During this global COVID-19 pandemic, many people have turned to a practice called comfort buying. A close sister to retail therapy (and some people have used the terms interchangeably), comfort buying is when consumers buy things solely to bring comfort to themselves in difficult times.
Comfort buying is not always a bad thing. If the purchase is something that will add value to the buyer’s life and will be used frequently, then it makes sense to buy it.
But most of the time, comfort buying happens on an impulse, and only adds to the clutter around us. Decreasing clutter and having enough is what Christian minimalists aim to do. Comfort buying can derail us and get us back in the habit of accumulation.
Comfort Buying Does Not Ease the Pain
But even more than that, when we comfort buy we are doing just that– buying for comfort. We assume that buying this thing will comfort us, fill a void, make us feel better.
The problem is that comfort buying won’t solve our problem. Sure, when we click to order something online we may feel an emotional lift, and then another lift when the thing arrives in the mail. But in just a few days, the lift subsides. And then we find ourselves searching for the next comfort buy, and the next.
This pandemic has brought out many emotions in us including: grief, uncertainty, frustration, cabin-fever, loneliness, and sadness. It makes sense that we are looking for something to help ease the pain.
But comfort buying doesn’t fix our problem, and can, in fact, cause other problems like clutter, addiction, and lack of financial resources. We think it will help, but in the end, it doesn’t.
Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not rely on your own insight. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.Proverbs 3:5-6
It’s important during this pandemic to recognize that our own thought processes and impulses are not always what’s best for us. We are encouraged in Scripture to look to God’s insights rather than our own.
God’s Got This
Even while we struggle, we can take comfort in knowing that God promises to be with us, no matter what. Even when we feel like we are drowning, God is there with a helping hand, ready to pull us out.
Do not fear, for I am with you,Isaiah 41:10
do not be afraid, for I am your God;
I will strengthen you, I will help you,
I will uphold you with my victorious right hand.
We do not have to turn to comfort buying to ease our pain. We know that God is strengthening us, helping us, and holding us up. God’s got this.
In addition to praying and reading Scripture to help become more aware of God’s voice and presence, know that you can always reach out for help when you need it, rather than trying to ease the pain by buying things. God works through loved ones and mental health professionals, too.