Anhedonia is not a country in Eastern Europe. It is the inability to experience pleasure. Granted, most of us do not suffer from this malady, but not through lack of trying. We Christians, generally speaking, often struggle to enjoy ourselves. For me it started in adolescence when I heard the Parable of the Rich Fool, found in Luke 12:15-21. In the Parable, a man harvests a massive crop that sets him up for the good life for years to come. He tells his soul it is time to sit back, eat, drink, and be merry. There’s just one problem: he died that night and never got to enjoy the fruit of his work. He probably didn’t make it to heaven, either.
The moral lesson of the Parable deals with people who have little or no place for God in their life. Without God as our most significant other, all our plans, achievements, and pleasures are meaningless. The problem is that many of us heard this Parable and took it too far. We have become hyper suspicious of pleasure. Just to be clear, I’m not referring to sinful pleasures (e.g. drunkenness, fornication, gluttony, laziness, sexting, Miley Cyrus concerts, etc.).
In my opinion, there is nothing innately sinful about common pleasures such as enjoying a fine meal, music, or a back rub from your spouse. It’s just when we allow pleasure to replace God as our most significant other that we cross the line into unwise territory.