Recently I was feeling really overwhelmed at home, and decided that I needed to get out of the house. I got in the car and headed down the street, feeling the urge to go shopping, which is fun and relaxing for me. I realized that I was getting excited about the prospect of finding some good deals, and I felt my stress and anxiety turn to happiness and excitement as I drove towards the shopping center. I also thought that maybe after I went shopping, I could go pick up a cupcake at the bakery on the way home. "That will make me feel better!" I thought. But this time was different. I felt really strongly that I needed to turn around and go the other way; I needed to go park the car in front of a park by my house. Normally I would just ignore this "sense" and keep driving, but I couldn't do that this time. I felt like I really needed to go park at the park.
So, this time I listened. I drove to the park and sat in the car. It was silent. I wondered "What am I doing here?!" As I sat in the silence in the warmth of my car, my emotions swept over me and I started to cry. I allowed myself to feel what I had been trying to push away. I felt overwhelmed. I felt sad. I felt angry. I felt tired. So I just sat in the car and cried. Definitely not what I had been planning to do. Then I prayed. I prayed for a long time. I prayed through all of my emotions, I asked God my tough questions, and I sat in the silence. After awhile, for the first time in a long time, I felt peace.
God spoke to my heart that day in the car. He reminded me that I was seeking pleasure and fulfillment through my "shopping spree" instead of going to Him. I realized that I do that a lot. Many times when I'm feeling stressed and overwhelmed, right when my husband gets home, I will jet out of the house for some "alone" time and go shopping. I spend money on things I don't really need, including food that I think will help me feel better, and try to cover my emotions with temporary pleasure.
Just like there are emotional eaters, there are also emotional shoppers. Many people do both (including me - note the reference to CUPCAKES?!) :) Next time you feel the "need" to go shopping, just stop. Ask yourself if you are feeling overwhelmed, depressed or tired. Is that why you are going shopping? If so, turn that car around and find a park. You may find more peace and joy than you ever would at the store. You will also save your pocketbook! :)