If It Feels Good, Do It!
There’s a very strong, very persuasive cultural conviction that has influenced every single one of our lives. No matter if you are old or young, male or female, white or black, rich or poor, educated or uneducated. All of us have lived, and some of us are still living, out of this perspective: If it feels good, do it.
Let’s face it, this perspective is a great way to live. If it feels good, do it is all about the here and now. If it feels good, do it is all about immediate gratification. If it feels good, do it is all about feeling good. And who doesn’t want to feel good? The problems with living in this perspective are many.
First problem: Not everything that feels good in the moment is good for you. Just ask anyone the morning after having too much to drink, simply because it felt good in the moment. Just ask anyone who gave into a temptation, just because it felt good in the moment. A decision which resulted in a ruined relationship, a lost job or worse yet, legal trouble. Just because something feels good in the moment in no way guarantees that it will feel good in the long term. “Just because something is technically legal doesn’t mean that its spiritually appropriate.” (1 Corinthians 6:12)
Second problem: Focusing on simply feeling good, as the determining factor in decisions, places you at the center of the universe. If it feels good, do it is all about you. It never considers anyone else. It’s a narcissistic life of fulfilling your wants, your desires, your urges and your needs.
Which might start off harmlessly enough. But, left uncheck, will grow into a callousness that will disregard the thoughts, feelings and desires of all other people, as well as God. In fact, left unchecked, you will believe that you deserve to feel good all the time. You deserve to have all your needs, wants and desires met. Thus, creating an addiction to self-love that will alienate you from all others, as well as God. “People will be lovers of themselves…” (2 Timothy 3:2)
Third problem: Your life is a marathon, not a sprint. What you do or don’t do today will affect the future you. Every decision has consequences. Not only in the here and now, but also in the long term. If it feels good, do it can open you up to short term pleasure, at the expense of long-term pain. You will not always be young. That tattoo will not always look good. The money will run out. People will use you for their very own selfish needs and desires. “Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.” (Hebrews 12:1)
If all of us have or will fall victim to the “If it feels good, do it” perspective, must we simply give in? What are we to do in response to this reality? Are we all doomed to make one bad decision after another? No.
First, name it and claim it. When you find yourself deciding for no other reason than whatever it is makes you feel good, call it out. There is power in naming things. What you are feeling is real and you need to get real with it and name it. So that God can get real with you in that moment.
Second, breathe. Take a moment to actually use the brain to which God has entrusted you. Don’t simply leap because you want to feel good in the moment. Breathe and in that moment ask yourself and God: Is this decision going to be a good decision tomorrow and beyond? Not just a decision that will feel good in this moment.
Third, do the next right thing. Don’t make decisions that are all about you and what will make you feel good in the moment. Do the next right thing, regardless of all the wrong things you have done in the past. Do the next right thing as a marathon runner, not a sprinter. Do the next right thing, because you know it’s the next right thing to do.
Here’s some more insight from experience: Once you start living this way you will begin to see that your definition of what makes you feel good, in the moment, will be drastically transformed. When this happens, you will realize that you are actually doing things because they make you feel good – in a good way!