gods of the outlet mall

I hate going to any mall, especially on a Saturday. But last week I told my three kids I would take them to the outlet mall. Even though it’s a little further away, I hoped I could save some money on the athletic shoes one of my sons needed, plus return a pair of jeans to the J.Crew Factory store.


My daughter had been wanting me to take her shopping so I was also hoping this would appease her and I could avoid having to go to any other mall.

My third child didn’t need anything so in my opinion was just along for the ride. But that is not at all how he saw it.  In fact he loves shopping at least as much as my daughter, maybe more.  And he is known to frequently rack up hundreds of dollars of merchandise in multiple online carts!  You could say it’s a shopping addiction, but I’m going to call it what it is- an idol, a false god!

So this is what happened on our shopping excursion…

I returned my jeans right off the bat. Then to keep them from fighting, we decided to rotate between stores the boys like and those that my daughter wanted to go in. She found a few items off her list so I was feeling good that my mission with her was being accomplished.

But we couldn’t find the perfect pair of athletic shoes- well, there were lots of good shoes just not the latest NBA superstar’s shoes that his heart was set on!  So we drove over to the nearby Dick’s Sporting Goods and right away he spotted them. But this created a problem.

The problem being the child who didn’t need anything LOVES these same shoes and his brother who needed shoes was getting them instead of him!

The coveting that had started at the outlet mall had now turned in to full-blown major coveting.  And an overwhelming desire to just buy anything took over.  Anything that might fill or temper the magnified desire for something new.

He did have a gift card and some cash, but I kept trying to explain it would be better to save it and then once he had a little more it might be possible to buy the shoes that he really wanted. It would not be wise to just spend the money on something just for the sake of having something new.

That made perfect sense to three of us! But the idea of coming home empty-handed when his two siblings had new items was lost on him.

Finally I just said, “It is your gift card”  to which he decided it was worth using to purchase yet another pair of Elite socks.


As we are standing in line to pay, I turned to him and said. “Will these make you happy?”

He shook his head up and down, “Yes!”

I asked again, “Will these really make you happy?”

This time he said, “Yes, but … I’m still mad at (insert sibling names!)”.

You see during this whole ordeal he thought they were rubbing it in his face that they were having a great shopping day. But, this just furthered the point I was after with him. He was so consumed with his idol of having to have something that he was now blame-shifting the reality of his heart-condition on his siblings, as if his problem was simply because of them.

How often do we do this too? We don’t see what is really going on in our own heart and instead of facing our sin we blame our behavior or justify the way we feel on someone else.

I reworded my question once again, “Will these socks make you permanently happy?”


It kind of sounds ridiculous when you ask it like that.  But the reality is we all turn to false gods, whether it’s socks… or Tory Burch shoes, a car, a vacation, a certain job title or status, appearance, recognition, or any other desire that rules our heart at any given moment. Whatever we think will bring us “life” or happiness.

The beautiful thing is we don’t have to hide this reality from God and act like we don’t do this. Instead when we become aware of the idols that creep in, kicking Him off the throne of our heart, we can go to Him and confess.

He loves when His children see their need for Him. In fact, He died for us because we are “prone to wander from the God (we) love.”

We need a Savior!

And when we see that the God of the Universe forgives us time after time, pouring out His unlimited grace, then we will want to worship Him alone. We will see that our idols can not give us what we think they will.  The only thing big enough to refocus our worshipping wandering hearts and fill us with life is to see who He really is!

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3 thoughts on “gods of the outlet mall

  1. I’m so convicted by this! Thanks once again for the amazing illustration. I was reading it thinking “my kids totally do this!” But God is showing me I do this!!

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