How buying socks taught me to be selfless.

On a whim in January, I decided to give up shopping for a year.

Yes. SHOPPING. This means I can’t buy any clothing that I don’t need. Surprisingly, its been going pretty well for the last few months. But I got to the point where I needed more socks. After debating with myself on how big of a hole my socks could handle before justifying ‘needing’ new ones, I finally decided to go buy some. So on a rainy Thursday after work, I stepped into the ghetto Target. For those of you who live near the Uptown/Village/Knox/Henderson area, you know which Target I am talking about. So any who, I’m in Target trying to find the cheapest socks, a much needed sports bra, and a purse (which I convinced myself wasn’t considered ‘clothing’),  and I start to struggle with a severe case of early onset shopper’s remorse.

“Do I need any of this stuff?”

“Am I breaking my shopping rules?”

“I’m a terrible person with no self-control!” (dramatic, I know…)

So I finally bite the bullet and decide to get everything in my basket. I’m waiting in line and this seemingly sweet older black gentleman is in front of me with a bottle of V8 Splash on the conveyor belt thingy. “Mmmm… V8…”,  I think to myself.  Then I notice that something is wrong and all of the sudden the man takes back his money, leaves the V8, and heads to the door. He is met by two security guards and I watch in horror as they empty out his pockets. After taking 5 items off of him, he leaves.

I’m totally horrified at this point. Not because I witnessed an attempted theft, but horrified by the fact that all the items he was attempting to steal were essentials: deodorant, tooth brush, etc. The scene replays in my mind as the cashier rings up the purse, socks, and sports bra, pushing the V8 aside.

I walked out of Target with a sense of guilt in my stomach. How sad is it that I’m debating with myself over silly shopping ‘rules’ when they are people living in OUR CITY without the means to buy the bare essentials? This really spurred me on in my quest to spend less money on ME and spend more of my time and money on others. Too often, I have the opportunity to buy someone lunch or pay for someone’s groceries ahead of me in line and I don’t because I am worried I won’t have enough money for ME. So instead of sharing God’s blessings with others, I hoard them for myself and often don’t even use them. They just sit in a bank account and create a false sense of security.

So my new goal for the year: I will still continue to not buy clothing I don’t need but I also want to start using the money I have to love others. Not in the check-writing sense, but in the relational sense. So bring it on 2014.

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