So I was at the shops today. You know the kind. Spacious, awe-inspiring, expensive-looking shops with big white glossy floor tiles and shiny metal doorframes. The kind of shops where you have to meet dress code just to enter.
I walked into one such flashy store this morning, blinking in the fluorescent lights, my ears assailed by Christmas music. A chirpy twentysomething greeted me as she busily folded clothes. I wandered noncommittally to the nearest dress rack and checked the label for a price.
I started hyperventilating.
It was seventy dollars. For a dress. You know what a dress is, right? It is a piece of cloth designed to keep us warm and protect us from the elements. It is a bit of fabric. That is all. Apparently it was worth parting with. . . let’s see, what else is worth seventy dollars?
A medical treatment session.
A cabride to the airport.
Seven boxes of really good quality chocolate.
I flung myself out of the shop and started laughing hysterically. I looked around at the other shops, the shoppers dressed in the latest, the people spilling in and out of luxurious store entrances. I found myself giggling to God.
“It’s like first-world propaganda. We are living in a cult of morbid colours, window-shopper fatigue and self-inflicted bankruptcy.”
”It’s like first-world propaganda.”
I continued to laugh-hyperventilate. “How can people spend so much money on pieces of cloth?”
To explain, (I will get to my Jesus-point, I promise,) my view of fashion-shopping has been decidedly skewed by many years of experienced op shopping. Op-shoppers are guaranteed to pay very little for whatever they purchase. I recently went op shopping and bought four tops for sixteen dollars.
Here is my point. Op shopping has completely ruined me for normal shopping. Never again will I be able to enter an elite fashion zone, look at a designer label and say to myself, “Oh yes, that is a reasonable price.” Never. Again.
Op shopping has ruined me for normal shopping.
Because I know there is something way better out there.
Following Jesus is, for me, a little like op shopping. I could never go back to the way I used to live without him, striving and sweating and trying to redeem myself. I have met Jesus and fallen completely in love. I can never go back. Never. Again.
Sure, I could try. I could go back to those fancy stores with their shiny veneers, pretending to belong there. I could try to find what I am looking for in the repetitive, dreary fashion, while paying through the nose for it.
But I know there is better elsewhere.
I can never go back. Never. Again.
Following Jesus has not been about ticking items off my spiritual checklist. It has not involved the squishing and squeezing of my true self into some religious closet, suppressing the person I really am for fear of offending an all-powerful cosmic ruler.
It has been about getting to know a person who is wilder, more reckless, more rogue and more tender than I ever dreamed possible.
And, like op shopping, I am converted for good.
What has following Jesus been like for you? How has Jesus challenged your ideas and misconceptions about himself? Are you a fan of op shopping? Share your story – let’s have a countercultural conversation.