Quite possibly you’re sitting there wondering “What in the world IS Affluenza?” I did too when I first heard of it! INfluenza I knew all too well! But I had only just heard of Affluenza, a term mainly used by critics of consumerism. Here’s how it’s described in the book, Affluenza: The All-consuming Epidemic.
Affluenza: a painful, contagious, socially transmitted condition of overload, debt, anxiety, and waste resulting from the dogged pursuit of more.Affluenza:
The All-consuming Epidemic
Symptoms of Affluenza
Affluenza is brought on when consumerism encourages the acquisition of goods and services in ever-increasing amounts. Throwing things out instead of fixing them. Or buying even when we don’t need anything.
Some telltale symptoms are: an addiction to shopping, a need to accumulate more and more, and a feeling that you’re never able to keep up with it all.
The illusive dream of Affluenza is a dismantler of peace, joy, and satisfaction. While also creating a false sense of security. It seeks to convince us that a certain level of affluence will automatically ensure our well-being, satisfaction, and happiness.
Affluenza and stewardship
But Affluenza is, above all, bad stewardship. Everything we possess comes from God, and he expects us to use it well and wisely. He wants us to make every penny count. To give more and do more both for others and for his kingdom.
And likely most of us would like to DO more than we do, GIVE more than we give. But how? It often seems we barely have enough as it is. Both of time and finance.
Could it be that Affluenza gets in our way? Are we concentrating too much on living the dream and the dogged pursuit of more? And letting it eat away at our time, finance, and focus?
Affluenza tries to convince us that we don’t have enough, even when we have way too much! It pushes us to endlessly chase after more, in an illusive and fading dream of wealth and happiness. A dream that ends up eating into our time, finance, and focus.
Not that having dreams is bad. Wanting a good and decent life for ourselves and our families is normal, and an important part of family responsibility. But part of family responsibility is to also teach our kids the excellence of contentment, gratitude, serenity, and purpose.
By choosing a life of intentional simplicity, we can escape the Affluenza plague. Try these simple steps to keep yourself from being a victim!
3 antidotes that combat Affluenza
1. Develop an attitude of gratitude.
- Let’s stop comparing ourselves and what we have (or don’t have) with others.
- Count (literally) our blessings, our achievements, our progress.
- Become consciously grateful for what we do have and what the Lord has helped us accomplish.
2. Cultivate a heart of contentment.
- Don’t shop just to shop.
- Learn to be satisfied with what God has given.
- Learn to live with less and to find contentment in that freedom.
- Remember that we can’t (and shouldn’t) have everything. Where would we put it anyway?
3. Nurture a generous spirit.
- Remember that giving is so much better than getting, getting, getting.
- It is more blessed to give than to receive.
- We can’t keep things forever anyway.
- God loves the cheerful giver.
We can have too much stuff, but we can never give too much. And we can never have enough gratitude, contentment, generosity, love, joy, peace, and other true riches!
And now watch the following Affluenza documentary. It’s a bit dated, and while I don’t agree with it totally, it still offers some great food for thought. And can help us keep the following Scripture in mind.