Thursday, November 27, 2014

Preparing for "Black Friday"

Many of us know the day after Thanksgiving Day as "Black Friday".  Although "Black Friday" can have many meanings, (Read about it here) most of us know it to be a day of much shopping and great sales.  Most of the time I choose to do my shopping online, however, in years past I have joined the masses in waiting in long lines looking for that special deal. 

Today, I just want to share my heart on Black Friday.  Those of you that know me well, know I am the first one that likes a bargain!  I shop on clearance racks, at Goodwill, and garage sales 95% of the time.  However, often these special holiday sales can spur on impulse buying.  You walk into a store, hear the Christmas music blaring over the speakers, see the crowds loading their baskets, and next thing you know, you are caught up in the frenzy.  However, later, as you are unloading bags from your car, you get a sinking feeling.  Maybe you overspent your budget or maybe you bought things that now you are thinking you could of done without.  I have experienced that feeling and it's like a dark cloud that covers any fun you might of had shopping.  I want to give you some advice that I have learned over the years. 

First, I want to encourage us all to prepare mentally, emotionally , physically and spiritually before this big shopping day.  To prepare mentally, spend some time actually making a list of what you need to purchase.  Then, balance your checkbook and decide on a spending budget.  If you decide your budget is $100, then I recommend taking that in cash.  When the cash is gone, it's time to go home.  Our credit/debit cards are very convenient, however, most of the time they are TOO convenient, and later when we balance our money we have a big headache.  To prepare emotionally and physically, make sure you are very well rested before you go shopping.  Many of us lose a lot of sleep as we prepare the days before and during Thanksgiving.  Being tired can leave us vulnerable and subject to letting our "feelings" dictate us as we shop.  We might know we shouldn't spend an extra $50, however, the mood created by these big sales sweeps over us and we feel we can't let that deal pass us by.  So, take that nap on Thanksgiving Day or plan ahead to go to bed early.  Another note on the physical/emotional aspect, make sure to pack water and some kind of healthy snack in your purse or car.  There is nothing like being tired and hungry and standing in a long line of grumpy shoppers!  And last, but certainly not least, prepare spiritually!  Spend quiet time with God before you tackle these sales.  That idea might sound silly to some of you,  however, I have found that if I have peace in my heart my day goes so much better.  As I spend time with the Lord seeking HIS will for my day,  I have a better frame of mind and attitude.   I often come to him nervous, scattered-brained, and anxious.  However, as I began thanking Him for all my blessings, asking His direction and guidance regarding my spending, and seeking His overall will for my life, His peace rushes in.  Often, HE will lead me to my very best bargains.  He keeps my mind on the most important thing; loving Him and loving others.  When I seek Him first, then someone can cut in line ahead of me and take the last crème brulee candle and I will still be peaceful.

I hope everyone has a safe and enjoyable day shopping; just let keep your eyes on what's really important.  Isaiah 26:3 says: You will keep in PERFECT peace all who TRUST in You, and all whose thoughts are FIXED on you!    Blessings!