I was at Michaels, standing in the middle of the aisle with seasonal home goods that were marked with red tags, when a holy voice from heaven sounded, booming loud into my chest, saying,
Get the thing, you need the thing. It’s everything you ever wanted, and it’s on sale. Get the thing!
I pulled my hand away from the shelf and stopped caressing the wooden signs and flower wreath. I paused and stood there in that moment. There was no booming voice from heaven. God did not tell me to get the thing. It was my own wishful, wanting heart — I told me to get the thing.
Never has it ever been promised that we would have every beautiful thing that makes our hearts flutter and our homes perfect. Never has it ever been said that we should shop and buy and Amazon Prime all the things, even if they are on sale.
Not that shopping at Target makes us transgressors; we do not suddenly become sinners if we run up receipts at Stop and Shop. But when buying all the things turns into something we do to fill the holes in our hearts, there lies within us an invitation to explore:
Do we reach for the rack of clothes because we need something that fits or because we want to fit in with every fashion trend on Instagram? Do we need the tenth version of that cell phone because it’s really broken beyond repair or because we absolutely, positively have to have it? Do we Amazon Prime all the things to the front door because we need to or simply because we want, want, want?
These are the thoughts we don’t like pressing into because we like the thoughts we already have. We like hearing, Get the thing. You need the thing. But if we don’t allow God’s Spirit to rise up in us, we will never fully do and be the things that He is calling us to when it comes to spending money and shopping, especially when it comes to joining Him in His kingdom work.
We can let God’s thoughts, His truths, sing over us while we are at the stores and scrolling shops online. His voice, if we let it, can speak contentment and discernment right into us. He calls us out and presses every heart to ponder.
I can’t help but think of the man from Mark 10:17, who ran and fell to his knees before Jesus, desperately asking, “What must I do to inherit eternal life?” Jesus spoke right to the soul of the man and told him to go and sell all the things, to sell every possession and to give to the poor. But the man grieved to hear Jesus say this. “His face fell,” the gospel tells us. Sucker-punched right to the soul, he went from a certain kind of eager desperation, to shattered and sorrowful. And he walked away.
So many times I have read that passage and compared myself to the man thinking, I would have sold my possessions and followed Jesus; I would have given everything I had to the poor. But I’ve come to realize that Jesus’ point goes beyond the mere giving and selling of stuff. It’s really about how we react and respond when God puts His finger on those unyielding places in our hearts.
Do we frown and pout and back ourselves out of the conversation when we sense Him whispering that we don’t need the pretty pillow, even if it really is hand-stitched by Joanna Gaines herself? When it comes down to it, do we really need clocks and crates in every corner for someone to “feel” the peace of God in our homes? Do we need suede sandals in every color and ten wide-rimmed hats to feel breathtaking and beautiful? Or will we take Him at His word when He says we really are wonderfully made?
When your hand reaches for the shelf with the home goods marked with red tags, ask yourself: What is my heart reaching for? What is my soul seeking out?
And don’t check yourself against all of the right things that you are doing — that holy to-do list of reading the Bible, streaming worship, and reposting every graphic with God’s name on it. Check yourself against how you respond when Jesus speaks the words into your soul: You don’t need that thing right now, daughter. Do you swell with wonder, dreaming up the ways God could instead use your money, your resources, your knack for creatively curating beautiful things for the mission of His kingdom? Or do you walk away grieved with your face fallen?
Karen Marie says
You have spoken to me today …. As I shop for Christmas gifts I am taking much more time asking myself is this something that will bring each person joy.
Rachel Marie Kang says
Karen, I am so glad this spoke to you. Hoping you’ll carry this truth with you all through the season : )
Joycelyn Skalberg says
Wow! While shopping is not my thing however, there is something else that fits your definition of “the thing vying for my heart”. Get questions to ask myself “what is my heart reaching/searching for?”
Rachel Marie Kang says
Amazing how the Holy Spirit will speak to our hearts…shows just how much God knows us, intimately and personally. I’m so glad this spoke to you in the way that it did…much grace to you as you unravel the lesson God has for you.
Ruth Mills says
God wisely gave me a Dad that insisted I define a purchase as a want or a need. I had to return anything that I could not convince him was really a need. Fred still sits on my shoulder asking the want or need question as I shop & I rarely flick him off my shoulder. But you have added another layer to that financial question. What can I do to further The Kingdom if I resist the want? That thinking fills me with joy & I can’t wait to apply it! Thank you!
Ohhh that hurts yet feels like the day after some really good exercise at the same time Good good word for me today and thank you for pointing it out again.. I always know how Gid speaks through His Spirit from one to another ❣️ Blessings to and through you ❤️
Ann Woleben says
I have been guilty of buying something because at the time I thought I “deserved” it. Once I arrived home with the item, it would go on a shelf or hang in my closet and the “void” or “emptiness” remained. Over the years I have come to realize that only God can fill the “void” and I am so grateful for His relationship. Thank you for sharing your message.
I wish I read this two days ago when I ordered something that was not a necessity. How often I see something and jump right on it. Is this a sin? I need more help in hearing God’s voice saying no, not necessary.
I don’t know the exact answer to your question, but I do know how you feel and didn’t want your question left unanswered. God will always speak to you in a loving and kind way. You know that feeling when you’ve held off buying something but in a low point you’re just like, “whatever, I don’t really need it but I want this thing” and end up regretting the purchase when it doesn’t quite work out like you thought it would? That’s a perfect example of a time when you need to say STOP-let me check in to see if there’s a feeling I’m trying to squash or void I’m trying to fill in. Your own voice will try to justify the purchase but God’s voice will help you think through it.
The more you talk to Him the easier it becomes to know you’ve heard His voice speak to you. I wish there was a concrete answer like “an chime will alert you to the Lord’s incoming message” but keep asking for guidance and it will come to you. You are not the only one in this boat, I promise!
I am now living in the tiniest one bedroom condo- I refer to it as the dollhouse. So very limited space and storage. This has helped me tremendously. I would love to have decorations for every holiday like I used to but it isn’t possible, so I make do with changing the ribbon on the wreath of my door and cherish that the place is less cluttered and clean! In the meantime, I enjoy what the stores are selling but it is a relief not having to deal with the bills that come after when living on a fixed income. This has come with age. I had a mother who grew up poor and till the very end, she kept buying what she wanted and did not need. Having to clean out her place when she died made me be determined not to do that to my children. I love Christmas lights and such but when I see the over the top ways places/homes are decorated, I wonder for whose benefit it is- certainly not what Christ came to earth for and died for. I have been called a Scrooge for this by some but I am more concerned what God thinks of me.
Maura Michael says
This is a struggle for me also, but seeing a recent report on how our stuff often ends up in landfills of poorer countries made me sick. Why should my desire for more become anothers burden that affects their wellbeing? So I pray and commit to do better.
Rachel Marie Kang says
Maura, thank you for sharing that. This is a huge part of why I’ve made changes to the way and reasons I shop, too. I have committed to doing better too—even when it means forgoing on getting certain things or waiting until there’s a better way to go about it. Keep on the path you’re on and may God use you to bring change to those around you, too. Much love <333
Dawn Ferguson-Little says
Rachel that is what God showed me a few years ago. I got this notion into my head. I would like a Cordless Hoover. I said it would be very handy to myself. Then I heard a voice from God saying you have a perfectly good hoover that works. It might have a lead and you have to plug it in too use it. Why waist money of something you don’t need. When there are people in this world with alot less than you. Struggling more than to you. My Child get one when you need it. As that greed. Especially when you don’t need it. So now I only I don’t over spend. I have been carefull with money. But that really spoke to me God saying that too me. As I went on to my Husband but it would be so useful. I get the benefit out of a cordless hoover. My Husband even though I not told him God said to me what he said to me. My Husband said why would you want a cordless hoover. When we have a perfectly good hoover that works. Only difference is it has lead and you have to plug it in. That silly my Husband said. But I went on and on at him. Trying to convince him. Long before God spoke to me. He kept saying Dawn it is only an notion in your head you don’t need it. We have good corded one that works. My Husband was right. But it really took God to speak to me and say what he did. To stop me going on about it. To get it out of my head. But now I only buy things as I need them. I don’t take any crazy notions in my head any more. As I think about people less well of than me. I not rich rich nor do I want to be. I and my Husband have just enough to do us. We Tith on to the Lord as well. It taught me alot. You can if you see something on TV or someone else has it. You think that is good. I benefit from it too. You then get the notion you want it. When you don’t need it. Your Spending money you don’t need too. Also spending money God would not want you to spend. When you look at people in our world alot less well of than you. They make do with what they have. They are thank full for what they have. What people give them. Even if it second hand. So this lesson from God has taught me alot about my spending on things I don’t need. Only buy as I need things. My Husband bought me for our Anniversary back in June a cordless hoover. For me being patient and listing to the Lord. As I told him what the Lord said he agreed with me. Thank you Rachel for sharing your heart. I do keep you all incourage in my prayers. Love Dawn Ferguson-Little xx
Becky Keife says
What is my heart really longing for? Is there an ache I’m trying to fill that was meant for God alone? These are the questions that cut to my soul in the hardest and best ways. Thank you for the beautiful and clear reminder to keep asking them…and then listen expectantly for God’s answer. love you.
Lisa Mathis says
I am so glad to see this message ! I believe that almost every woman does go through this and have heard from my family members ( Only women ) wished they had not bought something to some of my girlfriends who admitted as well . Not to mention my sister . It just shows how also ( even guys I went to school with admitted things they wished they had not done or bought ) that this a confirmation for me personally and to our everyday lives . My sister though a recovered alcoholic over almost 30 years been married twice . She admitted she had not got married twice . Her 1st husband was clearly a narcissistic and got in trouble with the law and 2nd husband he was just much older than her by 17 years older than she apparently she wished she had not got married the 2nd time and wished she had waited til’ she got a bit older from her 1st marriage. However, I never been married but there is still hope I’m may be older and wiser but I’m not dead and it just shows that what our heart of the soul is in our journey of life. I felt encourage today ‘s message !
OK!! You spoke truth right into my heart!! I recognize that I am shopping to fill a void. It’s so easy to justify it, though, because I shop at Goodwill. Hello, $5.99 shirt! I am lonely and feeling adrift and no purchase it’s going to change that. Thank you so much for your words today. They sounded a lot like God’s gentle, loving truth.
This really resonated with me today as I wrestled with whether I should give some money I had saved to make Christmas special or give some of it to someone who really needed a necessity of life. After reading this I’m glad l followed Gods leading and gave the money to the friend in need.
Thank you for this beautifully written post. I have been trying to put more thought into what I allow myself to purchase. Do I really need another pair of shoes??? The answer is most certainly no but I still struggle to resist the want. Recently I have been walking away from some “wants” knowing I am enough as is without all the fanfare.
Beth Williams says
I’ve never really been a shopper. Don’t keep up with the latest trends. Learned from my parents how to budget my income & save for the future. Sure I like nice things now & then. But over the years I’ve learned to be content with whatever God blesses me with. Here’s a quote I found, believe & live: “The longer you have to wait for something, the more you will appreciate it when it finally arrives. The harder you have to fight for something, the more priceless it will become once you achieve it. And the more pain you have to endure on your journey, the sweeter the arrival at your destination.
God has put on my heart to encourage, help & bless others. I volunteer with Loaves & Fishes food bank. Several times a week I go & help make food boxes, put dinners together & hand them or whatever needs to be done. For Christmas this year I’m pick a senior angel or two & buying for those who truly need something. Makes me happy to bless others in any way I can.