Are You Addicted to Happiness?

This came from a dream I had in August 2010. However, I do not remember much except when speaking to someone who was very discontent I made a statement to them which stayed with me. Thoughts and meditations which came from that statement are what follow.

Have you ever heard it said?

“Too much of a good thing can quickly become a very bad thing.”

I have, often. Although I had not given it much thought before this except to acknowledge its truthfulness. But just think with me of Christmas or Thanksgiving dinners. Oh it was indeed such a good thing. All that turkey and stuffing, the green bean casserole, sweet potatoes, gravy, salads, perogies, cabbage rolls and let’s not forget the desserts! But if one just ate and ate, as so many of us tend to do, what soon becomes evident is; too much of a good thing has indeed become a very bad thing.

Or… think of playing in the sun at the beach or at a family picnic or shopping with an uncontrolled credit card. What started out as happiness can soon turn into horrible misery.

The dictionary meaning of “addicted” gives a very sobering look at this particular word. Addicted is an adjective portraying someone who is devoted or given up to a practice or habit. Addictions cause one to become physiologically or psychologically dependent on an addictive substance, such as alcohol or a narcotic or even hobbies, people, or enjoyable things. Addictions cause one to habituate or abandon oneself to something compulsively or obsessively. (Merriam-Webster's Medical Dictionary © 2007 Merriam-Webster, Inc.)

Some of the synonyms of the word addicted are: absorbed, accustomed, attached, dependent, devoted, disposed, fanatic, fond, given over to, given to, habituated, hooked, hyped, imbued, inclined, obsessed, predisposed, prone to, spaced out, strung out, under the influence, used to, wedded to. These synonyms give a more complete picture of what an addiction can be to a person.

Addicted means being dependent on something, compulsive.

Customary means being in accordance with convention or custom.

Usual means what is commonly or normally encountered, experienced, or observed.

Habitual means what is made a norm or custom or habit or fixed practice.

We need to be careful to recognize the difference between these very separate actions.

The definition presented here of addiction is a sober reading. One, which I believe, must be taken seriously. One which when closely examined comes closer to home than we would ever dare to admit. I have heard it said by a counsellor from a teen addictions camp that although many of us are not addicted to a specific substance, we are indeed addicted to self.

Therefore I decided to look into what the Bible says about addiction? The Greek word is δουλόω and is used only eight times in the New Testament: Romans 7: 13; Acts 7:6; Romans 6:18; 1 Corinthians 7:15; 1Corinthians 9:19; Galatians 4:3; Titus 2:3; 2Peter 2:19

The word addicted in the Greek is the masculine noun, δουλόω; (transliteration douloō ) which has at its base δοῦλος from the Strong’s Greek Dictionary (G1401). This strong word means first to make a slave of, reduce to bondage. Second it is also used as a metaphor: to give myself wholly to someone's needs and service, make myself a bondman to that person; whether that person is myself or another or a substance or habit. The writers of the New Testament show that this is definitely not a word that should ever be used casually.

 

When someone is addicted to happiness, or to the high of happiness, there is no room for the “normal,” for the regular. There is a deep need to always “feel” the emotion of happiness; the state that we are okay and that “happy” is evident. This expectation can invade our marriages, our home life, school life, work. Too often we are under the false impression that our “life” should be filled with only good things and if sadness or hardship or struggle comes our way it is considered bad and to be gotten rid of. Because of this we have taken away from the meaning and value of commitment. Nobody wants to stay committed to something that is not making them “happy.”

 Even in Church life someone is in this state may find themselves going from revival to revival or conference to conference. There is name for this type of personality called “conference junkies.” They come for the conference high which would only last them a certain period of time and brings them a sense of happiness but when that dissipates they quickly search out another conference. The revival high is craved and sought after–desperately needed. It is that excitement of being born again, again. People look for a feeling - Happiness, which is as intangible as fog, unreliable fog which quickly burns off when the heat of the sun hits it, or in this sense, the daily very often mundane grind of living.

Trusting joy, maturity, grows in the valleys, in the ‘normal’ or ‘regular’ living. Exciting revelation truly may be received in the ‘revival’ or at a conference but that is just the seed. The maturity of that seed comes in the normal daily exercise of growing. And seed needs grey, rainy days as well as warm sunny days. If a person never allows themselves to experience and walk the valleys with Jesus, where does trusting joy and faith grow? Where does maturity take place?

When there is an addiction to happiness there is a compulsive dependence on being “happy” all the time. There is no room for sadness, or hard living. In this state there is no strength to commit through sickness or health; richer or poor; good times or bad? And by the current statistics for divorce, Christian or otherwise, it sadly shows we are a culture of happiness addicted people. And again it is not just seen in marriages, but relationships in general; be they friendships or work related encounters. If “you” don’t make me “happy” I will go look for someone or something else as my happiness is the all important thing.

There is a difference between searching for personal “happiness ” and searching for the godly happiness , the “joy” of the Lord. Happiness is temporal and joy is eternal. Happiness is earthly, joy is heavenly. Happiness is dependent on circumstances whereas the godly happiness, joy is dependent only on the presence of God.

It takes humility to live in the joy of the Lord…deliberately choosing to be dependent on God. It takes trusting humility to walk through the hard times, the growth time. Joy is dependent on an eternal God while happiness is dependent on temporal circumstance, people, &/or events which surround me. Happiness is a high while joy brings a deep peace of heart.

Addiction to happiness causes a person to search out for comfort foods or activities. For some people they search out excitement whether in the form of regular or extreme sports. Others, accomplishing something spectacular is what they search for; causing work-aholicism or hobby-aholics. Someone addicted to happiness will search this emotion out at all risks and costs.

This discussion should stir yet another question; why are we addicted to things? Often, not always, it is to quiet the shame that assaults us. Our addiction to “happiness” is a shame appeaser. We “feel” shameful so we attempt to drown it out with happiness. Because after all isn’t that what the great American dream is all about, being happy. Simply stated addictions of any kind are based on utter personal selfishness. We end up looking after our own personal happiness, not like the feeling of shame and/or guilt therefore wanting to remove the awareness of it. An addicted desire for happiness can lead to rebelliousness – I want what I want regardless of the cost – I was out for me and that was all that could be seen. Happiness focuses on me whereas godly joy focuses on Jesus.

Looking spiritual cannot cover or change the past. It will not chase away shame. Only Jesus has the way and the means through God’s provision of the cross.

Is your happiness the all important thing? Think about it.

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Comments 21 comments

lmmartin profile image

lmmartin 6 years ago from Alberta and Florida

It is my belief that our society has confused 'happiness' with 'contentment' which is the state we should truly strive for. Contentment being an inner sense of enough, acceptance of life as it is. We are constantly given the message we should be happy, by those who are trying to convince us the goods or services they offer will make us so. This message has become so confused, we forget that happiness is by its nature a transitory feeling, whereas as contentment is a state of life. One can be content no matter what the circumstances. Big, big difference. Thanks for this thoughtful article. You've provided much food for thought. Lynda


UlrikeGrace profile image

UlrikeGrace 6 years ago from Canada Author

Immartin...very good insights and helpful to clarifying of this hub...thanks for sharing...we all deal with this issue in one way, shape, form or another...it is good to give it some concentrated thought...blessings...


Inge 6 years ago

A very thought inspiring hub. Unfortunately our society places way too much emphasis on material things when all we need to do is look around us and see the beauty that the Lord has created. Many times just picking up a lowly field flower, seeing the intricate form and creation, brings way more "happiness", or should I say joy, than some useless material thing. Love your writing.


Thorine  6 years ago

again, your writing has made me stop and read and think...thank you for sharing your thoughts and your words are very insightful.


UlrikeGrace profile image

UlrikeGrace 6 years ago from Canada Author

Inge...thank you for your thoughtful feed back...I so appreciate it. God doesn't want us not to be happy...it is though what we choose to base our happiness on. Too often it is a fleeting thing. Only God can give us the kind of happiness that will not disappear...it's the deeper joy of His love that brings foundation to our happiness. Blessings to you Inge, thanks for reading...


UlrikeGrace profile image

UlrikeGrace 6 years ago from Canada Author

Thorine, thank you so much for reading and bless you for giving thought to what you are reading...may it lead to a greater understanding of the God who created us and put the beauty of life into you. You can always email me if you have any private questions or thoughts you would care to discuss...love you


shannon b 6 years ago

Love your writing....which flows from your heart....which flows from your relationship and love for Father. It is so fresh and insightful. Always, a timely message....right on time!

Lord, help me to be more humble. Thank you for your joy , your peace, your love in all our circumstances.


Specialk3749 profile image

Specialk3749 6 years ago from Michigan

When my kids get sad about not getting to do things, or not getting something they want, I tell them to go do something nice for someone else! Some do not realize that making others happy, will make us happy! Thanks for a great hub!


heart4theword profile image

heart4theword 6 years ago from hub

Well written hub:) Love your pictures! Yes, I agree with you, true happiness only comes from above! Enjoyed this read, am very visual, so the pictures were the icing on the cake:)


Kristeen profile image

Kristeen 6 years ago from Michigan

Nice hub Grace. Happiness is indeed a gift and it is contagious too. When we focus our lives on Jesus, we will be blessed and happy.


cristina327 profile image

cristina327 6 years ago from Manila

Excellent hub with great insights to ponder. Happiness is temporal while the "joy of the Lord" is eternal. Amidst frustrating circumstances we can still possess joy as long as the presence of the Lord is with us. Thank you for bringing out these great thoughts here in Hubpages. Blessings to you.


bayoulady profile image

bayoulady 6 years ago from Northern Louisiana,USA

Happiness is kind of like a myth to me, but joy is real. I can have joy regardless of my circumstances.I learned a long time ago when because of my divorce I went from an 11 roombeautiful house to my present 3 bedroom 2 bath home that STUFF does not make me happy.He had lawyer friends, and I had nothing,though he was the guilty one. I knew it wouldn't be easy or cheap to win a fight in that small town, so I walked away with just furniture. But like Paul, I am content.(Most days,if I am honest)


UlrikeGrace profile image

UlrikeGrace 6 years ago from Canada Author

@ shannon b...thanks so much sister for stopping I join you in your prayer with a big amen as we all need to walk in greater humility born out of a rightful view of out amazing God. Bless you sweetie...

@ Specialk3749...Amen...anything to get out selfish minds off of ourselves...very good advice for anybody...thanks for sharing and stopping in to have a read...bless you

@ heart4theword...other than the research or musing that I do for the articles I write for the hubs...it's the searching for the just right pictures tthat gives me great pleasure...it's so much fun! Glad you enjoyed them...Bless you

@ Kristeen...I LOVED your comment on godly happiness being contagious...that is so true...when I am around a truly Christ-motivated joyful person, I can't help but be lifted up as well...may we all learn to rest in His joy...Bless you

@ cristina327...thank you so much for stopping in and reading, I always enjoy your comments...bless you

@ bayoulady...I am sorry to hear of your divorce...can relate...and isn't it interesting that in such circumstances we truly do learn what is important and what isn't...and I discovered how little I really do need and still live content and secure. All because of Jesus...Bless you as you daily discover your sufficency in Jesus...


coffeesnob 6 years ago

Ulrike,

This hub is right in line with the excellence of thought you always produce. I think people who have joy produce a world of happiness around them

blessings

CS


UlrikeGrace profile image

UlrikeGrace 6 years ago from Canada Author

Thank you coffeesnob for your encouraging remarks and for taking precious time to read my hub...(i know now how busy you are at the moment)...and you are so right...joy does beget joy...love it...

bless you my friend and sister

Love Ulrike Grace


cristina327 profile image

cristina327 5 years ago from Manila

This is indeed an excellent hub from you Ulrike Grace, voted up and awesome. This hub is filled with godly wisdom. I am feeling depressed today I search out some hubs that could give me consolation then I was led to this hub. This is what I am exactly looking for. I realized after reading this hub that I am becoming lonely and depressed because I am becoming self-centered instead on focusing my life on the Lord JesusChrist. Thank you for writing this hub. It gives great comfort to me. Your writing ministry is a blessing. Remain blessed always. Best regards.


UlrikeGrace profile image

UlrikeGrace 5 years ago from Canada Author

Cristina, I am so glad that you have found the hub helpful in your time of darkness. Jesus is never far from us and he is ever seeking to bring light into our confusions. Blessings to you girl. May the presence and joy of the Lord, strengthen, comfort and bring you deeper awareness of his love.


Mekenzie profile image

Mekenzie 4 years ago from Michigan

Sweet UrlikeGrace, Very thought provoking hub. Paul said that he had learned to be content in whatever situation he found himself. He wrote that in prison .. amazing!

I like what you wrote here: "Happiness, which is as intangible as fog, unreliable fog which quickly burns off when the heat of the sun hits it, or in this sense, the daily very often mundane grind of living."

As God grows us He leads us into storms and beside the still waters training us, all along the way, to be content no matter what. To trust in HIM fully .. just knowing that He will never leave us or forsake us is contentment itself for me.

The Picture you posted at the end is so beautiful and the Bible verse is TRUTH.

Thank you for sharing and digging and researching for this presentation. Well DONE! Up and Awesome.


writerscentro profile image

writerscentro 4 years ago from India

It was a pleasure reading your hub UlrikeGrace. I always get inspire from reading your hub. Your hub gives some or the other message to the viewers when they read it. So i request you to keep on updating hubs which will help the viewers in future . God bless.....


UlrikeGrace profile image

UlrikeGrace 4 years ago from Canada Author

writerscentro...thank you for reading and your encouragement.


Mary Ng Shwu Ling 3 years ago

I do believe that some people are addicted to happiness. Just heard from a student today that her mum will buy her something everyday to make her happy... Could be a toy, stationery, ice cream, clothes, book.... If not, she will request it and if it is too expensive, it will be on her birthday present list which means one of her favorite uncle or aunt will get it for her.

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