Approval treadmill

I heard a term this week I’d never heard before, “hedonic treadmill.” It’s the idea that everyone has a baseline level of happiness. Our happiness might rise or fall depending on life experiences, but eventually it moves back to what it was before the experiences. It’s also called “hedonic adaptation.” Psychologists use this concept as a way of explaining why we can have great experiences and be emotionally high for a few days, and then go back to being our same old selves. 

I always smile and shake my head when I hear a high-sounding term that experts use to explain what we all know to be true.

We all come down from the highs.

Mountaintop experiences don’t last.

Luke 10 tells the story of Jesus sending out seventy-two people to the places he was about to go. He commissioned them to heal and cast out demons and spread the news that the Kingdom of God was near. They came back rejoicing at what they thought was their ministry success.  

But instead of being excited for them, Jesus said, “Do not rejoice that the spirits submit to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven.”

It must have been terrifying for those first people to go out in Jesus’ name. And it must have been equally exhilarating to have the power of God flow through them. But Jesus told them, “Rejoice not.”

When we believe, we have a status that never changes with how our job is going, what our bank balance is doing, or how many “likes” our posts are getting.

When we believe, our names are written in God’s book. Done. Nothing will ever change that fact.

We can get off the approval treadmill.

We’ve been examined and approved by the King of Kings.

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