Saying Hello—and Doing Other Hard Things When I Don’t Feel Like It

There she is, I thought, groaning inwardly. I know I need to go say hi to her, but every part of me doesn’t want to. Yes, she’s new here…and she probably needs friends. But why do I have to be her friend? Why can’t someone else talk to her?

Instead of doing the right thing and choosing to be friendly, I stood in the church pew and watched the teen girl exit the building. Sure, I felt a twinge of guilt about ignoring her. But I just didn’t feel like talking to her. It wasn’t my responsibility to be the welcoming committee. I wasn’t obligated to speak to her.

At least those were the excuses I formulated.

When You Just Don’t “Feel” Like It

Perhaps you’ve been in a similar situation. You know the right thing to do, but it requires so much effort. Maybe you’re deciding whether or not to wake up early to read your Bible before work, join a ministry that needs volunteers, or make an effort to work hard at your boring job. Maybe the “right” thing is tithing even though finances are tight, apologizing for hurting a friend, or working through marriage conflicts instead of getting divorced.   

We rarely feel like doing the right thing. After all, why make our lives more inconvenient, uncomfortable, or difficult?

Because the Christian life—if we truly want to follow Christ—is not about our feelings. It’s about how we behave regardless of how we feel.

Our Feelings Are Irrelevant

The commands of the Bible, though I don’t like to admit it, require me to act whether or not I feel happy, depressed, cheerful, confused, full of faith, doubtful, excited, or lonely. God requires our obedience even when we’re not on a spiritual high.  

Praise the Lord! Oh give thanks to the Lord, for He is good; for His lovingkindness is everlasting. Who can speak of the mighty deeds of the Lord, or can show forth all His praise? How blessed are those who keep justice, who practice righteousness at all times! (Psalm 106:1-3 NASB)

We are commanded—in all situations—to follow God. He desires our service when we don’t feel like serving. He desires our dedication when we don’t feel dedicated. He desires our obedience when we don’t feel like obeying.

As the psalmist stated, God’s mercy does not stop or shift. His mercy goes on forever! Likewise, our commitment to God should not end when our moods and circumstances change.

Tough Questions for Me—and for You

Friends, what if going to church isn’t about if we feel like it?

What if serving others isn’t about if we feel like it? 

What if worshipping God isn’t about if we feel like it?

What if loving someone isn’t about if we feel like it?

What if ____________ (fill in the blank with a biblical command) isn’t about if we feel like it?

I admit that I act based on how I feel a lot. But I know that’s not how God designed for His people to live. What if we, like the psalmist said in Psalm 106:3, “practice righteousness at all times”? Even in the midst of tragedy, depression, anxiety, hopelessness, loneliness, and pain.

We can do the right thing—no matter how challenging it feels—if we are intentional and prayerful.

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