I was doing it — again. I’d seen the movie MANY times and now, instead of the things I should have been doing, I was grabbing for the remote. I wasn’t doing it because I was tired, or even just for fun (I’m a huge fan of movies for fun!). I was doing so because I’m addicted to good feelings and was trying to escape the anxious feelings inside of me.
As a friend once told me: movies are your drug of choice. She was right. I can watch a feel-good movie for more hours than I care to admit, hoping the movie will lift my mood, or at least give me a momentary escape. The problem is that the good feelings don’t last because their source isn’t real.
I don’t think I’m alone in this. Movies may not be your “drug of choice,” but do you have a “go to” when you’re feeling down, discouraged, overwhelmed or even mad? Stop and think about this for a minute. What’s your go to:? Is it shopping? eating? endless hours on social media?
I encourage you to name it, expose it.
Having named it, what if I told you that your longing for good feelings is a natural one — an inborn one, given by our Creator one? What if we were made to be addicted to feelings even more “good” than the ones I’m desiring, the ones you’ve sought? What if we’re made for a deep down, soul-satisfying, hole-filling joy, but we’ve just sought it in unhealthy ways?
Look at what Jesus said:
“I have told you this so that My joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete” (John 15:11).
Jesus said we can have complete joy. Do we even know what that would be like? How quickly would we realize that the “good feelings” we’ve longed don’t even compare to what Jesus offers?
The verse above comes during Jesus’ teaching about our need to abide in Him, to remain and dwell continually in His presence. In John 15 Jesus teaches that He’s the Vine, and we’re like a branch that has no real life apart from receiving all things from Him. He speaks of remaining in His soul-satisfying love through the exact way He remained in His Father’s love while on this earth — by obedience to God.
When I take this passage of Scripture and combine it with other passages on how God’s children obtain joy, I see a constant theme. There’s a frequent command we can choose each day to obey:
“Enter His gates with thanksgiving and His courts with praise. Give thanks to Him and praise His name” (Psalm 100:4).
When reading this verse, I picture the Old Testament temple. I see thanksgiving as the gateway to the outer court of God’s presence. It’s a first, but holy step. Praise is the means by which we enter into the Holy of Holies — the most intimate place of God’s presence. It’s a place we would never have entered if Jesus hadn’t come and given His life for us.
What if giving thanksgiving and praise to God is a big part of your road to joy, your path to satisfying the “good feeling” cravings in your soul? What if we let our addiction to good feelings drive us to a life built on thanksgiving and praise to God, the only One who can truly satisfy us?
I think it’s time we start feeding our addiction God’s way: by being obedient to thank and praise God. The result will be exactly as King David found it:
“You have made known to me the path of life; You will fill me with joy in Your presence, with eternal pleasures at Your right hand.”
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