pride, random thoughts, self-absorption, spiritual growth, thankfulness, transformation by truth

How the corner was turned…

For those of you who have known me for any amount of time, you know that I have never loved Wal-mart. It brought the dread of fingernails on a chalkboard for me to venture there–crowds of families of 10 standing in the middle of aisles, small aisles. It’s like people get stupid when they walk in the doors standing in the middle of aisles, staring at product. I much preferred Target’s wide aisles, cool product, and sense of cleanliness.
In the last couple of years, it has become a necessity to be a part of the Wal-mart adventure because of finances. They really are cheaper. There are very few things that they are more expensive on. So, I would gather my strength and go early on Mondays. I did not like it, but I knew it was wise. It became part of my regular routine.
Over the year, I have come to dread it less. In fact, I do not even complain anymore. I, gulp…, kind of like it now. The main reason is not because of the low prices or convenience. The main reason is because of something that God has done in my heart.
There are so many places in my life right now that people make me feel comfortable, look like me, sound like me, speak my language (literally and figuratively). That can get claustrophobic. That can make you pretty selfish. That is not reality.
When I walk into Wal-mart, God says to my heart, “look around, see those hurting, living life in need, wanting to be noticed.” I see people from all different nationalities, all socioeconomic levels, living in all kinds of drama or boredom. I have had opportunities to smile, interact, pray, share with those alone and in need. Not every time have I taken the opportunity to live outside of myself, but when I prepare my heart to be open, God has blessed me with humility and brokenness over the needs of others.
This is gross, but I think I used to think I was above Wal-mart. Then, again, I am reminded of the Gospel. Christ condescended to us–messy, crowded hearts, full of drama and boredom, haters. He walked into our lives and loved us physically, emotionally, spiritually. He reached out to the least of these calling for us to repent and follow Him. There may be no other place in my life where it is more real to carry the message of the Gospel than to my neighborhood Wal-mart. Pretty amazing what God can teach us in the everyday. Pretty amazing that He shows me that I am exactly like everyone else in there–in need and sometimes clueless to my need. When I left Wal-mart last week, I left with a joy in my heart and thankfulness for His mercy. I did not see that one coming!

4 thoughts on “How the corner was turned…”

  1. You’re going to laugh, but I’ve been going to Wal-Mart for about the past month. I’m not quite to your level of comfort with it, but this blog post sure gave me a swift kick in the rear. Thanks!

  2. Jen,

    I was so glad to come across your blog. I think of you often as I know infertility is so difficult. Would love to see you soon!

  3. hey, its actually joy, didn’t realize ben was signed in..i’ve had many similar thoughts about walmart. i have been shopping at ingles since brennan was born, just cutting coupons and stuff to make the prices equal out, but mainly b/c its SO much quicker and with naps and feeding schedules it can be a challenge to do walmart, but i was CERTAINLY convicted as i read this about surrounding myself with comfortablity! Thank you for sharing!!!

  4. Now I know why I shop at Walmart! As always for the glory of God! If only I could do it as well as you. I think I go and, with children in tow, exist so that others could see how much I need Christ as I struggle to contain my composure and trying to break up fights and not hold up the aisles for everyone else. I loved this! Thanks for reminding us all of the multitude of opportunities to witness to a hurting and lost world…even at Walmart! ;-P

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