I was 19, living on my own, working full-time, going to school full-time, and trying to figure out who I was. I was attending Elevation Church, spending many nights with my boyfriend and addicted to shopping. When I say addicted, I don't mean that I enjoyed shopping. I mean, I would go to the mall on my lunch break every day and spend over $100 in an hour. I had spent the majority of the money in my $2,000 savings account that I started out with when I moved out.
Labor Day weekend, I went to Myrtle Beach with a friend. I checked my bank account before we left, and I was sure that I had plenty of money to enjoy some Labor Day weekend shopping. We shopped until we dropped three days in a row. We hit every store possible in Myrtle Beach at least once. We came back every day with our arms full of bags.
I came home Monday evening, and checked my bank account again. Over -$400? How could that have happened? What could I have done? How was I going to recover from this? I had cleaned out my savings account and was still over $400 in the negative. Because of all of the times I swiped my card, the fees were going to be more than I was in the negative!!! Who was I going to call? I had too much pride to tell anyone what I had done. Finally, I called my mom. I was shaking, tears rolling down my face, terrified of what she would have to say, I told her what had happened. She had just enough money in her bank account to cover the fees AND the negative. She came right over, and cleaned out her bank account to help me out.
This was a huge wake up call. I was a hot mess. My boyfriend and I had just broken up for the last time. I was trying to fill the void that he left in my heart. I was trying to make myself happy through having new clothes. WAKE UP CALL!! The void was not being filled.
On September 20th, 2009, I went to church like any other Sunday. The one week series was titled Student Takeover. Everything that Pastor Steven said hit home. He asked four questions in the sermon that made so much sense to me.
What is that in your hand? A question of calling.
Am I trying to win the approval of men or of God? A question of acceptance.
How can a young man keep his way pure? A question of integrity.
Who do you say that I am? A question of eternity.
I think the second point hit home the most. Am I trying to win the approval of men or God? I was living for the approval of men. Pastor Steven helped me realize that this was not the way to live. I prayed to accept Christ into my heart that night. I asked Christ to forgive me for my sins and take away my need to fill any void with shopping.
To this day, I have no interest in shopping. Only God could have taken that addiction from me. He took the addiction and filled that place in my life with a love for God, serving the Lord and living a life for Christ.
I still struggle with living like Christ did. I still struggle with devoting all of my life to Christ. I still struggle with doing the right thing at all times. Every Christian does. Accepting Christ as your Savior does not take all of your pain and struggles away. What it does do is gives you hope that God is on your side. You have a reason to keep trying. You have a reason to keep living a life of integrity.