The Story of Addictions

On Monday, we talked about faking happiness and today I want to discuss how pretending to be happy and have it all together actually keeps us from finding joy. The question for today: Do you want relief more than you want God?

And since last night’s kickoff for Impact was such a success (come next week if you missed it!), I want to talk about happiness and joy through the lens of singleness.

“People who insist on happiness never find joy.” Larry Crabb

Let’s say you are single. Maybe you made a pledge back in Youth Group to wait for ‘the one’ and just knew you’d find that special person to spend your life with during college. But college came and went—and here you are single way longer than you expected. Will you ever get married? How do you cope with friends tying the knot and having babies all over your news feed?

As we discussed here, the church might tell you that once you ‘stop wanting marriage’ and find satisfaction in Christ, then God will bless you with Mr. Right. But if we are to stop desiring what we truly want, then we have to grit our teeth and strive to shut off our hearts to that which we were created to desire. And that just doesn’t work. At least for very long.

As Shattered Dreams says,

“People who find some way to deaden their pain never discover desire for God in all its fullness. They rather live for relief and become addicts to whatever provides it.”

Therefore, if you find a way to deaden your heartache and longing for a man you will never discover desire for God—because your heart will be . . . dead. You will live for relief from the pain you feel every time you remember you have not been chosen. Living for relief, instead of healing, turns us into addicts. We can be content in a broken world alive with the realization that we are not at home.

When I was single, I would often turn to attention from men to numb the pain that I had not been chosen. Are you seeking relief or are you journeying deeper into desire?

As Brennan Manning says, we can be “addicted to vodka or to being nice, to marijuana or being loved, to cocaine or being right, to gambling or relationships, to golf or gossiping. Perhaps [our] addiction is food, performance, money, popularity, power, revenge, reading, television, weight or winning.” But the dangerous part is not the addiction; it’s the process of depriving your heart from vital resources, like hope.

All addictions tell one story: we want relief—more than we want God. We want numbness—more than we want to feel. We want happiness, more than we want joy.

Dear sister, I feel like I learned this lesson the hard way and I pray you can see how dangerous it is to hide your heart away and put your feelings on autopilot. God doesn’t give us desires to harm us, but that we might more deeply know Him when we cry out and ask Him to help. After all, He is a good Dad.

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6 Responses to “The Story of Addictions”
  1. Maggie says:

    It’s funny that you write about this because last night I was going over and thinking about my feelings about being married and not being satisfied. (I’m not even 20 yet so it’s surprising to me why I’m feeling like this). Anyways, where I’ve been having a problem is getting over my “addiction” of being loved and finding happiness in my relationship with my beau, as a long term relationship, things have gotten not stale, but routine. And after finding myself reading tons about marriage and what a long term dating Christian is supposed to do, I keep hearing the trend of, like what you said, being content with Christ instead of dying for marriage. I guess I’m still working on that part, especially since I’m trying to do things the way woman should do things instead of how we do things (nagging, complaining about our partner, daydreaming about something better, etc.) And it is hard.

    • Ruthie Dean says:

      Hi Maggie! Thanks so much for sharing. Learning to be content with TODAY and all it’s problems, frustrations, joys, & pains is a continuous battle. Enjoy the dating season…marriage will come in time. I do hope you’ll be back! Anyone else relate to Maggie?

  2. Tatuu says:

    I know what you’re talking about. I realized men will always disappoint me so I refocused my life on other things. I read a lot, do whatever I have to do provided I will not have any associations with any of them. I feel happy that way- ie, when I am busy doing things but when I settle down, I remember I am waaay over 25 and should be married, the hurt comes back, then I get busy…yeah, I sure know how to numb those feelings.

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