One by one, I clicked “Remove.” I deleted items from my Amazon cart with a sigh. I wouldn’t be getting these things this year, not now, maybe not ever. Something inside of my chest was twisting. Perhaps the pang was guilt. I was grab-happy when I saw “Swipe up” on Instagram this year. All the little things added up. I overspent. I busted our budget. With the angst of everything in our world, I medicated with shopping. My weak spot is wanting my kids to feel extra special at Christmas. On Christmas Eve, I run up and down the Target aisles getting just a few more things to fill their stockings. I want my children to run out on December 25th with hearts beating in anticipation. I want their eyes to widen and their voices to squeal. I want to buy their happiness. I want to buy mine too.
Nothing messes with my soul as much as money does.
I felt the pang of greed as I unsubscribed from online shops. I imagine my life with all the clothes, shoes, and styles I want hanging in my closet and I can almost taste satisfaction. But the closer I get to being satisfied, the further away it seems to get. My happiness is a moving target. I have so much, yet I can’t see what I have when my eyes are only fixated on the things I don’t have. I hate this about myself. I don’t like my continual search for stuff to bring me peace. Instead of peace, all I feel is anxiety. It eats away at me. I manage my angst with my search for more. My appetite is endless. So I buy, buy, buy until I’m almost bankrupt.
I know material things don’t bring peace. I know more experiences don’t make life meaningful. But my eyes are always on the lookout to be filled up. I want to plan the next trip, start the next project, or dream a new dream. I have a lust for life. But I think this lust is just a way to avoid my loneliness. I try to fill my loneliness by buying whenever I need a quick adrenaline rush. I long for the next adventure because my heart isn’t satisfied with what I have. I fantasize about another life because I can’t accept the one God’s given me. If I live with what I have, I have to face my soul and the reality of my shortcomings. I have to see my own sin. I have to acknowledge there is something broken inside of me I can’t fix. And right now, I can’t change the numbers on the scale or my credit score. It makes my skin itch and my heart race.
I avoid looking at my statement. I want to pretend everything is okay. I want to live in denial that we can’t pay the balance. It hurts. It’s hard to say no to myself and to my kids. For me, greed and envy have an evil rivalry. If I’m not craving more stuff, I am jealous that others have what I want. Sin can feel inescapable. I keep trying to click my way out of feeling miserable inside.
Perhaps the current state of my stressed-out soul is an indicator of where I’ve let my hope lie.
Just days ago, I walked through the room with torn wrapping paper and ribbons ankle high. Christmas has come and gone like the fury of a winter storm. In the hustle of more, I think I’ve missed what it means to live with less. When Christ became human, He emptied himself. God Himself became less. He became a baby, innocent, pure, unblemished, and perfect. The image is divine. It stirs joy in my soul. The Bethlehem scene doesn’t have Pottery Barn furniture and gold finishes. The stable is dirty, smelly, and on the backside of the city. Yet, when I think about the birth of Jesus, I can see hope. When I’m clicking on links and devouring deals, what I’m really looking for isn’t more stuff. I am actually looking for Jesus. Jesus is found when I am depleted, strapped, and sulking. He is right there.
When I am at the end of myself, drowning in bills, my greed, and intoxicated with jealousy, God is near. When I feel a deep soul hunger, I’m actually hungry for Jesus. When I want to wrestle my sin away, God whispers, “Come closer.” He is inviting me to move closer to the manger. God is inviting me to less. From the outside, less seems miserable, yet as I step closer to Christ, I can see that less is actually everything. I loosen my grip on all the things I want. I open my hands. I let go.
My Amazon cart is empty. After a few minutes, I can’t even remember what was in there. Instead, I press my empty hand to my chest. Here, Jesus is with me in my brokenness and broke-ness. But instead of feeling stress, I feel satisfied.Leave a Comment