Facts > Feelings

Facts > Feelings

As I do with most things I write I struggled with what to title this post and what direction to take it. I try to keep in mind that our attention spans are ever fleeting and sticking to “the point” is vital for any storyteller these days, so I’ll try my best (promise). 

One year I spent Christmas with my dad’s side of the family. Christmas had come and gone, and we were ready to celebrate the dawning of a New Year. By “we” I mean just my dad and me because the rest of the family had fallen asleep and were in their third dream by the time ten o'clock rolled around. As my dad and I sat on the couch watching Ryan Secret trying to fill the shoes of Dick Clark (nothing against Ryan btw) my dad turned to me and asked, with either genuine curiosity or just a need to fill the silence- or both, “So Chan what are your New Year’s Resolutions”?

Yes, that wonderful question that people either dread, because they haven’t thought about it, or look forward to because they really believe this will be the year. #newyearnewme. Without even looking away from the television I nonchalantly responded, “I don’t have any.” I could tell he kind of deflated. I am not sure if this was the equivalent of your kid telling you they don't believe in Santa or the Tooth Fairy anymore. To be fair New Years is usually a time where adults get to be hopeful and optimistic, which is a good thing. I had basically told my dad that at 18 I had given up hopes of even trying, therefore, resulting in my lack of bothering to make resolutions that year. However, his response was a simple, “wow, uh oookaay.” 

I think my dad misunderstood what I meant, but that was my fault because I did not take the time to explain. So, I will explain it to you guys. Yes, I did not, and still, do not make a list of resolutions. I stopped doing this because one day I found several of my "resolutions" from previous years. They were basically variations of THE SAME THING year after year, and, let’s be real, by the third week of January I just stop trying. So, I started making New Year’s themes. Meaning, that each year I would work on ONE broad area of my life that would have a positive effect on several areas of my life.

It worked. At least for me.

The theme for the year I had struck my dad nearly speechless was “I will not let my feelings dictate my actions.” Let me tell you friends that was, and still is, harder than I thought it would be, but here are some of the things I learned. Everyone knows what they should and should not do in any given situation. (Believe when it comes to the basic things- you already know). Now whether we do what we know to do or not is typically determined by how we are feeling. For example, because you know I love those…

I am well aware that I have an exam coming up in a week, but I am tired so I will take a nap instead. After all, I have a week so what’s a little Netflix gunna hurt. Well if your exam is on the pathology of kidney disease Netflix may be the cause of death to your final grade, okay.

I know I should put myself out there and be more assertive so that people do not run over me and take advantage of my kindness, but I feel like I may be perceived as rude or unfriendly. True, but when you do not have a moment to yourself and you are stretched impossibly thin or sick all the time, who are you really able to help anyway?

I know the doctor said my blood pressure is high and that I am showing signs of type II diabetes, but carrots are gross, I hate walking, and that is what medication is for. I don’t really need to type a response for that one, do I?

I think my examples have drawn a pretty clear picture, but I am not going to medal with you anymore. I am going to talk about me. What initially drew me to make this my goal for the New Year was school. At the time I was going into my second semester of junior year in a very difficult degree program. I knew that if I did not discipline myself, and start to say no to myself, I simply was not going to make it through. I had a moment where I realized no one was going to be able to do this for me and though my degree plan was hard it was certainly possible, but I had to try my absolute best. There were more times I did not want to study, write or research than I did, but I knew the hard work would pay off. Besides, the sense of relief that came with knowing the work was done made life much easier. Now, I said earlier the point of my themes were to affect other areas of my life, not just one.

This “not letting my feelings dictate my actions” played a big role when it came to my relationship with God. Again, not going to medal, just going to talk about me. Those old New Year’s resolutions and journal entries I told you I had found. Some of them dated back to elementary school and, I promise you, on just about every one of them there was something about wanting a deeper relationship with God. Don’t misunderstand my relationship with God was not at the same place it was in elementary school. I also do not think anyone should ever get to the place where they feel “Well I have gone as far as I can. I know God completely.” (uh, are you still breathing? Ok. And your name isn’t Enoch? Then nope, you don’t, keep going). What stood out to me about the repetition of my resolution was, am I doing anything different to further the relationship?

In the mornings when I’m dead tired and my pillow feels like the greatest thing on Earth and I feel like sleeping in. I know I need to get up because the rest of my day will be packed, and I do not want it to begin without acknowledging Him.

When I feel anticipation because the next chapter of the novel I am reading is dying to be read, or there is research to be done for whatever project I am working on, I know I have to put it down and make time for His word because it also feeds me.

Being completely candid here I do not always do what I know I should, and instead, go with what I am feeling at the moment. Even when I know good and well, GOOD AND WELL friends- uh Chantel you have important things to do. I have come to realize that those decisions, over time, will end up having an effect on your life. Depending on what you do always putting your feelings first can have an effect you don’t particularly like in the long run. 

I will end here because I promised I would be brief. (Actually, I said I would try). This post is not referring to one's mental, spiritual, and emotional health. All are very important and intertwine. How you feel about yourself as a person and the relationships you cultivate are of great importance and should not be pushed aside out of duty or obligation. What I am referring to is that little lazy voice that tells you to 'put off for tomorrow what know should be done today.' That is that type of thinking, that in a few years can make you look back and wonder where has all the time gone and what have I accomplished?

With love,



Chantel RiveraComment