Doctor of Leadership in Global Perspectives: Crafting Ministry in an Interconnected World

Crazy Christmas

Written by: on January 11, 2023

Christmas 2022 was seamless despite the worry that I would not be able to get things done. My expectations were that I could be a part of a Christmas bazaar, give a toy giveaway, and have my home ready for my personal Christmas. I successfully with the help of others, pulled it all off plus some. But how did I complete it? Authors Lieberman and Long would argue that dopamine has a lot to do with it. The authors state that dopamine, coined the anticipation molecule is also one’s response to the reward prediction error. The fact that I believed that I could not achieve all the tasks was a thought in error and surely the fact my thoughts were an error, was more rewarding to me than the actual reward itself [1].

According to the Cleveland Clinic, dopamine is “a chemical messenger that communicates with nerve cells and the rest of the body” [2].

Dopamine has several roles:

  • Movement
  • Memory
  • Pleasurable reward and motivation
  • Behavior and cognition
  • Attention
  • Sleep and arousal
  • Mood
  • Learning
  • Lactation


Lieberman and Long agree with the Cleveland Clinic in the facts surrounding the effects of having low and high levels of dopamine. Although both believe that dopamine is a pleasurable hormone, the lack of dopamine can be the opposite. In fact, it is noted that dopamine can play a big part in the motivation that one has daily to be present in the world. The lack of dopamine can affect mood and is seen in several mental health diagnoses.  The text gives us a glimpse of how dopamine can play a huge part in our creativity, our sex lives, and our drive. It also explains that high levels of dopamine can be one of the answers to why some people develop addictions. The author explains that the “desire circuit” is “hi-jacked” by drugs and nothing seems more important to the drug user than the drug.

It is also noted that mental health and addiction are not the only sectors influenced by dopamine. Among religious groups, and political parties, on opposing sides of most any concern dopamine plays a part. The part that dopamine plays can sometimes influence as great as the presidential election or as small as how many/ how much a couple has sex. The fear lies in if this great dopamine will become the end as we know it. Will we create too much, use too much, migrate too much or simply have someone end it all for us according to their desired circuit at the time?

It is greatly important to think about our futures, but how can we really go into predicting what it will be? The text could string us into an anxiety-provoking wheel of thoughts. I would be acting outside of my compacity as a student to say that I know the answer to it all.  I would be risking my licensure as a social worker to say that I could predict what dopamine will do to us in the future. But as a believer dopamine surely takes a back seat to the control that our savior has.

[1] Daniel Z. Lieberman, and Michael E. Long. The Molecule of the More: How a single Chemical in Your brain Drives Love, Sex, and Creativity-and Will Determine the Fate of the Human Race. Reprint edition. (BenBella Books, 2019).


About the Author


Shonell Dillon

A daughter of the KING of kings and the LORD of lords. A lover of LIFE!

3 responses to “Crazy Christmas”

  1. Michael O'Neill says:

    Great post, Shonell. I was drawn to your conclusion, “But as a believer dopamine surely takes a back seat to the control that our savior has.” I could not agree with this statement more. Although I’m somewhat of a dopamine addict in many ways, I am also a believer that God has given us everything we need to be satisfied. Actually, He gives us more than we could ever imagine and too often we fall victim to the world’s notifications, pace, and sources of adrenaline. What is it about your relationship with Christ that gives you that dopamine rush? I’m sure there are many but for me it is worship. I enjoy many aspects of Christian living but I can hardly keep back tears when I’m in a good worship setting and the Spirit is in the room.

  2. mm Audrey Robinson says:


    What a great post. I enjoyed reading how you weaved personal experiences in with the subject matter of the text.

    I’m curious as to any thoughts you might have for believers that may be unwilling to take responsibility for actions, possibly influenced by dopamine, etc. because they are leaving everything up to God. (Excluding addictions.)

  3. Alana Hayes says:

    “But as a believer dopamine surely takes a back seat to the control that our savior has.”

    I couldn’t help but correlate my kiddos impulsive actions and sometimes my adult actions while letting dopamine take the wheel while reading this book.

    I think your comment is a great reminder of the bigger picture!

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