The Identity Mall
There is a mall that I go to often. My daughter does not even know what a mall is, so I should explain for any of my younger readers that it is a place people used to go to to buy things. The mall I unintentionally go to is unique, and it is called the Identity Mall.
The Identity Mall is open 24/7, and shopping there is especially inviting when you are feeling low. It is a place where everything is on sale, yet everything ends up costing more than the price you pay. Still, its shops are so enticing that I am often tempted to shop.
The Success Shop
There is the success shop. It promises that success will help me feel secure and satisfied. It is a place where all my dreams will come true! If I am honest, I have often been tempted to blow all my savings here. “If only,” I think.
The Approval Shop
Sometimes, however, I shop at the approval shop. It can be awkward with its floor-to-ceiling mirrors. However, I can get past this as people are inside the store cheering me on no matter what I do. They don’t even care if what I am doing is healthy. And their cheering certainly feels good to me. But the only way to keep it going is to keep shopping there.
The Pleasure Shop
This gets tiring after a while, so I head to the pleasure shop. The seats inside this shop are the most comfortable seats I have ever sat in! To top it off, the people inside the store serve the best wine, and give me a catalog outlining potential golf trips I could take, or new cars I could buy. The possibilities for pleasure are immense. But I often start feeling guilty about all of it, so I move on to the next shop.
The Family Shop
Around the food court and playground is the biggest shop yet, the family shop. Finally, one that feels just about right. To my surprise, my three kids are already inside this shop. There is nothing to buy here, however, only the kids. The kids become the product, as it is up to them to make my identity feel good. My goodness, one of them is running to the success store to buy something. The other just sprinted to the approval store. I am getting out of here before the third runs somewhere else.
But where do I go now?
The Past and the Future
At the end of the hall, there is even a bigger store simply called “the past.” It looks like an old movie theater. Actually, it has all the good smells from 1980-something — buttered popcorn, candy, and sugary soda or pop (not deciding that argument here). And the previews show the highlight reel from my golf “career.” It is kind of awkward that it is showing that. It must say something about me?
Next door is the same setup, but it’s called “the future.” No one is going inside this theater, however. People are just pacing and talking to themselves. The future seems to make everyone nervous. I think I have had enough of this place.
This place always costs more than it is worth.
Where Are You Shopping?
Welcome back to reality. The Identity Mall may not be a real place, but it is certainly a place I have been before. Of course, it always happens subconsciously. I share the above to simply ask this question:
Where are you shopping for your identity?
Spend time reflecting on this question this week.
While I cannot answer for you, I find the most peace when I return to my faith in Jesus. You can judge for yourself, but for me, it takes looking to him and understanding the price for which I was bought, to free me to be free.