I sat in the training room for my part-time Christmas job, listening to the orientation leader explain part of why we’re here. “Retail therapy is real,” she says in reference to the women who will come in to our store. “When a woman has a bad day, we can help lighten her mood. We can help her find products that will make her happy and reaffirm the good choices she makes in buying them.”
Yes, there is definitely a truth to this. I can remember buying a new pair of jeans just hours after splitting up with a high school boyfriend, or getting new throw pillows for my sofa when I’d had an awful week at work. (I’m sure there is some scientific experiment confirming that positive-mood chemicals are released in our brains when we hear “cha-ching” at the register.)
I’m as likely as the next woman to satisfy or silence my emotions with shopping. Pretty things make me happy, whether they’re for my house, my wardrobe or for someone else. But I do recognize the potential pitfall if we make a routine out of it.
When Jesus met the woman at the well, He reminded her that she’d get thirsty again with the water she was after. In the same way, our retail therapy might feel great in the moment, but it’s just temporary. Lasting emotional well-being comes only from seeking Jesus, the real therapist, who can handle any of our mood swings or bad days.
Let's make it our routine to choose Him before we choose a new outfit, perfume or pillow to perk up our mood.
For me, it's sometimes as simple as stopping whatever I'm doing to pray, journal or sing. Intentionally turning my attention away from my negative emotion toward God is really helpful for me. Then it is a conscious decision whether or not I want to browse a shop and spend money on something, and asking God if it's what He wants me to do with my time and money as well. I recognize it might sound restrictive or silly, but it's what I find works for me.