Day 2

Belongings - Day 2 Consumeritis: Is All This Chasing After Stuff Making You Sick? If shopping malls, dating apps, or fashion brands have taught us anything, it’s that there is alwaysmore available. More sizes, more colors—more anything. But all this “more” is making the world sick. We’ve got a global outbreak of consumeritis. Advertisers teach us that a new product will fill our emptiness. The feeling lasts briefly, but it won’t satisfy us in the long run. As soon as we’ve made the purchase, better products will be made available and our dissatisfaction returns. This dissatisfaction is just one symptom of our spiritual sickness. We’ve been taught to search for fulfillment in the wrong places, rather than finding contentment in the knowledge that we are loved by our Heavenly Father. But it’s not just us who are affected. The rapid pace of consumerism, and the mountains of trash that follow, have a global impact. Billions of products are sold in plastic packaging in poorer countries where waste isn’t collected. People will have no choice but to burn it, discard it in waterways, or live among it. Daiane is 23 years old and lives with her family in Brazil. She says, “It only has to rain and everything floods. A lot of rubbish comes down the river.” The waste coming down the river creates a breeding ground for disease-carrying mosquitoes. Daiane says, “When it floods, everyone gets diarrhea and sickness. This week I had to help my daughter, who was vomiting.” As people called to love our global neighbors and to be good stewards of creation, we have to respond. Since the start of 2019, I’ve been living zero-waste, which means sending almost nothing to landfill. If I am to love my neighbor, care for creation, and worship a God who cares about justice, then reducing my waste felt like a logical step. Maybe you’re not going to go zero-waste just yet, but here are some you can resist consumeritis and live a full and content life: 1. Reconnect to who God says you are. You are made in God’s image, so you don’t have to pursue things to be loved, known, and accepted. Your stuff doesn’t define your worth. 2. Reconnect to your stuff. Don’t just see the stuff you buy as a product. Try considering the people and processes it went through to get to you. You may find it affects the way you buy. 3. There is no such place as “away.” When we throw things away, we stop thinking about them as if they’ve disappeared. But your trash will remain long after you’ve forgotten about it. 4. Set limits. Choose not to be defined by what the world says is the next best thing you should do or buy. For example, consider limiting yourself to a minimal wardrobe and committing to clearing space before buying more. —Jack


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