You know how Jesus was tempted in the wilderness? Well, I am currently being tested on page 73 of the new J. Crew catalog. It helps to know that Jesus understands what I am going through.
Just for some background on this story, let me say this: I am not a shoe person. I do not buy shoes. The following is a list of my entire shoe inventory.
- Black Mary Jane heals
- Brown flats that I wear to work
- Black boots that my mother gave me for my birthday
- Gym shoes that I bought at Wal Mart for under $15 in high school
- Tennis shoes that my parents-in-law gave me for Hilton Head Island clay courts
- Champagne heals that I wore to my wedding
- 3 pairs of Old Navy Flip Flops
I have spent approximately $30 on shoes this year, and about $60 on shoes in the five years prior, combined. Shoes simply are not a priority for me. However.
About a year ago I read about driving shoes. Some character in some book put on a pair of driving shoes, which I thought sounded pretty cool. So I looked up driving shoes online, and I fell in shoe love. It was the kind of shoe love that I thought was only possible in fairy tales or for my friend Bethany. Driving shoes are kind of like moccasins, kind of like loafers, and they look so comfortable. I started daydreaming about throwing on my pair of driving shoes, tying a scarf in my hair, and leisurely walking through a bookstore or the supermarket. All of my mundane life seemed much cooler in a pair of driving shoes.
Over this last year, my vision of these shoes has morphed into something very specific, the way years of looking at wedding magazines formed a mental design of a dress that nobody happened to make the year I got married. Tumbled leather or suede (I'm talking about the shoes again, not the wedding dress), gold buckle, minimal detail. Yellow. At first I thought white, which would be more practical. But a deep, mustard, perfect yellow... yes. Yellow.
And so yesterday, as you can imagine, I almost dropped the J. Crew catalog when I flipped open its center page, and there on page 73 was a pair of suede, gold buckled, simply detailed, deep mustard-yellow driving mocs. My name was on it. Literally. The top of the page reads like this:
---OUR NEW ITALIAN
The glossy page seemed to turn suede as I fingered over the image. Behind the yellow shoe was a perfect white driving shoe, which I paused to admire before returning my gaze back to the golden object of my desire. After a few moments of unfettered lust, I reluctantly skimmed the 5 pt. font in the bottom left corner until I found the price.
In the wilderness, Jesus said, "Get behind me, Satan."
On page 73, Joy said, "Well, if I divide that price by the number of times that I'll wear them..."
After about three minutes of mental justifications and false entitlement arguments, I gave up. Now I'm just staring at the page that I've torn out and hung over my desk in a method of self-torture. It's not about whether it's okay to buy nice things for yourself, or whether my friends are right or wrong to buy expensive shoes or lots of shoes. There are plenty of things that I could stop spending my money on. The only thing that this comes down to is the fact that the shoes are too expensive, and that I should not buy them. And that's really the end of that.
After a lifetime of Loreal commercials telling me that "I'm worth it," it's hard to remember that I don't deserve good things. I don't deserve any of the good things in my life, and I don't deserve these shoes; everything that I have and that I buy is a gift. Someday I will probably buy a pair - not because I deserve them, but because I'm at a different season in my budget or find them on sale. For now, page 73 is serving well as a free piece of wall art.
Satan is nipping at my heals, but he's not biting off any yellow suede.