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Christian Counseling - The Relationship Between Trappings and Treadmills

I grew up hearing the idiom, "Keeping up with the Joneses." It refers to people who keep in line with their neighbor's standard of living--he buys a new car, I buy a new car. I was wondering if this phrase was created by ad men hired by bankers or credit card companies to promote borrowing. It turns out its origin is likely connected to the long-running, early 1900's, newspaper cartoon by the same title.

Anyway, those purchased items are the trappings (the outward signs) of success or they may be superfical trappings in that they are rented or owned by financial lending companies. In the latter case, the shallow trappings require a person to work hard and perhaps take a second job to keep them and the socio-economic image they create.

The time and energy devoted to buying and maintaining the trappings can easily lead a person to feel he or she is living on a treadmill (a situation that is boring, tiring or unpleasant and from which it is hard to escape). Day in and day out and year after year, a person gets up, goes to work, returns home, eats, does chores, rests a little and goes to bed. Treadmills are mind-numbing and render life joyless and unexciting.

If you are unhappy in your job, marriage, church, etc. consider the idea that it may be the result of maintaining trappings. A person may intensely dislike his job, but the prestige or big bucks may be too hard to give up. A couple presents themselves as a loving and adoring twosome, but do not live it when they are home alone. Finally, a woman may not be spiritually growing in her church, but fears what others would think if she left?

We are all image bearers of one kind or another. What kind of image bearer are you? Do you primarily model being content with what you have or is it more important to be seen as attaining socio-economic success, and at what cost?

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