You ever get a feeling, and then immediately after, something inside you discredits it?
I wrote a “poem” a few years ago where the first two lines went,
Trust your hunches, there’s a chance they’re holy.
Stop second-guessing yourself, you heard correctly.
Call them instincts, leadings, gut feelings … I think the dialogue that happens in our guts/bones/soul carries more weight than we give it credit for. And lately I’ve been wondering if there might be a pattern to it. Perhaps a code we can crack.
Quick story … Last summer we were searching for a babysitter. Leah was home with our newborn, Jane, and the clock was ticking on her maternity leave. Interview after interview left us with no viable option. Stress and disappointment filled our house. Then randomly, one day at work, I had this feeling that I should email two different, unconnected people (Katie and Jenna) and see if they knew anyone looking to be a near full-time babysitter. It was just a quiet, interior feeling. And almost instantly another feeling sounded off, only louder. It said,
“That’s stupid. They’ll think you’re weird for emailing them. Just don’t.”
I ignored that shaming-voice, risked looking stupid, and emailed Katie and Jenna separately. And long story short, they each led us to finding our babysitter—Briana. Had I listened to the second voice my family would’ve missed out on what Leah and I consider a literal godsend.
I wonder if the clue to noticing valid (and perhaps holy) nudges/leadings is the SECOND “voice.” The one that says, “That’s stupid.” in 3,000 different ways. Maybe this second, shaming feeling/whisper is the clue that we’re on the right track with that first feeling.
This pattern has happened enough in my personal and professional life that I’m taking the risk to share this theory out loud. I think sometimes we over-spiritualize what it means to hear from the Other. We assume only the super-spiritual people are having mountaintop encounters with God. But what if it’s way more pedestrian? Could blink hunches and nudges be a way God speaks to us?
I don’t feel comfortable giving a definitive answer to this question. But I know that I sometimes listen to the second voice like it’s God. Action trumps belief and I’m challenging you to join me in acting on the first voice. The next time you hear that shaming second voice go backwards one thought. What did you feel right before you decided it was stupid? As long as it’s a feeling to do something legal/helpful/good, take a risk and act on it.
The worst that could happen is you look stupid (which has its holy reward as well). The best that could happen is you might experience a literal godsend. Seems worth the risk.
Photo (Flickr CC) by Justin De La Ornellas