By Marina Hanna
Some kid was screaming in the next aisle
over, and I was wishing I could shop in
peace as I lethargically shuffled my feet
through an outlet store the other day. I
grabbed another shiny knick-knack, turning
it around in my palms. I quickly conjured up
a reason I really needed it as I tossed into
the cart with the rest of my things. My eyes
wandered around the shelves in search of
the next good deal.
I confess. The act of acquiring stuff is
practically magical to me; there’s nothing
like coming home with something new. My
vice of choice is beautiful stationary — if I
have it in my hands, it’s nearly impossible to
put it back.
Unsurprisingly, I was in the stationery aisle
when a crystal clear sentence presented
itself in my soul, completely out-of-the-blue.
He’s using this against you, you know.
I froze, a person in suspended animation.
I know when a thought is from God because
they’re typically quite unrelated to whatever
I was thinking about, like a gentle shot to
the heart. This time, I had been stressing
over if I should purchase a notebook with
pineapples on it for my
science class, so...yeah.
Anyways, I asked God,
“Using what against me,
Satan, He clarified. He
knows that if he can entice
you into draining all of your
money into foolish, meaningless garbage, then you won’t have any left to
spend on what I’m preparing for you.
I swallowed hard, the notebook still in
my hand. I looked at the ground. God was
convicting me about my spending habits as
I was in the act. I slowly became angry, like
a person who’s just realized they’ve been
taken advantage of.
What God was revealing here made perfect
sense. I grew up surrounded by families
with new money who participated in
consumer culture like it was a competitive
sport. Bigger was always better. I remember
feeling inferior to my friends, who styled
the best outfits and the newest toys.
God was showing me how clever Satan is.
He curled his grip around an insecurity I’ve
had since childhood. I began to see how he
can target the weakest parts of our human-
ity, like wanting to be special, popular or
rich. If we’re not careful, he’ll redirect our
affections from the eternal to the temporal
so subtly we don’t even notice.
1 Peter 5: 8 warns
us to “stay alert” for
him to a lion looking
for a person to
devour. I saw then
that the devouring
can happen slowly,
as a gradual chipping
away at your resolve
to love God alone.
My eyes were now aware of the roaring lion
prowling around my heart, and the Holy
Spirit told me that it was time to get the
heck out of that store.
My revelation having fully unwound itself
beneath the bright lights of the stationary
aisle, I put down that notebook and I walked
North York, ON
Influential book or album? Go, by the Newsboys. The
band’s former lead singer, Peter Furler, writes lyrics
with unparalleled depth and insight into what it is
like to be head-over-heels in love with God, so I hear
something new each time I listen to the album
If we’re not careful, he’ll
redirect our affections
from the eternal to the
temporal so subtly we
don’t even notice.