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  • Writer's pictureJohn Whitehead

Consumed with Consumption

Until recently I have never given much thought to the idea of being a consumer. Yet, I have suddenly come to realize being a consumer is what drives us as we pursue life.

This led me to consider this may not be how we were designed to live.

In fact, I believe prior to the industrial revolution, the average person was not “consumed with consumption” at all. This is true because most people lived in rural areas where they farmed.

Essentially, they worked to live and lived to work.

The introduction of consumerism drew people from these rural areas and into the city where they could earn money to do what? To consume. You may be thinking, they went to the city to make a better life for themselves and their families. Perhaps this was the initial reason, but we do not have to look hard to see that shifted from making a better life to having more and more.

People became “consumed with consumption” and this still holds true today. It is true in my life and most likely it is true in yours.

The problem is in the pursuit of a better life for us and our families, we have forgotten that living a good life is not predicated on what we have. It is predicated on realizing we get to share our lives with the people you love.

I am not suggesting there is anything wrong with pursuing a better life. However, what I am suggesting is being “consumed with consumption” does not necessarily make our lives better.

The desire for more can be insatiable and the frustration resulting when we are unable to attain all we desire can be devastating.

So, what can we do about our desire to consume? I believe we must constantly be aware that everything around us has been designed to feed this desire. We need to understand we are constantly the target of marketing. This occurs in every type of media we are exposed to and is designed to promote consumption.

When we realize this, we will begin to see our desires are not our own. Rather, they are the results of an insidious attempt to feed our need to consume.

I know in my life, I have more than I need and yet I still want more. I do believe I am not alone. I also realize, this is not how I should be. Because of that, I am trying to break away from the need for more by focusing on the blessings I have.

Finally, I submit, regardless of our socio-economic position in life, our being “consumed with consumption” will never change until we realize life is not about having more.

Life is about the people we get to share it with and no matter the level we achieve in this world, our need to consume will never be satisfied.

Just understanding this simple truth makes my need for consumption seem like a waste of time. From here I hope to change my paradigm from being “consumed with consumption” to being “comforted by contentment”.

Interestingly, comfort and contentment are not about what I have. They are a by-product of knowing who and whose I am!

Philippians 4:12-13, “I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all this through him who gives me strength.

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