I love shiny things! I love new shoes and outfits, jewelry, crystal, oiled wood, polished stone, and sunshine glittering off the lake. I jokingly tell my husband, diamonds may not be this girl’s best friend, but sapphires, emeralds, and amethysts are some of her favorite companions.
Ladies, I know I’m not alone here. And, Gentlemen, I know women aren’t the only ones under the spell of The Shiny. I have seen many men suffer from whiplash because of a beautiful car or motorcycle zooming past; or witnessed them drooling over electronics, hunting or fishing gear; or watched their knees go weak at a new tool or boat.
What is it about shiny things that grab our attention? Why are we attracted to their luster? Why do we crave to own things that sparkle?
My theory is, we love new things. If we didn’t, impulse buying wouldn’t be such an epidemic.
Have you ever noticed the thill at getting something new? It doesn’t matter if it was a new outfit, house, or a puppy. It also doesn’t matter if it was a gift or something we bought for ourselves. The flood of pleasure that fills us is real and palatable. Exciting!
This thrill comes from the release of dopamine in our brain. Dopamine is a neurotransmitter that sends the feel-good feeling connected to reward-motivated behavior, like getting something new.
Please understand I’m not against getting new things, but there was a time in my life I had an addiction to The Shiny that was destroying my family and me. There was a time I was dependant on the dopamine release from getting something new and shiny.
When I was living in the pit of depression, my drug of choice was compulsive spending. Others may choose different means to get their dopamine fix such as substance abuse, sexual addictions, gambling, food, etc.–but not me, I craved things that glistened. I was obsessed with the feel-good feeling connected with getting something new. And even if the object still gleamed in the light, its luster would fade in my eyes as the dopamine dissipated, and I would be off looking for the next hit. Why? Because when I had the dopamine in my system, I didn’t have the face the things tearing me apart inside.
But then I learned there was a better way.
I found The True Shiny. The One that doesn’t fade. The One who keeps a constant stream of dopamine in my system as long as I am following Him, studying His Word, and engaging in prayer. The One who fills me with a better feel-good feeling than I could hope or imagine when I participate in worship, lean into solid teaching, and submit to His leading in my life.
“…anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun!” 2 Corinthians 5:17.
I had grown up in the church and believed in Jesus. I went on the retreats and participated in the mission trips. But I hadn’t realized I’d neglected to BELIEVE Him or follow Him. Nor had I allowed Him to make me new. And If I wasn’t new, the old was still present.
“And so, dear brothers and sisters, I plead with you to give your bodies to God because of all he has done for you. Let them be a living and holy sacrifice—the kind he will find acceptable. This is truly the way to worship him. Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.” Romans 12:1-2
I had to allow God to transform me into a new person! In other words, I needed to ask Him to by offering my body and mind to Him as living and holy sacrifices! And once I did, He not only make me new, but He changed the way I think. Beloved, I can’t tell you what hope and joy flooded my heart because of this. I wasn’t required to engage in destructive behavior to release the dopamine in my body anymore. There was a better way!
“And it is impossible to please God without faith. Anyone who wants to come to him must believe that God exists and that he rewards those who sincerely seek him.” Hebrews 11:6
Believing God. Not just believing in Him, but believing Him. Coming to Him, putting my faith in Him, and seeking Him earnestly—that’s where I would find my reward. My joy. My purpose. When I learned this, Luke 12:34 made much more sense:
“Wherever your treasure is, there the desires of your heart will also be.”
I had been building my treasure here on earth, and I was never satisfied. But when I started building my treasure in Heaven, I have been more fulfilled than I ever thought possible.
“Work willingly at whatever you do, as though you were working for the Lord rather than for people. Remember that the Lord will give you an inheritance as your reward, and that the Master you are serving is Christ.” Colossians 3:23-24
Now I realize The Shiny I was pursuing faded because it was a poor imitation True Shiny I was seeking–the light of Jesus Christ, shining in and through me. I bought those glimmering objects because I was settling for something instead pursuing Someone. And beloved His radiance doesn’t dim or get dull. Talk about shiny!
“Jesus spoke to the people once more and said,“I am the light of the world. If you follow me, you won’t have to walk in darkness, because you will have the light that leads to life.”” John 8:12
““You are the light of the world—like a city on a hilltop that cannot be hidden. No one lights a lamp and then puts it under a basket. Instead, a lamp is placed on a stand, where it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your good deeds shine out for all to see, so that everyone will praise your heavenly Father.” Matthew 5:14-16
“For God, who said, “Let there be light in the darkness,” has made this light shine in our hearts so we could know the glory of God that is seen in the face of Jesus Christ.” 2 Corinthians 4:6
“Trust in the LORD and do good.
Then you will live safely in the land and prosper. Take delight in the LORD,
and he will give you your heart’s desires. Commit everything you do to the LORD.
Trust him, and he will help you. He will make your innocence radiate like the dawn,
and the justice of your cause will shine like the noonday sun.” Psalms 37:3-6