Do Good, Feel Good

Something Has to Change: Episode 2

Meggan Stephens

11/29/20236 min read

low light stage microphone photography
low light stage microphone photography

SAD? Smile!

During this season of the year, many people are experiencing what is called SAD: Seasonal Affective Disorder, also known as seasonal depression. Feelings of depression, despair, loneliness, and misery are higher during the fall and winter months. In the season where everyone is expected to be merry, jolly, and bright, why are suicide rates increased? Where is your heart in this season? If you’re finding yourself dealing with any of these feelings, Stephen suggests doing something you enjoy. Make yourself smile. Smiling has scientific benefits. When you smile, dopamine, endorphins, and natural serotonin are released in your brain, alleviating stress and acting as a pain reliever. In our family, we have a saying for those rough days: "Do the opposite." When you feel like crying alone in your room, go into the living room with the family and laugh.

Pursuit of Happiness

The host, Stephen, poses the question, “Why do I feel the way I feel?” A simple question that many of us may often ask ourselves, a question so frequently unanswered. Stephen suggests that the answer may be found in Matthew 11:28-30. In this text, Jesus says that He can provide rest for the labored and heavily burdened. Is this claim true? What is it that we’re laboring for? Are the burdens of life weighing us down, causing us to feel as though we’re coasting through our days on auto-pilot? Does every new day feel as though we’re just trying to make it through work, school, child-rearing, grocery shopping, and all of the mundane tasks of life with no internal joy or fulfillment? How do we come to a place where we can find joy in the little things? Everyone is looking for satisfaction in life, whether it be from relationships, careers, hobbies, or even substances. Deep down, I think we are all on a pursuit of happiness.

Reward vs. Passion

A Stanford study of young children determined that once a child was given a reward for doing something he loved, i.e drawing, his love for that interest decreased because his interest in the reward increased. The reward became the drive rather than the initial passion. We see this today not only in children, but in adults. Many of us have started careers simply because of the salary that accompanies it. We’ve all heard the famous quote: “Do what you love, and you’ll never work a day in your life.” How many of us have forfeited doing what we love and instead are “working ourselves into the ground”? In the blink of an eye, our pursuit of happiness becomes pursuit of a paycheck. We so easily forget that the reward is the ability to perform the act itself.

Like a Child

In Matthew 18:1-5, Jesus calls us to be as children. As we become adults, we lose our child-like tendencies. Could this be because the pressures and anxieties of life overwhelm us? Have you noticed that children turn everything into playtime? They make mundane tasks into games. Washing the car with Dad becomes a playful opportunity for a water fight. Raking the yard with a sibling becomes a contest of who can build the bigger leaf pile to jump into. Opportunities to help and to serve, to be used for good, bring immense joy to the child because they’re gifted at seeing the playtime hidden in the work. These same tasks as adults can be seen as dreadful, stressful, and time-consuming. Stephen suggests that what we must change, is how we view work. We must learn to enjoy the activity itself. Our perspective must shift. With anything that we do, we have to learn to find the joy in the process rather than just the end result.

Choose Joy

Stephen goes on to state that joy is a choice. Joy cannot relax in our feelings, but must be chosen regardless of how we feel or the circumstances we face. Every situation can be viewed negatively or positively. Our joy is depleted when we make others the source of it. Children are phenomenal at letting things go. As adults, we hold onto offenses and humiliation, storing every unpleasant situation into the catalog of our hearts. We become the murderers of our own happiness while children tend to laugh it off and keep it moving, resiliently recovering with joy still intact. Parents and adults think our job is to teach the children, which is essentially true. However, Jesus reminds us that there is much to be learned from a child.

Work, Joy, and Children

Stephen speaks heavily in this episode of work, joy, and being as a child. Three things that seem completely unrelated but in actuality, go hand in hand. He makes an interesting claim; “Work will produce its own internal joy in your life.” You’re probably asking yourself how often you wake up joyful to go into work. For many of us, the answer is probably close to “never.” In fact, you most likely feel stress, dread, and despair when you think of waking up day after day to go to the same place and perform the same task over and over for the rest of your life. Where’s the joy in that? How do you even begin to find it? The host brings this concept into a new perspective with the words of Jesus in John 15:10-11. Jesus says that He wants our joy to be full. Well then, why am I not joyful? Perhaps it is because we’ve missed the first part of what He said, which is that our joy comes from keeping His commandments. At just twelve years old, the age in which most would consider to be a child, we see Jesus working hard, joyfully doing the will of His Father. Could it be possible that the reason we find no joy in our work is because none of what we’ve chosen to do has any real relation to the will of God or the commandments that He’s laid out for us? If we do good, we should feel good. Once again, the way in which we perceive work and joy must change.

Something Has To Change

Now you may be thinking, I don’t know all of the commandments, how can I keep what I don’t know? Stephen suggests that we start with the first two. Love God, and love your neighbor as yourself. How does your heart deal with the things of God? How does your heart deal with people? We are under the gravity of the principles of God whether we realize it or not. The way your heart feels is the biggest indicator of where you’re at. The pain of the heart can be so unbearable that you may long for physical pain instead. If you’re living life in misery, anguish, and despair of the heart and mind, something has to change. Start with you. Most of us have heard “The joy of the Lord is my strength.” But how? We must take the time to learn who God is, what He’s like, and what is pleasing in His sight. Isaiah 26:3 states that if we trust in God, if we keep our minds on Him, He will give us perfect peace. In the chaos of the world we live in, I think we’re all inwardly desperate for peace in our hearts and minds.

3 Key Points:
  1. Don't let the ten people stop you from reaching thousands of people with a positive message.

  2. Enjoy the work of playtime.

  3. Do good, feel good.

Stephen closes this week’s episode with three key points. The first is “Don’t let the ten people stop you from reaching thousands of people with a positive message.” There are always going to be haters in life. You’re not going to be everyone’s cup of tea, so what? We’re here for one thing, and that’s to help others know that there is a God, and He wants you to experience joy in your life. Don’t let the negative voices keep you from what God is calling you to do. The second is: “Enjoy the work of playtime.” Find ways to make work enjoyable. Whistle while you work. Sing and dance while you clean your house. Be as a child, and make life fun. Who said everything we do had to be stressful and serious? The third point is simply: “Do good, feel good.” Do what is pleasing in the sight of God. Treat people how you’d like to be treated. Watch how your heart and ultimately your life will begin to change.

In Episode 2 of the new weekly podcast titled Contemporary Speaks, the host, Stephen, is helping us out once again. He elaborates on joy and how to find it in daily work. Yes, you read that correctly. Stephen suggests there is joy to be found, even in work.

The biggest question we ask ourselves from this episode is:
Why do I feel the way I feel?
Episode 2 of Something Has to Change has a recurring theme, “Do Good, Feel Good.” Have you ever stopped to examine what you’re doing, or why you do the things you do? When you do certain things, you feel a certain way. Sitting alone all day binge-watching Netflix may leave you feeling empty while feeding the homeless may leave you feeling purposeful and accomplished. Episode 1 brought us the realization that every choice brings about a feeling of either life or death. Ultimately, our choices determine how we feel about ourselves and the lives we’re living.

Want to dive deeper?

Watch the full episode