Image courtesy of Stuart Miles,/
Have you ever been so happy that you were afraid to trust your happiness and found yourself intentionally distancing from that emotion? Are we so used to longing for that which we don’t have that when we get “it”—– whatever it is—–we quickly begin to feel restless and “not quite right” once more and begin to search for something else that will make us happy?
Is finding happiness like putting ourselves in the midst of a geographical cure only to find that our problems came with us? I apologize for asking multiple questions, but I am in the midst of a confusing emotional journey. I received very good news recently that something I had wanted for a long time was going to happen. I was very happy and very grateful, but an hour had not yet passed before I started feeling restless and uneasy. I could bring fleeting moments of joy back by focusing my thoughts on the good news I had gotten, but now, days later, that has given way to a minor depression, and I find myself not willing to seek out the solution to this emotional state. I know God is always with me and that if I “tune in” to that love and peace, I too will be peaceful and content. Once again, I seem to prefer floating around in a sea of uneasiness and “agitated depression” rather than relinquishing my will to God’s will. I find myself praying less, eating more, and thinking and writing less about spiritual matters. I seem to be purposefully avoiding consenting to letting God’s will and love empower me.
Years ago I was at an addictions conference, and one of the speakers talked about the research he had done with people addicted to gambling. He reported that as soon as such people won money from a slot machine, even a jackpot worth thousands, they immediately felt restless and dis-eased until they once again put money in the machine and began pulling levers or pushing buttons. The speaker explained his research suggested these addicts were more addicted to the potential of winning than they were actually winning. Perhaps, all addiction is about being addicted to something imagined and/or potential rather than reality.
I know working in partnership with God brings me happiness, contentment, and serenity. And I know I periodically distance myself from that partnership. I know intimacy scares me because of life experiences I have had, and, perhaps, I am more uncomfortable getting closer to and staying close to God than I realized until just now. Then too, on the tails of that insight, comes another “aha moment.” That may explain, somewhat, why I seem to be more comfortable in the familiar comfort of my “self-will run riot” than I am in the serenity I experience when I consent to God’s love and will. Could it be possible that I am not as addicted to chaos, food, or alcohol as I am to the illusion that I can control my life on my own? Perhaps the bottom line is I am a “self-will addict” that can only enjoy happiness, contentment, serenity, etc. temporarily and, just like the gambler putting money back into a slot machine, I am the one who distances myself from God to chase the illusion that this time things will be different and I can control my life with less help from God and by being less connected to God’s will. I have to “break the strong connection” or else I will not be able to chase the illusion of independent or mostly independent control.
Well, that is enough insight for today. I know what the solution is, but I seem to be choosing chasing the illusion over re-connecting more closely with God. And so, I get “sadder” and more restless, and I believe God may be crying—–or very, very irritated because his child repeatedly gets caught up in this approach-avoidance dance . I know he is used to it and me by now, but I know he also wishes I’d stop putting myself in harm’s way by periodically putting distance between us.