Shopping no substitute for peace of prayer

By Shayna Brouker • Published: November 19th, 2010
Category: Health in a Heartbeat

It’s Sunday morning. You roll out of bed to get ready for church, shuffle to the closet and stare blankly at your wardrobe. You rummage through some shirts but nothing seems to work.

Suddenly you remember that special holiday sale at your favorite store and your will to worship wanes.

Visions of cashmere sweaters on clearance dance in your head. Picking out a brand-new outfit… for church, of course… now seems much more appealing than sitting in the service.

So instead of heading to the pews, you hit the mall in search of some holiday steals and deals. But according to researchers from DePaul University in Chicago and Ben-Gurion University of the Negev in Israel, shopping won’t replace the joy of joining others in prayer.

The study found that women living in states where “blue laws” were repealed attend church less often… and also feel less cheerful. The repeal of these commandments requiring stores to stay closed on Sunday is tied to decreased contentment, suggesting a link between religion and happiness.

Some of the women in Sabbath-spurning states might work on their day of rest, surely a factor in feeling forlorn. Another outcome was that teenaged mall rats took part in more risky behavior. This effect could also contribute to their mothers’ melancholy.

Whatever the reason for the decline in delight, there’s no question that the lure of immediate gratification… either a football game on T-V or a sale at the mall… can be irresistible. Addictive activities tempt men and women alike, regardless of whether they attend Sunday service.

The findings support the proverb “Money can’t buy happiness”… or that retail therapy can’t replace the fellowship of friends and family.