Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Happy (Belated) Thanksgiving

I'm prone to little bouts of depression. I get a feeling of emptiness, inadequacy, purposelessness, and my general way of dealing with these bouts is to try to achieve or accomplish so much that I can't help but feel good about myself. It doesn't work.

I was at the gym the other day. I was there because I wanted to do so much that I'd eventually have to feel good about myself. While running I had a mental dialogue with myself that lead me to a frightening conclusion.

I asked, “Why am I running”

“To release Dopamine, I responded. “I feel bad. If I can release enough Dopamine I'll feel better.”

“Won't you need more dopamine to feel good latter then, won't you have to do more? Can't you build up a tolerance?”


“SO it's hopeless; the more I do to feel good, the the more I must do to feel good.”

My conclusion is unfortunately true. Unless I make a practice of appreciating things and intentionally enjoying them, I can expect to find little satisfaction in what I do, no matter what I do.

God has designed humans with an innate desire for pleasure and, I believe, an innate incapability to obtain pleasure when we seek it for it's own sake. Happiness springs and grows out of one's ability to appreciate life in every breath, mindfully rejoicing over blessings and trials. Scripture says to give thanks in all circumstances (1 Thessalonians 5:18), so it should not surprise us that this practice of thanking God, leads to more happiness than any circumstance ever could.

Take a moment now to consider and take joy in the sound of your keyboard, the feel of the chair beneath you, the breath in your nostrils, and the words on your screen. Praise God no matter what condition you find yourself in, because it is your praise and not your condition that is instrumental to your happiness.

Happy Thanksgiving, brothers and sisters.

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