Cheap Substitutes

I’m always looking for a deal- something quality at a good price. Unfortunately, this often leads me down the alleyway of cheap substitutes.

  • Those ink cartridges from the website with “cheap” in its name? Yeah, I got eight of them for the price of one of the name brand, but they wouldn’t even print one sheet of paper evenly.
  • Those star wars action figures shipped direct from China half the price of the name brand? Their limbs were falling off the first day.
  • That purse made of pleather? Peeling like a sunburn one year later.

These days, with the way things are going with quality in production anyway, buying quality locally appeals to me more. Especially with things that matter. Things that I want to last.

Cheap Substitutes in Life

Spiritually, we are bombarded by cheap substitutes on a daily basis. Things that don’t last for eternity in the place of things that do. Things that promise us immediate reward verses seeking out and working hard for the things that give lasting reward eternally.

The devil’s cheap substitute for joy is sin. We want real, lasting joy that carries us through hard times. Yet, we settle for fleeting pleasures. Sin circumvents God’s path to lasting joy.

Sin never brings joy that lasts.

Why is that? We are hard-wired for relationship and closeness with our Creator and Savior. Sin separates us from Him, throwing a wrench in our fellowship with Him.

This is the message we have heard from him and proclaim to you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all. If we say we have fellowship with him while we walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin.  1 John 1:5-7

Supernormal Substitutes

Some of these cheap substitutes are even larger than life. For real.

Professor Thad A. Polk, PHD from the University of Michigan calls these “Supernormal” in his Great Courses course The Addictive Brain. Take these three:

  • Junk Food

  • Pornography

  • Videogames

They stimulate the reward circuit of the brain more strongly than their natural counterparts do. What does this mean? It means you become addicted to them. It means the real thing becomes diminished in your experience. You enjoy what is real less and need more and more of its supernormal substitute. This means:

  • The hunting videogame gives you radically more reward in your brain than actual hunting. The next time you find yourself in a tree stand and snag that buck, the reward is less.
  • That picture you secluded yourself to be riveted by does something to your brain that your next encounter with your spouse can’t compete with.
  • That burger and shake chock full of MSG, fake sugars (1000 times sweeter than real sugar), and real sugars sure makes your next meal of real food without all the fillers- well, sub-par.

Any addictive substance or experience can give you fleeting pleasure. It can reset your brain when you are stressed and give you relief. But you have other, more natural, lasting options available that leave you whole. Why not seek those instead?

Don’t Settle

As we blaze through the holidays this year, you may be struggling with un-reconciled guilt. You may be hurting from that loss you’ve not fully grieved. Do yourself and your loved ones a life-long favor. Refuse to:

  • mask it
  • bury it
  • numb it

Instead, get some help to walk through it well. To grieve well. That’s far better than leaving yourself at the mercy of cheap substitutes.

Your Best Life

Sip Life Slowly is designed to help you get more out of life. To help you be more present in it and to enjoy it more. A key to living your best life is to joyfully embrace the things that give you lasting joy and to turn from those things that are cheap counterfeits. You may also like:

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Photo adapted from Photos by Michael Dziedzic on Unsplash and by Heather Zabriskie on Unsplash

Copyright ©  2019 Angela Edmonds. All rights reserved.

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