I hate going to the mall. Every time I walk through a mall I feel like I’m having an unspoken dialogue with the mannequins in the store windows.
Mannequin – Hey… You’re jeans are too baggy.
Me – What?
Mannequin – You’re jeans are way too loose and your shirt has the wrong buttons.
Me – What’s wrong with my buttons?
Mannequin – Nothing… if it was 1996. You need pearl buttons, tighter jeans and… well, I’m not even going to mention the hair thing.
Me – My hair? You don’t even have a head. Where do you get off knockin’ my hair?
You get the picture. You’ve probably experienced the same thing (though, perhaps with a healthier and less active imagination). The truth is, this impulse isn’t about clothes at all. It’s about identity. It’s about the distance between who I am now and who I wish I was and the illusion of a short cut. Marketing professionals make major money capitalizing on this very impulse. We walk from store front to store front being constantly bombarded with the same messages…
What you have isn’t good enough.
Who you are isn’t good enough.
If you by this shirt, bag, pair of shoes, fill in the blank – you will be better.
We are so prone to envy that we will covet the lifestyle of a picture in a catalog or a plastic figure in a window. We want to have a carefree lifestyle and a great body, so we buy pre-ripped jeans and a shirt with an obscure logo of a surf shop in California. Even though we don’t surf and have never been to California. We want to be more respected and successful at the office so we buy an absurdly overpriced watch, even though the computer we work on and the phone in our pocket both tell time quite well. And every time, to our surprise, we put on the shirt and find that it’s just a shirt and you are still you…. I guess it’s back to the mall.
No matter what the mannequins tell you, there is no short cut to change and you can’t purchase happiness off of the clearance rack. But, when we shut out the voice of our Creator God, who desires to speak love, value and affirmation into our lives and give us true sense of purpose and identity, than we open the floodgates to a million other voices who will make conditional, empty promises of the same. And we are easily seduced by them.
In summary – Mannequins lie.