Have you ever gotten the advice to trust your gut?
Have you been unsure of whether it was your “gut” or your head?
I know I have.
If you’ve been through any kind of major trauma it can be hard to discern between intuition or trauma response. I just didn’t trust myself. I prayed for wisdom and discernment and occasionally, I would have these “super spiritual moments” where I would have clarity but in a matter of days or hours even, I would question whether that was really right. I relied more and more on opinions from trusted advisors to guide me.
I know I'm not alone!
It wasn't until recently that one of my all-time favorite pastors, Charles Stanley, gave me the language that helped demystify what trusting the Holy Spirit looks like in practice.
It is listening to the initial prompting of the Spirit.
Here's my example in practice:
At the top of this year, I got a prompting from the Spirit that now was the time for me to go back to work. It was indeed not me that came up with this idea because I was rather enjoying my freedom of schedule and time with family. I initially met this prompt with tentative excitement… interesting… well, it would be nice to get back out there in the business world, get dressed up, solve complex problems, work on a team, make money, etc. I prayed about it, I felt peace, all was good.
As the days wore on and it came time to search for open roles, my logic kicked in and said…
You don’t really want to go back to this, do you?
How will you be the wife and mother you want to be if you do this?
People will think you failed if you go back to working a 9-5, no matter how fancy the title or company.
And it proceeded to bring to mind a full laundry list of reasons why I shouldn’t do it.
This same mental battle ensued the entire time that I searched for worthwhile opportunities to pursue, with my back and forth causing the process to take a long 5 months of job-hide-and-go-seek.
I had lost sight of what I truly desired in this battle between intuition and logic (which is often just fear rationalized).
It took hearing that message about trusting the initial prompting of the Spirit, prayer, and reflection for me to go back and consider what that prompting was and to find peace in knowing that I had the right answer to my conundrum.
Now that I had that all figured out, I was able to…
Use intuition to determine the direction and logic to make the plan.
So, let's do it!
Let's start trusting our “guts” and using logic NOT to talk us out of it but to guide us into it.
Next time you are faced with confusion around an important decision, try this 4-step process for making wise decisions:
Step1: Ask / Pray- Ask "what path should I choose?" There’s so much mental clutter that can get in the way when you decide to think your way through a situation. It is the equivalent of trying to find your way out of a maze in a forest while trying to avoid all the wild animals you anticipate are hiding down each path. Also, fear (of failure, the unknown, people’s opinions) impairs our judgment. What do we believe apart from fear? We need wisdom and discernment from an elevated perspective.
Step 2: Listen to the initial prompting of the spirit. For me, this prompting has come in the form of dreams or an automatic knowing in (or immediately after) quiet prayer time or Bible reading. Some people have reported having this clarity after meditation (the focusing on your breath kind has not personally worked for me). Whenever it comes, write it down! You may need to revisit and remember this moment when faced with opposition in the next two steps. If for some reason you do not hear anything, even after making quiet space in your life, skip to the next step.
Step 3: Think - There is 100% a place for logic in the decision-making process. Think logically about how you can begin to put action toward moving in the direction you desire. Now you have clarity, it is ok and even necessary to engage logic—not to talk you out of moving in this direction but to figure out an action plan.
You can also use logic to quell the fears that will arise in the body and brain.
Will this work out? What about these red flags?
In this one-minute video, I share 3 quick exercises that may be helpful in building your stash of green flags and identifying the red flags :
Remember, it's up to you to determine whether the red flags are DO NOT ENTER signs or STOP (observe, use judgment to determine if safe, then go) signs.
Step 4: Act - Just do it! This is the last and most pivotal step. Don't get stuck in analysis paralysis. Take the first step in the direction of the highlighted path and don’t look back (unless it’s to remind yourself of that moment of clarity)!
If this seems lofty and idyllic to you, I assure you that it really is practical and achievable. Think back to a time you were in flow—when a certain area of your life was working together smoothly and in synchronicity with open doors and “chance” encounters. Chances are that you will find that this sequence of steps was at the heart of it, even if subconsciously: ask, listen, think, and act. You were not hesitating, overthinking, and resisting; you trusted the clarity and moved when you were not exactly sure how things would come together but that they would.
Trust that no matter how things work out, you are smarter, more mature in character, and have the power and ability to adjust based on the new information you have gathered. That in itself is a victory!
As always, I’m rooting for you!