Empowered by Jesus, First Step!

“He replied, “Because you have so little faith. Truly I tell you, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.”
‭‭Matthew‬ ‭17:20‬ ‭NIV

Lord, I surrender a fruitless yet socially acceptable habit.

Yes, You heard me right! A fruitless habit.

The Holy Spirit convicted me of an endless, reckless cycle a couple of years ago. A cycle characterized by the adrenaline rush of excitement followed by a deep sense of regret, shame, and guilt.

The cycle repeats itself over and over again and it is out of control once again.

I surrender, Lord.

“I love to shop, Lord.”

I am sure you have witnessed a long-standing pattern of frivolous spending since early adulthood. Please forgive me for being prideful; I thought I could change the circumstances all on my own. “I was wrong!” I have been unwilling to pray over this never-ending cycle. I was in denial all along. I humbly surrender my heart once again. You have delivered me from other strongholds (2 Corinthians 1: 9-11) in the past so I am familiarized with the power of the Holy Spirit in my life.

I am finally weary and burdened over the endless cycle of reckless spending.

The more money I earn, the more I want to spend. I remember working four consulting jobs for three consecutive years so I could have the extra cash flow for online shopping. How did I do it? I am still trying to figure it out myself! It was insanity I assure you. I was emotionally and physically spent from working so many hours a day. Exhaustion fired up the needless shopping cycle and it repeated itself over the years.

“Yes, Lord! I admit I am powerless over online shopping and my finances have been out of control. I am craving for a change in lifestyle today. I do believe in resurrected life, help me with my unbelief.”

It is so much fun to shop rather than feel frustrated, alone, angry or exhausted. “Who has time to dwell on these emotions?! As a matter of fact, I am upset right now and I am already thinking about taking advantage of the 20% coupon readily available to me in my yahoo account.”

Please help! I have an urge to shop right now, Lord.

Many individuals find pleasure in drinking wine on weekends, others delight in baking desserts and some may even lose track of time and money at the casinos. Personally, I find satisfaction in shopping online; it is easy, convenient and available on my smartphone wherever I go. The best part of it all the stores are never closed.

At the end of the day, we all want to feel better and perhaps even forget about our most recent challenges, sorrows, and related distress. These recreational outlets give us temporarily relief and our emotions may be positively altered… When we are ready to pursue more pleasurable moments, we then anticipate the next shopping trip, or next exotic drink, or tasty midnight snacks, or another gambling escapade.

There is nothing wrong with any of these fun-filled activities as long as we do them in ‘moderation’ and it does not interfere with our quality of life and/or relationships, finance or health.

“What’s the common denominator?!”

These are all entertaining by nature and socially acceptable. These habits distract and relieve us from the discomfort of ‘day-to-day’ emotional stress.

Lord, I always thought I managed my emotions well. But, I realized not too long ago I thrive in busyness and this tendency helps me avoid processing my emotions in constructive ways.

I am going to need your support throughout the day until I find new ways of coping with today’s fast-paced, stressful work day! I don’t want to spend money unless it is necessary.

“I no longer want to feel repulsed after I shop either”, I scolded myself the other day.

Help me not find refuge in retail therapy but in your Word. Your truth guides me and is a light to my path when struggling with a challenge or adversity.

Some experts say it takes 66 days to build a new habit and others have concluded it only takes 21 days. I bet no one really knows how long it takes but you do, Lord.

No matter how long it takes, I am ready for the first step in recovery and I admit I have lost control over the budget.  Help me differentiate between the desires of the flesh and the real needs one day at a time, the antecedents of impulsive shopping, and creative exit plan when experiencing cravings. Your word reminded me at sunrise that there is always a ‘way out’ when faced with a temptation (1 Corinthians 10:13). So, Help me be less distracted by enticing marketing strategies and be much more focused on purchasing those items I truly need.

I am inviting you to walk alongside me.

Every time I surrender an area of my life, I experience a sense of loss of control; it is quite uncomfortable I must admit.

“Be patient. I am doing something new” (Isaiah 43:19), I hear you say every time!

I was taught to be confident and bold in childhood and not to be vulnerable or weak. So, I am establishing new boundaries as I am learning how to cope with adversity.

Setbacks are to be expected. I don’t want to be discouraged.

Just know I am committed this time around! Help me find strength and inner peace in you when faced with another opportunity for needless spending.  Your grace is sufficient (2 Corinthians 12:9) if I fail along the way. I know you will give me the strength I need to let go of this unproductive habit over time.

You have been refining my character gradually, and I truly appreciate your compassion, unconditional love, and never-ending Grace. Even though I am uncomfortable with these upcoming changes, I know saving money has a favorable impact on my retirement plan.

By trusting in you, I can let go and allow you to map out a new journey on my behalf. Your plan is always so much better than any of my other plans.

I know that well!

Jeremiah 32:27 reminds me of your mighty power and nothing is impossible for you, Lord. If the circumstances are difficult for me, you can relentlessly work it all out for my good.

In Christ, your beloved daughter is able to conquer any barrier and be free from wasteful habits. Nothing is impossible for you. I do believe so help me with my unbelief.

In Jesus’ name, I pray, Amen

Let us sit at the Lord’s feet:

Inscribe and Meditate 2 Corinthians 1:1-11

Memory Verse:  “He has delivered us from such a deadly peril, and he will deliver us again. On him, we have set our hope that he will continue to deliver us,”
‭‭2 Corinthians‬ ‭1:10‬ ‭NIV‬‬

Weekly Challenge:

Consider journaling about your thoughts, emotions and/or circumstances prior to a shopping experience. You will discover the triggers or antecedents of needless shopping.

Label this challenge, the ‘needs vs. wants shopping extravaganza.’ Then consider the following questions; “Do I truly need this now? or can I wait for next month?” On the second column, “Can I afford it now or do I need to add it to the budget for later?” In the third column, “How am I feeling at the time of the shopping urge?” In the fourth column, what are the circumstances I am facing at the time of the urge? Record your answers in a notebook.

You are welcome to share with us your experience in the comments below.

Tip for the week: Declutter your email account by deleting ‘sale announcements’ before you read them.

53236182-AF02-4B53-A0B5-B19FAD74CD82Photo courtesy: Franciele Cunhan@ Splasher

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