Somewhere along the line, we lose ourselves. We find ourselves at Costco, staring at the shiny camera on the shelf, the thing that will give you x (book advertisement) and help you do y (YouTube). Marketers spend billions of dollars to trap, ensnare and keep you in their cycle of wanting, buying and eventual dissatisfaction. Set this process on repeat and there’s the foundation of the economy and personal debt, I would argue.
Despite my best (albeit fragile) attempts, I fell into this snare recently. It happened slowly, but grew in intensity. The items were mainly to help me with my writing or my writing room. I found myself getting gentle warnings of this modern day idolatry: tugs at the heart that something wasn’t quite right, conversations with people that just happened to touch on the traps of materialism and my own self reflections that eventually increased over time. After some more reflection, I feel this was God poking me with His great holy stick from on high, golden, bedazzled and gleaming with polish.
*poke, poke* *poke, poke*
After about a hundred pokes or so, the message clicked. I’m kneeling down at the cross now and I’m cutting the ropes–the snares–I’ve suddenly found twisted around my ankles, digging into my skin, starting to leech at my soul. I’m tired of the cycle of materialism, the power money can have over you if you let it. I’m not playing the game anymore.
It started innocently enough. A best selling indie author I watch on YouTube had a video tour of her writing room. I was inspired and over the next few months, created my own writing room with the Saint. But then I needed a chair. A rug. A fancy computer like the author did with a fancy camera to make super cool videos with. On and on the list built as I continued comparing myself to this author. And if you’re still reading folks, don’t do this. Don’t compare yourself to others, don’t think their way of doing things is the only way and must be the way. In the words of Admiral Ackbar, “It’s a trap!”
Some things I’ve come to realize and not just parrot mindlessly:
- You don’t need a computer to write that first draft. Many of the greats wrote by hand, slowly, deliberately. Their novels lasted. Let that sink in. I can wait to replace my broken laptop (one I’ve tried unsuccessfully to fix).
- I am me, not anyone else.
- I serve God, not money. I trust God, not money. I love God, not money.
- My value and worth is priceless in God’s eyes. My worth is not determined by what society thinks of me, my writing, my visual appearance, my abilities or my career.
- I need to let myself write without censor, without fear in that first draft. Editing and revision come later. I will stand at the edge of the literary cliff and write what I see, no holds bar.
- I will get x item I may require in the future, but not now. And that’s okay.
- And when I do get x item, it will be after research, patience, waiting and budgeting wisely.
- And there’s always a chance I may not need that item after all. That’s okay, too. ☺️
The Saint and I are going to challenge ourselves in the next few weeks to do no unnecessary purchases for the majority of July. We’re resetting our brains, turning away from the marketing and refocusing on what gives Life, not Death. I will be using my time more wisely and resetting my spirit over the holiday weekend. You’re more than welcome to join me.
Ever fall into materialism, comparing yourself to others or any other common trap? Leave a comment below if you’re so brave and we’ll encourage one another to keep moving forward.
Keep on flying, Arcians. Ker-kaw!