Wednesday, April 28, 2010

More Than a Feeling

My alarm buzzes at 6:35 a.m. I’m tired. I hit the snooze. My alarm buzzes again. I have to get out of bed. But, I don’t feel like it. I do it anyway. My kids need to be at school on time, and I have a responsibility as an employee to be at my place of work at 8 a.m.

I’ve been at the ballpark every night this week, and have logged more than 12 hours coaching and attending games for my kids. We have practice scheduled for tonight. I am beat, and I have so many things I need to do around the house. I don’t feel like going to the field again. But, I go anyway. I made a commitment to my son and to ten other kids and their parents to volunteer my time to help them improve and have fun on the baseball diamond.

It’s been a long day. An eight-hour work day, baseball and homework with the kids. I am reminded at 9:30 p.m. that it’s trash night. Oof. I am exhausted, and I don’t feel like getting the trash together and making the 250-foot uphill trek to my curb with a 95-gallon wheeled container. But, I do it anyway. I pay a fee for waste disposal, and I don’t want it to pile up for another week.

These are just three out of probably a dozen or more “I don’t feel like it” episodes in a day in my life. These are relatively mild examples, but what about when more is on the line?

I pick up my kids after work. I want peace and quiet. They want to play and carry on. I want to lie down and prop up my feet. They want to play football or baseball (or both) in the front yard. But, I don’t feel like it. I could go for some R & R. But, I go outside anyway. I only get one shot at being my kids’ dad, and these moments are priceless and fleeting. I revel in their energy and joyous spirit, and know it was the right decision.

I have been married to my wife for 13 years. I know she loves me, and she knows I love her. I don’t always “feel” loved, and I don’t often feel that same “in love” feeling we had very early in our relationship. I could easily use this as an excuse to go out and try to fabricate these feelings in the wrong places, doing things I shouldn’t be doing with people I have no business being around. But, I don’t. I made a vow to Amy that I would be with her always. Each day I make the choice to love her – not because it FEELS right, but because it IS right.

Believe it or not, I don’t always feel like opening my Bible or preparing for my small group study or going to God in prayer. I am not riding an emotional high that has swept me up off my feet. No, I’d prefer sometimes to do something else. And, when I’m not overcome with the Holy Spirit and get the warm fuzzies, I don’t get discouraged and go looking for God in other places. God – through Jesus’ death and resurrection – now dwells within me ALL the time. He is a part of me. So, I don’t have to go looking for Him someplace else.

In the end, wise decisions are not based on feelings. Perhaps they can be influenced by them, but by and large we should honor commitments and do the things that really matter because they ARE right, not just because they FEEL right. Love, selflessness, sacrifice, gratitude, generosity, humility, and honor do not come easy. Each requires an intentional choice on our part. Don’t wait until you FEEL like being noble to be noble. Do it despite feeling self-centered and hard-hearted. If you do it enough, you’ll be surprised at how your wise choices will help shape you into the person you’ve wanted to become all along.

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