I don’t think I have ever come across one person who has not suffered with some form of inclination to idolatry, yes, even amongst Christians! Idolatry, does not have to be overt worship of images but things that we turn to when the going gets tough in order to escape our everyday cares, or those things which we can’t live without or must do in order to make it through the day or feel better about ourselves. I see a propensity for false-worship in myself in the need to find comfort in various things instead of turning to God for comfort, whether it’s TV addiction, losing myself in a ‘good read‘ or comfort-eating whenever I turn to these things over going to God for help I have created an idol for myself.
It is this truth that first made me think about what I shall write below, even though shopping is not my particular achilles heel, I know that many, many people comfort-shop but is it more than an idle past-time? I have tried to capture what I think goes through the mind of someone who shops compulsively, but I think this can be applied to anything that we do that we are drawn uncontrollably to. As I wrote this I thought of my own struggles and temptations and those of someone I know personally who experiences this particular struggle on a day-to-day basis.
“I am a shopaholic”, she says.
“I worship the god of Fashion. She calls me from afar as a siren calls forth the desires of men; I have served her now these many moons.
I am her slave, she knows my weaknesses, she entices me with promises of comfort and satisfaction, esteem and splendour. I cannot help but be drawn to her temple, as someone who sleeps yet is wide awake I find myself at its front steps over and over again. She lures me in with thoughts of treasures: shiny new, crisply clean and lustrously bright. I hear her call louder, ‘you want it, take it, it is yours.’ A shoe, a hat, a bag, a coat take on new qualities for me. I am blinded by the colours, my heart beats faster, I step into her sanctuary.
I bring my offering to her priests, whether I have or have not, I am driven to offer my sacrifice at her temple. She will cause me to be at ease once more, she will appease me through this offering, my gold for her splendour. I will no longer feel insignificant, I will be clothed in her majesty.
I leave her temple head high and soul heavy with the weight of anticipation.
But… in my four walls all is not right, I feel different. My spirit is drained and what was once crimson red and cerulean blue takes on the sombreness of black and gray, yet I know that in my hands I hold her treasures.
I feel sickness swell from deep inside of me, I’ll feel better once I am once more clothed in her splendour. But no! Those eyes that look back at me remain the same, elation turns to despair, I am still who I am but for a moment I was…
I forget now these once treasures as they slip from my grasp and fall to join their ancestors scattered around my bedroom floor. My mistress is fickle maybe tomorrow she will be kinder to me? Yes, tomorrow will be my day.”
This thought keeps me humble and grateful that we have a God who loves us and is continually faithful and merciful towards us even in our faithlessness towards Him. May we continue to ask Him to change us and cause us to turn towards Him more fully, and may we also be led to pray for those who truly struggle with addiction and escapism problems.