Monday, August 17, 2009

The Dressing Room Conversion: A Tale of Shopping Gone Awry (Perhaps for the Good of Mankind)

Bear with me here as I am truly already half asleep yet my mind is a blur with many blog-worthy least thoughts I deem as blog-worthy...and since I am the author of this blog, you will have no choice but to agree...or stop reading...but please just agree and continue.

Announcement of the day:

Unless something unforeseen, unexpected, dramatic, and rather ugly takes place, I will be going to India on a missions trip with Rock Harbor Church for 2 weeks at the end of December.

Thank goodness I don't have to come up with the always dreaded plan for New Years...cheers to ringing in 2010 halfway across the globe! Perhaps I will have a pleasant holiday this time...but that (plus the fact that I usually endure rather drab New Years celebrations) is neither here nor there. Really, neither is the fact that I am going on this trip, I just needed the appropriate segue into the real meat and potatoes...

Considering the trip at hand and other life lessons of late, I have really changed the way in which I spend and look at money. I have always been rather self-indulgent when it comes to spending money and to my deep dismay and shame, I have learned the hard way how to control my spending. I am quite happy to report that I have been doing astonishingly well. I have managed to not only stop buying most things I deem as unnecessary, but I have also saved a little money too.

Then today happened.

I caught wind a couple of weeks ago about a mythical Forever 21 that was the size of a department store. I tried to plug my ears and hum a tune of distraction, but something in me needed to see if said oasis of shopping really existed. After waiting patiently for pay day, my roommate and I jutted off to the mecca of "cheap" shopping and found this place to be very real indeed. I set a budget before walking in the door knowing that I was bound to negotiate myself into spending far greater sums of money than was even close to necessary. Needless to say (as any fan of Forever would know) I was immediately overwhelmed upon walking through the doors. I shopped to my little heart's content telling myself that I could take anything and everything into the dressing room as long as I came out only buying what fit into my strict budget. I loaded up on items liberally and finally made my way to the dreaded 3-way-mirror-chamber-of-despair. While trying on my plethora of treasures, something strange happened. I was suddenly reminded of my new (and still settling) monetary mindset and felt that though many items looked and fit cute, it was easy to talk myself out of buying them. Why spend for the sake of spending? It all became meaningless and extremely empty and my school-girl giddiness faded into a practical outlook about my uber-consumerism and how I didn't want to live that way anymore. I couldn't help but think of India and other places in the world where none of this would even matter...and should I end up in any of these places someday, I would be no better off having purchased any of this stuff here and now.

I own a lot of things. A lot of clothing. I like to feel fashionable, accessorized, confident in the way in which I present myself...none of which are bad things, if kept within a reasonable amount of moderation. But I realized, rarely in my life have I lived in serious and disciplined moderation, not because I have to but because I want to be a good steward of the things I have been blessed with and exercise strength of character.

I hope and pray that someday the Lord will use me to reach those in far off places, overseas, and in countries where giant Forever 21s don't matter. I want to change my outlook, I want to live for the things that are important, but mostly I want to find true joy in the things that really matter, things eternal...not fleeting.

And so, to end this epic tale of shopping woe, I did in fact walk out of the store with a couple items that I have since decided to return in the spirit of just not needing them. I guess my dressing room conversion wasn't completely thorough...but it was a definite step in the right direction. The most encouraging thing about my experience is knowing that what happened was an outward showing of an inward transformation, one that I hope continues to grow and affect positively every aspect of my life.

Thus begins a real journey for me, one that I'm confident will stretch me to the limits of my being, to the ends of the earth, and to the greatest potential of myself.

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