Addicted To Feeling Better

January 2, 2012 — 29 Comments

Your soul cries out for relief. It does. Constantly. There are seasons of life when it cries out more than others. You may be in one of those seasons now.

How do I know this?

Look around. We live in a hostile environment. It’s as if everything is designed to kill our souls. But to see this, you have to look beneath…beneath all the layers of pretense. Most of what is killing our souls is insidious – it masquerades as “life giving.” It promises that we’ll feel better if we pursue it.

Is your highest pursuit to “feel better?” Take a look at your new year’s resolutions, if you made them. What are they about?

If I go to the gym and lose weight, I’ll feel better about myself.
If I get a new career, I’ll feel better about…
If I make more money, I’ll feel better…
If I find a soulmate, I’ll feel
If I could only…, I’ll

Most of what you’re doing. Most of what I’m doing. Most of what we’re all doing is geared toward releasing tension, finding relief, feeling better. About our lives. About ourselves. About our situations. About our circumstances.

We’re all addicts. And our drug of choice is: ANYTHING. EVERYTHING. WHATEVER will make us FEEL BETTER.

Where are you searching for relief? What are you pursuing to feel better?

Why has Feeling Better become your god?

Do you see it? Do you see how this soul-killer has slithered its way into your Garden, or I should say, your parched desert plot?

It promises life if you’ll only pursue it, do it, find it, eat it, drink it, play it, feel it, risk it, love it, leave it, pretend it, or etcetera it.

You can find it anywhere. On your TV. At your Church. In your home. With your friends. At the bar. In the gym. At work. On vacation. In your dreams. It’s EVERYWHERE.

What is IT?

IT’s the promise that life is found in feeling better. And IT is worshipped by you, by me, by we, by all of us.

IT is everywhere you go. Why?

Because IT is YOU! IT is ME!

IT’s all of us.

WE, that’s you and me, are on a never ending search to feel better. It’s all about ME. It’s all about SELF.

IT is Self-Obsession. IT is our god, and IT is driven by the desire to feel better.

IT will kill you! It will hurtle you into a perpetual cycle of demands, addiction, and emptiness. This cycle is death. It kills the soul. Your self-worship, your self-obsession, your constant pursuit of relief and feeling better, is the fast track to hell.

Your soul is thirsty. Your soul is longing for Something.

Lying before your soul is an altar. You try to bring it gifts, an offering, in hopes that it will bring peace, joy, life. But the altar is not for your soul. The altar is for God.

Your soul was created to come to Him to find peace, joy, life. You bring empty sacrifices to try to appease your aching soul, but it’s crying out for the Author of life. Instead of bringing stuff to your soul (e.g. a better job, a boyfriend, more involvement in church, sex, alcohol, etc.), your soul needs to be brought before Him.

LOOK around you. SEE what’s being offered you. NOTICE how you’re falling for it. How I’m falling for it. How we’re all falling for it!

We’re looking for refreshment in all the wrong places. The old prophet Jeremiah, speaking for God, said it like this:

“My people have committed a compound sin: 
they’ve walked out on me, the fountain
 of fresh flowing waters, and then dug cisterns — cisterns that leak, cisterns that are no better than sieves.”

We’re offering our souls everything but the One thing it needs.

If you’re making resolutions. If you’re resolving to do anything. Resolve to stop the self-obsessed madness of pursuing feeling better about anything. Everything.

Instead of constantly searching for sacrifices to appease your soul’s ache, it’s longing; resolve to take your soul to the Fountain.

It won’t be easy. Our souls will ache until we’re finally Home, with Him, in His presence.

That ache is powerful. It’s good desire gone bad. It’s the source of addiction. Our addiction. Our addiction to relief and feeling better.

Addiction kills. It destroys the soul.

Feeling better isn’t wrong in itself. It’s the addiction to feeling better that kills – when it becomes our chief aim, our highest pursuit, the thing we live for. And we all live for it.

Jump off the train! Break the cycle! Kill the obsessive need to feel better, in whatever form it takes. It only leads to relational, emotional, and spiritual hell.

It’s going to take Courage. Strength. Perseverance. Trust. Hope. Community. And it’s going to take Awareness. Awareness of what’s happening at the altar of your soul. Are you offering empty sacrifices to it – trying to fill the ache, the void, the emptiness with anything and everything but God?

Or is your soul-altar reserved for God? Cleared of the crowded attempts to feel better. Left open for Him to come and meet you there…

If you liked this post, you may like these:

It’s Sad to Hate

Weddings, Marriage, and the Purpose of the Universe

What A Married Person Wishes Single People Knew


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29 responses to Addicted To Feeling Better

  1. 

    Now that’s depressing…

  2. 

    Nice Shon! Thanks for this. Great thoughts and truths.

  3. 

    O crap! I was thinking about losing few extra pounds to feel better.

    Thanks Shon, now I’ll feel guilty for feeling better. Okay, I will not loose weight, infact I’m going to just eat, drink and be merry, and put on some more weight 🙂

  4. 

    SO TRUE! This issue is one I personally struggled with for years, and one I see so many of my friends struggling with. Just the need to obtain fulfillment in externals; whether it be relationships, career success, alcohol and drugs (chemical dependency), materialism, pursuit of financial security…you name it. Like you said, whatever made me “feel better” in my endless, co-dependent, hedonistic pursuit.

    A light came on a few years back after doing a study by Robert S. McGee who wrote the book, “The Search for Significance”. It’s about gaining our SIGNIFICANCE in Christ, and Christ alone; allowing HIM to fulfill us, which you stated in your post. That’s a TOUGH one in this world, which screams that joy, happiness, and significance is in all of those “other” things. (The book is REALLY convicting and illuminating…he gets down deep into the what and the why, so if you ever get a chance to read it – DO!)

    That was good. Thanks. It reminded me that I need to constantly focus on where my true happiness and significance comes from…it comes from the Lord! (I’m still going to try to lose my muffin top, though)

    • 

      I’ve heard of that book. I wonder if we have it on our bookshelf – I’ll have to read it!

      We’re trying to get our butts into the gym too! I think we’ve been doing fairly well since November. I noticed the gym was packed yesterday. It’s kinda funny seeing people on treadmills. It makes me wonder what they’re chasing after. Good health I suppose. But I wonder what’s beneath that. I wonder that for myself.

      • 

        HA! Youth!? That’s what I’m chasing after…that 35 year old bod. I’ll admit it! Pointless! That 35 year old bod runs fast…it ran away a long time ago, but I still keep running after it…LOL

        That’s what Grandma Cathy said this past week to Randy. He told her he wanted his 30 year old body back by his 60th birthday, so he’s going to run on the treadmill. In her wisdom, she dryly (and dead seriously) says, “Well, you’d better run FASTER”. haha!

        • 

          That’s awesome! Grams has that simple quick wit that slaps you upside the head. That is her genius! So let’s see. I was 10 when he was 30, and he was still a cop and still playing lots of sports. So he was in pretty darn good shape. She’s right! He better run faster, and he needs to run non-stop til June! 🙂

      • 

        FYI, I do the treadmill at PF, so if you ever see me there and wonder what I’m chasing after, then yes, I am chasing after good health, but I would be lying if I said I didn’t want to drop a few pounds and fit a little better in my clothes (or smaller clothes…) 😀

  5. 

    Well, thanks a lot Shon! Your post has now completely screwed up my plans for the new year!! 🙂 So one challenge here is that I have been thinking for a long time about finding a new job, for reasons that everyone in our Life Group have been treated to hearing in the last year or so (which I’ll spare the rest of your readers!). I’m also diabetic and have joined a gym because I’m tired of feeling like a fat, lazy slob and my doctor has been on my case to get in shape. So I’ve gotten all geared up to move in these directions and make some changes in (what I thought) was a positive direction. But reading this post is making me question those things (mostly the new job thing…I do need to get my butt in shape for medical reasons, whether I like it or not…). The obvious “Christian” answer to whether or not I should pursue these things is “pray about it.” Makes sense to me, and I definitely agree with it. But I’ve never been one of those people who can hear His voice clearly (maybe I need a “hearing test”…there’s another subject for you to tackle on here: How Good Is Your Spiritual Hearing? Do You Need a Hearing Aid?….tangent…sorry!…). Should I just wait…and wait…and wait for some inkling of an idea of what I think might possibly be God’s voice? How long? Is there a point at which I should just make a decision and just do it and see what happens? In situations like this, I like the saying “you can’t steer a parked car.” It seems to fit my personality…I tend to park my car and wait. And wait. And wait. So how do I know when I should turn that key and burn some rubber? Any thoughts from other folks out there?

    • 

      Hey Missy…we don’t know each other, but I hope you won’t mind a “two cents”, here, since I’m on the Blog and having an exchange going with Shon, too.

      I say it doesn’t hurt to LOOK for a new job. Does it? Go for it! Could be the answer from God you seek will come in the result. (?)

      And, regarding getting yourself in good health, God bless you in that effort, too. I will pray for you about that. A Pastor at a former church we attended used to say, “Sometimes when we ask God to move a mountain, he gives us a shovel!” You GO girl!

      • 

        Hey Marlyse – Thanks for responding to Missy! This is exactly what I hope this blog becomes – a place where people feel free to be real and interact with one another.

        And I like that line by your old pastor. It may just mean that the shovel is for you to start digging yourself out of that pile of manure you’re standing in!

    • 

      Thanks for sharing this stuff Missy. I think I’m in somewhat of a similar situation regarding the job thing. I’ve been praying, looking, and waiting! Nothing’s changing vocationally, and there are days when it drives me crazy. What I’m trying to do is be sensitive to whatever God is trying to do with me in my current circumstances. I know I am where I am for a reason. And instead of frantically searching for something that will make things better, I’m trying to calmly keep my eyes peeled for what God is doing.

      In the meantime, I’m trying to pursue the thing that’s burning in my heart. That thing isn’t paying the bills, but it is keeping me close to what I care about. And it’s helping me feel connected to a purpose that could only be designed by God. So, I’m pushing forward in it, trusting that He knows what’s up.

      So my thought for you is this: What do you really care about? What could you get involved in that helps you feel connected to purpose? Is there something you could invest a few hours a week in? It may not pay the bills, but it may lead you down a path that changes everything for you vocationally. It could be something as simple as volunteering a couple hours a week somewhere. But be careful. Don’t just volunteer to volunteer. Get involved in something that your heart is connected to. Something that really matters to you.

  6. 

    I see you are spreading your heresies pretty well, and rocking the boat. Making us think about what we don’t want to think, consciously or sub-consciously, about. Keep it up.
    I can almost hear Grams making that comment about running faster, and it brought a smile.
    You still ruined “feel better” thing for me though.

    • 

      Well, you can’t see it, but up in my header image it’s supposed to say: “A Community for Heretics.” So I’m happy to be spreading heresies! Keep reading friend, and soon you too could be a heretic! (But we both know you already are!)

  7. 

    Shon – You are right, our blogs tend to mesh together well. This post is great.

    I just wrote a post a week or so ago about self-serving. Check it out if you have time.

    http://abnormalreaction.wordpress.com/2011/12/20/out-reaching-in/

    Take care.

    • 

      I will definitely be checking it out! And for those of you reading this comment, you should check out his blog as well. Just click on his link above.

  8. 

    Great post, Shon!

    A few weeks before Christmas this past year, I read an article about a guy who gave out crisp $100 bills to random individuals in an impoverished US city (I can’t remember the name of it, though. Sorry!). It was a great, admirable act of kindness and generosity that made me all warm and fuzzy inside. But halfway into the article, he was asked why he would do such a thing. His answer? “Because it felt good.”

    His response really struck a chord in me. Do we really give to make ourselves feel good aobut giving rather than genuinely doing it to help others and glorify God? What does it really mean to give selflessly?

    To paraphrase what Missy said, thanks for making us feel like crap, Shon! Hahaha.

    • 

      Very intuitive observation Jingo! Compare that type of giving to Mother Teresa’s kind of giving. She gave til it hurt. Then hurt some more. Then hurt even more! In fact, I highly recommend this book: Mother Teresa: Come Be My Light

      It's a collection of her private writings - and it's powerful! This woman knew how to kick the addiction!

      So yeah, obviously it's good to give, but I think a lot of giving is more about self - and it just feeds our addiction to feeling good. But the answer isn't to give less, but to give more! Give til it hurts! Which, by the way, I suck at!

    • 

      Jingo, this story reminds me of our Dean at Rocky Mountain Bible Institute, one of the few men I really respect and look up to. Him and his wife, will clean and take out trash at a church day care center couple of nights in a week. I bet not a whole lot of people knew this, but I use to live near the day care, so I know they volunteered to do this regularly in heat and cold.
      I guess people who give their time, talent or treasure for the right reasons, don’t care about recognition or an article about them. I haven’t ever done something like this, so I’m not sure how they feel about it.
      I think C.S.Lewis in Screwtape Letters explains pretty well how whatever we say or do could be used to take our focus away from where it should be, until we constantly search our hearts and keep a check on our motives.

      • 

        That’s really cool, especially considering THE DEAN and his team have started over 4000 Bible schools in 35 nations with over 76,000 students in the past 6 years or so! I’m pretty sure they feel good doing what they’re doing, and I’m positive they’re not doing it to feel good!

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