“I don’t feel good,” we often say when we are under the weather. We get a little bit of extra rest, eat right, and relax from the stress just long enough that we get back on our feet again. But do we really give ourselves permission to feel good?
As Christian men and women, we often get the mistaken notion that it is bad for us to feel good, that if we feel good, we must be doing something wrong. Perhaps we haven’t given enough of our time to help others, we haven’t sacrificed our own needs long enough for our families, or our suffering for the cause of Christ has not yet reached the level of purification that we think we need.
We examine ourselves and find that we come up short; therefore, we dive in once again, overworking ourselves, denying our own needs, and making sure that we give all that we have and then some. Unfortunately, the day comes again where we are physically exhausted. We say, “I don’t feel good” and we take some time off and do what it takes to get back on our feet again.
It is a never ending cycle, the notion that we have to give more and more until we are empty, unfulfilled, and in essence, burned out. Is that what God really meant when he said, as quoted in Mark 12:30, “And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength”?
Our motivation to love the Lord tends to slacken when we give so much that we have nothing left. We lose sight of the purpose in what we are doing, and may even turn against those we previously served willingly and ably. We realize that there is a limit to our physical strength, and that we cannot give love when we feel emptiness in our souls.
Christ paid the ultimate price so that we wouldn’t have to. How does this apply in our situations? Our love of the Savior comes as we recognize the personal nature of his atonement. We connect with him when we experience a small portion of the pain that he went through for us individually. Loving him in return motivates us to serve others.
It is not necessary, however, for us to repay the debt that we owe. We cannot be more than we already are. It is our responsibility to set boundaries in our lives to make sure that we do not overextend ourselves. Getting adequate physical rest, nutrition, and nurturing allows us to not only feel Christ’s unconditional love, but to share it with others.
Feeling good is not an event; rather a choice that we make. We find contentment as we pause, feel our Savior’s love, and find peace in the process of becoming more like him.