Black Friday Anxiety and Me

[Updated from the archives.]


Black Friday holds no attraction for me, no allure, no batting eyelashes drawing me to the stores.

I went to the mall on Black Friday.

A Question Never Before Posed to Me

Late Thanksgiving night my wife asked how early I wanted to get up to go to the mall. This is most definitely not one of our annual conversations, because I’ve never gone to the mall the day after Thanksgiving. This year was different, though. There we were in San Diego visiting family, and our son was able to join us for the holiday for the first time in a few years. He was the one who wanted to hit the stores before they ran out of what he was looking for.

You might be thinking, But why did you need to get up to go with them, Tim?

Good question.

He was staying at his sister’s apartment near her university, about 20 minutes from my in-laws’ house where we were staying. She was leaving very early to spend the day in Disneyland with her young cousin.* That meant she couldn’t bring her brother to us so we needed to go to him. (For those readers with younger kids who look forward to the day when you will not be driving them around any longer, good luck with that.)

We awoke in the dark and drove through ground fog to pick him up. With all the horror stories about how bad Black Friday is, I was surprised to see an empty parking lot. Seriously. We pulled into a parking spot 3 spaces from the front door of the department store.

More like what we saw (The Bay City Times)

More like what we saw
(The Bay City Times)

My wife and son separated to find their stores while I went in search of coffee. I ordered a bagel with cream cheese and a coffee, sat down with my book and iPad, and waited for them to summon me when ready to go. An hour later they did and we left. The parking lot was barely more occupied than when we arrived. Then it was off to the next mall.

Unmet Expectations

Me being anxious (source)

Me being anxious

My expectations of the Black Friday shopping experience went unmet. This type of thing happens to me occasionally. It probably happens to you too.

Getting worked up over nothing is a common pastime. Jesus warns against it:

Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. (Matthew 6:34.)

There are doomsayers galore out there who try to convince me that all is lost. That’s what the reports about Black Friday shopping always say. And I bet there is partial truth to those reports, based on what I see on the news each holiday season. But there is complete truth in what God says:

It is better to take refuge in the Lord
than to trust in humans. (Psalm 118:8.)


Fear of man will prove to be a snare,
but whoever trusts in the Lord is kept safe. (Proverbs 29:25.)

Whether it’s shopping hype put out by retailers eager for customers and news media eager for viewers or it’s predictions of doom and promises of deliverance peddled by the latest huckster, trusting humans and living in fear of worldly events is a fool’s game. God is our refuge, the one who keeps his people safe.

After all:

I trust in God, so why should I be afraid?
What can mere mortals do to me? (Psalm 56:11, NLT.)

Me being not anxious (source)

Me being not anxious

With God, Black Friday is past. He has brought his people into the eternal Sunday of Resurrection life in Christ.

No wonder we can trust him.


*It was our daughter’s birthday the next day and this trip to Disneyland was our gift to her. Why I didn’t insist on going with them is a mystery.


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14 Responses to Black Friday Anxiety and Me

  1. janehinrichs says:

    Great post. Thanks Tim.

  2. betsydecruz says:

    Love this! I live overseas and am glad not to be in any Black Friday shopping messes! But your post made me laugh, and yes, the analogy about getting worked up over nothing and trusting in other humans is a great one.

  3. For some reason, I have never been tempted to shop the shops on Black Friday, even when I still lived in the Los Angeles area. Now the nearest mall is an hour plus drive away. I’m still in my jammies with coffee next to me planning to hit the ski slopes mid-day. Yup, that’s about right. 🙂

  4. Alex says:

    Apparently the UK goes crazy with Black Friday now too: stories of fights and tvs landing on heads. But I’m glad not everywhere is so unhinged.

  5. Pastor Bob says:

    After dinner at the Legion, off to the nearby Walmart. I wish I had the option of sitting things out and waiting. 11 hours after leaving and some sleep, my feet STILL hurt.
    I need your strategy!


  6. Laura Droege says:

    Maybe all the shoppers went on Thursday afternoon, shopped throughout the night, pausing only to recharge with coffee, and were in bed crashing after a caffeine-fueled shopping trip. Many of the stores around here opened on Thursday afternoon and were open all night, doing doorbuster sales, etc. I’ve heard about people planning out their shopping trip based on when the stores opened and what doorbuster they wanted to get, then starting and finishing their Christmas shopping all in that one night! Not for me, thank you.

    Praise God that I don’t have to go to the mall or shop around for the best deal on spiritual security. He’s already handled it, so why should I panic and run around like I might miss the doorbuster sale for tickets to heaven?

    Love the photo of you (or a very furry version of you, at least) without anxiety.

  7. Jeannie says:

    It’s amazing how the Black Friday trend has permeated into Canada now — all our weekend flyers had BF specials. I mean, it is SO rare for American culture to have any effect on Canada that this is worth mentioning. 😉 I actually did make a BF purchase today that I’m really thrilled about (some boots) — but it was in the context of a coffee date in a nearby town with my husband, daughter, and sister-in-law. And that was really the fun part, spending time with people and catching up on each other’s lives. As for the malls, I plan to give them a pretty wide berth until maybe January.

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