I was on the hunt for business clothes for my new job, and Trent was looking for outerwear for his upcoming ski trip.
I'm a fan of Banana Republic's Clearance section, although I rarely hit a good enough sale to afford anything.
But this was my day!
Final sale prices plus an additional 25% off. Shirts normally $75 (craziness) rang up around $12 after discounts.
I spent an hour and a half there, searching for high quality pants and shirts at Walmart prices.
I admit, I'm pretty good at window shopping. I can try on a hundred things and talk myself out of buying 98 of them.
Not so much on this day. "This is a once a year sale." I say to myself, "It would be worth it in the long run to spend a little more."
Trent didn't find any of the ski gear he was looking for, and eventually wondered into Banana Republic, waiting outside the fitting room for me to make some decisions. He was wide eyed at the amount of clothing I needed to try on. He's used to it. Poor guy. Bored to death.
I had slimmed my selection down to about 5 shirts and 2 skirts. Way more than I would normally buy at one time. I felt guilty to spend money since I've been home the past month, in between jobs, my contributions to our bank account slim to none.
I guess in an attempt to make myself feel less guilty about it, I asked Trent if this was in "our budget".
Deep down I knew -in a fairly unplanned period of unemployment, our "budget" is as simple as this: Spend less.
Trent put a ski trip on hold with some of his friends until I had a job offer. Thankful I got one. I wanted him to go on that ski trip so bad. I would feel so guilty to make him miss out on fun because of the lack of my contributions to our income.
Trent pulled up our checking account on his phone. "Well, I think it will be ok. Hard to say. I can always just spend less on my trip..."
As ridiculous as it sounds, his response made me so angry. I would hate for him to have to spend less on his vacation with friends because of MY spending. Why would he even suggest that? In my mind, it felt like a threat. Like he was saying "You spend this, I can't do this."
Me- "Nope. Not buying anything."
I stormed back to the fitting room, hanging all the clothes on the return rack.
Me- "Let's go."
I was frustrated.
Trent said "Well wait, I want you to be able to buy those."
Me- "I don't want them anymore."
Trent- "Well you just spent a lot of time here and I know they are good deals that you may not find again. Let's talk about it."
Me- "I don't want to talk about it. I don't want them."
Looking back, I see a peek of my old ways. My refusal to talk. My selfishness to control when we get to work things out.
Trent is level headed and patient. A real life example to me.
Trent- "Please, can we talk?"
We spent the next 15 minutes, in the middle of Banana Republic, hashing it out.
It was extremely obvious we were fighting. Trent didn't care. He cared that we resolved this.
But I cared. It was embarrassing.
We continued to discuss and talk. I wanted to prove my point. I wanted him to know that I am a wise spender. I stick to budgets. I work hard. I found a good deal. I need business clothes.
I. I. I. I. I.
It was in BITTERNESS that I bought 3 things.
Ungrateful. Irritated that Trent didn't say "Buy them all!" Even if I knew, secretly, it wasn't a wise decision.
I needed someone to blame. "It's your fault I couldn't get what I wanted." It was not until our drive home, listening to All Son and Daughters' "All the Poor and Powerless" that God revealed to me the true error of my ways.
I didn't want to face the reality that my spending effects someone else.
Trent's offer to spend less on his trip was a gesture of love. Somewhere in my twisted words, I manipulated him into actually saying the words "Please. Buy the clothes."
It was the goal of my unconscious all along. For him to ASK me to buy them and for me to be able to make the decision myself. Buy or not buy.
I looked at the Banana Republic bag sitting in the back of our car. Why did it mean so much to me to purchase these? That I was willing to have an entire argument with the man I love and respect the most, IN THE MIDDLE OF BANANA REPUBLIC, to actually NOT buy them? Or to buy them in bitterness?
I have a mental image of Jesus holding tight to my hand, as I fight to go the other direction, reaching for a Banana Republic bag.
Like a child in a grocery store, throwing a fit over a candy bar at the checkout.
It makes me just want to burn those new clothes. They were not worth it. Not worth the discussion as to "who is right." Not worth the disrespect I showed towards my husband, IN PUBLIC.
I am the screaming child in the grocery store.
These realizations about myself prove my need for Jesus. Jesus is the good in me. Absolutely all of it.
I stop and think...How do I prevent this from happening again? How do I include Jesus before it's too late -before I've stormed away in bitterness for the candy I couldn't have? Before I choose manipulation. A fight. A winning argument.
I know exactly how to fix it. I ask Jesus to fix it. I ask Him to come into my heart and CHANGE ME. He is able. Capable of changing the most messed up, manipulating people.
I have learned recently more than ever before that change comes FROM THE HEART. Actions are only a bi-product of the condition inside.
I know this because I have experienced it. I've tried fixing myself. A clay pot can't fix itself. Only the POTTER, the One who created the pot can fix her. I am proof of this.
My Banana Republic bag symbolizes control. My need to control our finances, our arguments and Trent's words.
I am not ashamed to share this because I know who I am. I know what ugliness I'm capable of. And I know a God who heals it.
What is your "Banana Republic bag"?
What is worth fighting long and hard for you to get -bulldozing anyone in your way while staying unaware of God's presence in your life?