My secret is out – I have a problem with Wal-mart. It’s not the stereotypical women love shopping syndrome. My problem is irrational fear. You see, I’m often afraid that when I go into the store, they’ll accuse me of shoplifting because I’m using the stuff that I bought the last time I was there. Please tell me I’m not the only one who experiences this!
If you are laughing now, my husband and oldest son will tell you it’s not that funny. Karl has to wait for me to go through my purse and pockets to make sure I don’t have anything that can be mistaken for something that was obtained with a five finger discount. How bad is it? I once made my son freeze on a cold winter day because I would not let him wear the jacket into the store that we had purchased at Wal-mart a few days before. I mean, come on, more jackets exactly like that one were still on the racks. Unless I could pull out my receipt, I had no proof we had paid for the jacket. My fear caused my son to shiver in the cold that day.
It all goes back to this one fateful day when I was an independent nine years old and ready to take on the world. I was with my grandmother and another relative that drove us (grandma doesn’t drive and you don’t want her to, trust me). We went to a Woolworth’s store that was closing out in our little corner of Oklahoma. I meandered through the cassette tapes, yes I said cassette tapes, and browsed through to see if any of my favorites were worth begging my grandmother to buy it for me.
I was busy being proud of my ability to have favorite music and actually act like I knew something about the artists and albums featured. I was also very proud of my cool lip gloss. My sister and I had each gotten one for Christmas some months before and they were so cool and different from the traditional cylindrical styles. We had the ultra cool tins with a sliding tin lid that revealed lip gloss you got to apply with your finger. Now how cool is that? My world of being a music lover and proud owner of ultra cool lip gloss soon turned into a nightmare as a loud and authoritative voice behind me made me jump when it demanded I return the merchandise.
I turned to face the security guard who insisted that he saw me put a cassette tape in my pocket. Petrified, I didn’t ask to have him escort me to my grandmother and have a witness to what he was demanding, I just did as I was told and emptied my pockets. Of course the only thing that came out was my ultra cool lip gloss of which I assured him was mine for quite some time, even opening the tin lid and showing the obvious indentations in the gloss showing use for some time.
He eventually left me alone with a stern warning after which I promptly went to find my grandmother. After we had checked out and went to the car, I calmed down and told her about what happened. I don’t think I’ve ever seen my grandmother so angry before. She marched back into that store and demanded to speak with someone for terrorizing a minor without parental or guardian consent. Way to go grandma! Let them have it!
So to this day, I still make sure there is nothing that could be mistaken for illegally obtained merchandise because that terrible moment at the store closeout when I was only nine years old is vividly imprinted in my mind.
You see, I never again want to be that little girl, trembling, scared and emptying my pockets with tears in my eyes and fear in my heart.
When you stop and think about it, there are a lot of people like me, but for a different reason. Somewhere in our past, we were told that we did something very bad, which we did and the only way God would forgive us is if we tried really hard to never do it again. So we go through each day of our life, checking our pockets to make sure we haven’t left an opening for temptation. We never again want to be that little girl, that little boy, trembling, ashamed, hiding from God in that garden so long ago.
I’m still known to check my purse and pockets before I go to Wal-mart at times, but I’m learning that there is nothing I can do in order to get on God’s good side and obtain His forgiveness. There’s nothing I can do to show Him how good I can be so He’s not mad at me for sinning again. The Bible says in Romans 5:8, that while we were still messing up and having bad days, Christ died for us. He didn’t wait until we got things in order first. He died for us when we needed it most. He is all I need and I don’t have to stand trembling and fearful before God when I’m covered in the blood of Jesus.