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The Dark Side of Checking Out - What our Consumeristic Urges Say About Us

Black Friday and Cyber Monday mark the apex of American consumerism. As this Cyber Monday comes to a close, I am baffled by the reports about consumer spending. From Black Friday alone, Americans have already spent $9.8 billion, with much of it on credit cards that hold outrageous balances. The cumulative total of all American credit card debt is over $1 trillion.

What does all this spending say about us as people?

We live in a society that bombards us with messages about the next big thing, the must-have gadget, or the trendiest fashion. In the hustle and bustle of our modern lives, it's all too easy to find ourselves entangled in the web of consumerism. As we navigate the aisles of stores and scroll through online shopping platforms, it's crucial to pause and reflect on the deeper implications of our consumer spending.

In the tapestry of our lives, what threads are we weaving with each purchase? Are we creating a pattern that reflects our true values and priorities, or are we inadvertently revealing disordered attachments that distract us from life's most profound meaning?

Consumer spending, when left unchecked, can become a revealing lens into our souls. It's a mirror reflecting not only our desires but also our perceived needs. The danger lies in the possibility of substituting the temporal for the eternal, exchanging the lasting for the fleeting. In the quest for happiness and fulfillment, we often find ourselves reaching for things that, though momentarily satisfying, fail to address the deepest longings of our hearts.

At the core of our being, our greatest need is God. It is in Him that we find true meaning, purpose, and fulfillment. Yet, in the cacophony of worldly distractions, we may unknowingly medicate our spiritual emptiness with possessions that offer only a transient sense of satisfaction. As St. Augustine wisely observed, "Our hearts are restless until they rest in You." But maybe that's just because St. Augustine didn't know the power of the iPhone...

Consumerism can become a seductive substitute for the soul's yearning for the divine. We accumulate possessions, seeking to fill the void within, only to discover that the emptiness persists. The latest gadget or trend may provide a temporary distraction, but it cannot quench the profound thirst for spiritual nourishment.

In the quiet corners of our lives, reflecting on the motivations behind our spending habits is essential. Are we seeking fulfillment in possessions rather than in the One who created us? The Apostle Paul reminds us in Philippians 4:19 that our God shall supply all our needs according to His riches in glory through Christ Jesus. True contentment is found not in the accumulation of things but in a relationship with the One who sustains us.

As we consider the impact of consumer spending on our spiritual formation, let us be intentional about aligning our priorities with eternal truths. Instead of chasing after the transient, let us invest in the enduring. This shift in perspective invites us to evaluate our choices, recognizing that our true wealth lies in the richness of our connection with God.

Do you find yourself reaching for worldly things to fill an internal yearning? Do you find yourself restless and only fleetingly satisfied by new gadgets, toys, and apps? Do you know deep down, you're created for more... but struggle to find that contentment and connection with God? Do you know intellectually that God ought to be your all, but practically that just seems out of reach?

I invite you to consider investing in a transformative journey toward spiritual direction. Fermata Ministries offers a sacred space where individuals can explore the depths of their faith, address disordered priorities, and cultivate a more fulfilling connection with God through individual or group spiritual direction.

Ever since Christ walked the earth, there have been countless men and women who have taken His invitation seriously. To walk deeper into the heart of God means walking away from the temptations of this world that beckon us to find our fulfillment in tangible, temporary things. May this be a season of intentional reflection, where our hearts and minds align with God's eternal truths. As we embark on this journey together, may we find joy in pursuing a life that reflects the divine priorities that lead us to everlasting joy and fulfillment.

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