because it's so true.

I've been that girl. Zigzagging my way around Target, filling my cart with every deal in the world that I don't really need. Home decorations, clearance clothes, socks and underwear, water bottles, gum and candy, nail polish, discounted DVDs...

You name it. I've probably bought it.

But I don't need most of it. I can't even say I've wanted most of it. There are things I want - a DSLR camera, new white flats, a strapless bikini - little things that are not at all necessary, but that I would probably enjoy and use quite a bit.

But when I go to Target {and other "affordable" stores}, "need" and "want" get pushed aside and I find myself buying simply because the product is there. In front of me. And I can.

Now I'm not bashing Target. I love that place. It has great prices on toilet paper and cereal and other things that help me manage my household well for a reasonable cost.

I'm bashing ME in Target.

A few weeks ago I went into Target during my "no shopping" August. I only needed one thing. I can't remember what it was, but something like Q-Tips or shampoo. I told myself I would go in quickly and head directly for that one item. I would not wander. I would not look around. I would get in and out in under five minutes for less than five dollars. And you know what? I succeeded. I got my product and I got the heck out of there.

But God taught me a lesson in those five minutes. He showed me the true state of my heart. Because as I walked directly to the bath and beauty section of the store, I felt myself pulled in so many directions. But you always stop in the clothing section... What if there are cute purses on sale?... I wonder if they have a new toothbrush holder for the bathroom... Are you sure we don't need any groceries?... Did you get enough new pens for school?

Excuse me while I throw up... because I make myself sick.

I am no different than every other American who is drowning in consumer debt or losing a house he or she could never really afford in the first place. No different than every teenager in America who loves to spend ALL their discretionary money on games or candy or going to the movies. I am lost in my own "buy mentality."

Now, of course, I don't think it's wrong to buy things. Even fun things that aren't necessities. I mean I REALLY want a DSLR camera even though I don't need one. And I also don't think that every person struggling with debt or a foreclosure is a greedy consumer who brought it upon themselves. But there is definitely something concerning about America's buying habits in general.

And the Bible is pretty clear that we need to be careful with what we buy, and how much, and how often.

For all that is in the world--the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride in possessions--is not from the Father but is from the world. And the world is passing away along with its desires, 
but whoever does the will of God abides forever.
I John 2:16-17

Do not let your adorning be external--the braiding of hair and the putting on of gold jewelry, or the clothing you wear--but let your adorning be the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, 
which in God's sight is very precious.
I Peter 3:3-4

And he said, 'I will do this: I will tear down my barns and build larger ones, and there I will store all my grain and my goods. And I will say to my soul, Soul, you have ample goods laid up for many years; relax, eat, drink, be merry.' But God said to him, 'Fool! This night your soul is required of you, and the things you have prepared, whose will they be?' So is the one who lays up treasure for himself and is not rich toward God."
Luke 12:18-21

God warns us in these verses {and in many others!} that the "buy mentality" is a dangerous one. It leads us to love the world instead of God. It leads us to love things more than people. It leads us away from our loving Savior and could ultimately lead to our destruction.

We are called to be set apart from the world. Now I don't mean set apart as in run and hide from every non-Christian. That's possibly more disgusting than the "buy mentality." What I mean is that we are supposed to be  holy. We are supposed to engage in our culture, but look completely different from everything and everyone around us. As Christians, we should be a contrast culture. A culture that embraces generosity, simplicity and truth. We should be battling consumerism with contentment. Because we have EVERYTHING we need and MORE than we could ever desire in Jesus. So ask God to rescue you from the "buy mentality" that permeates our culture and to show you all that He has given you in Jesus - forgiveness, redemption, hope, freedom and the promise of a perfect future spent with Him.

{So when you go to Target, just say "no" to most things. Most of the time. 
But that TP really is a good price...}


bekah said...

I can so identify with fact I was at target yesterday and had a pair of "unnecessary" earrings in my hand that I thankfully was able to put back on the that I'm on a Grad student budget I am scrutinizing my "need" for stuff that much more! Have loved your posts lately!

hannah singer said...

whew! preach.
those verses just can't be excused away. love this post, this has really been on my heart, too. thanks! xo

Heather said...

I am so guilty on running into Target and buying a load of crap that I don't need. This post was convicting- thank you! xo

spitonthestreet said...

I just saw your blog on 20sb and I was pulled because you talked about talking about your faith on your blog (looooooove it!). I love that I just read this post. I teach 2nd grade at an international school in Korea (I know, who lives in Korea???) and the one store I miss more than any other is TARGET. I was always the one who walked in needing one thing and ended up leaving with... well many things. Anyway, I loved how you related it to how we need to be responsible, as Christians and the Bible gives us guidelines. I will definitely be reading your blog more often^^

Kelly said...

I am the same way. I can not go into a store without wandering aimlessly around. I especially can never pass up the clearance clothes section. I think after the holidays, my New Year's resolution will be to go to stores only when needed. Maybe I can succeed with that, unlike all the others.