Sovereignty (Feel, Part II)

feel/fēl/verb

be aware of (a person or object) through touching or being touched; experience (an emotion or sensation)

Feelings can truly be one of the most enigmatic concepts to grasp. I’ve always been an emotional person. Even as a kid, I laughed very easily and cried in kind. But I’ve also been slow to anger and quick to forgive. Maybe to own detriment. Maybe it saved me. Bitterness and resentment will eat you alive. But leading with amor and optimism can also be a death sentence. So to speak. There has to be balance. At least for me. I’m still working on achieving that balance. But I don’t do middle grounds well. I never have. I’m either all in or all out. 

One of my personal goals this year is to better control my emotions. Not let them control me. Stay out my feelings. Not become frustrated or angry over slights – imagined, perceived, or real. Don’t let what people say and do determine the course of my day(s). Remain unbothered. But when I love, I love hard. And when you cross me, I feel…crossed. I don’t try to hide it or pretend. And on the rare occasion that I do in order to protect myself, my poker face is poor. No one has ever accused me of fronting. My feelings about anyone or anything – good or bad – are apparent. You hear it in my tone. I wear it on my face. I can’t fake it.

I still remember being on the youth choir, marching down the middle aisle. Whichever relative or play-auntie was seated on the end would make eye contact with me and through barred teeth say, “Smile.” This was almost every 4th Sunday. Yet no one ever took my mug to mean “I don’t want to do this shit no more.” It’s amazing how people will overlook the obvious to suit their own interests. You can say in a million ways “I’m not feeling it,” and nothing will change on their behalf. There may be disingenuous inquiry (“You good? or “What’s wrong?”), but that’s it. 

And that’s fair. Who can blame them? Who can blame any of us? Humans are notoriously emotional. And other humans know that. Why bend over backwards to make adjustments over another person’s feelings? That’s their job. I used to think that was selfish or even cruel. Until I looked around. At good, decent, amazing people I know. Through them, I’ve come to realize it’s not unkind or unloving to prioritize your own feelings and to protect your own interests. It’s necessary. For fulfillment. For growth. For happiness. For sovereignty. Not all the time, but most of the time. You can acknowledge. You can empathize. You can consider. If you feel like it. But your desires are deserved. And your destiny awaits. Despite – not in spite of – feelings.

I’ve done it a lot. Putting others’ feelings first. And wound up with hurt feelings when I didn’t receive the same. And I have the right to feel whatever I want. We all do. But who cares? People are going to speak their minds. Live their lives. Do their thing. I hope. And so should you. I hope. And so should I. I will. I’ve been working on it; and the reality is, my days are smoother, and my sleep is sounder when I’m not overly concerned with feelings – mine or others. Feelings are typically fluid, not static. If you feel a certain way for a time – so be it. Take a moment. Be still. Reflect. Learn. About yourself. About how you relate to people and the world. If it feels good, keep it. If it feels bad, release it. 

The advisor needs to take the advice.

But I am building a new habit. Saying how I feel – plainly, directly, immediately. And if I don’t feel like it, I have a dope alternative. A routine with God, if you will. I breathe. I meditate. I pray. I turn on Sunday Service Choir. I write. And I open the Word. “For the mind set on the flesh is death, but the mind set on the Spirit is life and peace (Romans 8:6).”

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