Feeling Good

You’re addicted to thrills? What an empty life! The pursuit of pleasure is never satisfied.

Proverbs 21:17 (The Message)

Early in the days of laboratory exploration of the brain, there was an experiment with rats. The experimenters hooked up these rats with electrodes that were connected to a machine that would give a very mild stimulation to the area of the brain we call the “pleasure center”. When the rats pressed a lever, they were given a mild brain stimulation which resulted in an experience of pleasure. The rats would press this lever endlessly, foregoing food for the stimulation. Later, in other experiments, intravenous cocaine was offered at the same time as food was presented, again based on pressing the lever, and the rats consistently pressed for the shot of cocaine over eating the food.  

The point here is that anything that produces immediate pleasure is addictive. Think of those potato chips, or those Hershey Kisses, or maybe those peanut M&Ms. You name your addiction (I just named mine with those peanut M&Ms). If it gives immediate results, that is, makes you feel good right away, it has the potential to be addictive.

That is the thing with those immediate “feel goods”. We end up paying a heavy price if we are not aware of the potential that lies therein. Food, sex, gambling, alcohol, drugs, etc. make us feel good right away, as soon as we “use”. The key is awareness of what we are actually doing. Denial says that “I can handle it”, or “just one more time”, “I’m not like them”, or whatever particular line works for you.

Again, moderation in things that give us pleasure is important. God gives us good gifts, receptive senses, and a host of things that are available to give us pleasure. Our job is to be aware of what we are doing, and honestly look at our behaviors over time. That is one of the truths that set us free- literally.

Prayer: Thank you Lord for good gifts you provide for us. Help us see them as gifts and use them wisely, Amen.

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