by Annette Bridges. ©2009. All rights reserved.

Perhaps sometimes temptation gets a bad wrap. Certainly it’s wise to keep our wits about us so not to fall prey to seduction and allurements that would lead us down troublesome paths. But are there times when we’re tempted to act and don’t when perhaps we should have?

I asked my daughter if she has ever had such a moment and she said just this past week she was tempted to speak up in a college class and didn’t. Then she said the professor proceeded to answer his question in exactly the way she would have if she had acted upon her temptation.

I recall a time when I was tempted to introduce myself to a new neighbor but didn’t do so for months. When I finally did, we became great friends and I wished I had acted upon my temptation earlier.

In the same like I remember when I got my first apartment. I found the one that fit perfectly into my budget, but something didn’t feel right, and I was tempted to not sign the contract and keep looking. But because I was in a hurry and was afraid I might not find another in my budget, I moved into this apartment and soon afterward could not wait to move out.

There have been jobs that I took even though I was tempted not to — and it turned out I shouldn’t have. And there have been invitations that I was tempted to turn down, but didn’t — and should have. However, I’m not consumed with regrets, my friends, because hopefully I’ve learned to make wiser choices along the way.

In fact, in all of these instances, better decisions probably would have been made if only instinct had been trusted. Whether we call it a hunch, a vibe or a feeling in our bones, we all have an innate spiritual intuition that would point us in the right direction if only heeded.

So what is it that keeps us from listening to our better instincts and following those good temptations that would help us make better decisions, help us figure out when or what to trust, help us to do things that are right for us and others, and help us live our lives to the fullest?

Some might say a lack of confidence, self-doubt, insecurity, shyness, desperation and so on. Everything on our list would undoubtedly be rooted in fear — fear of rejection, of being wrong, of being embarrassed, of being humiliated, of making a mistake, or of not being successful or good enough. But listening to our instincts stops fear from clouding our reason.

Many of us like to weigh the pros and cons of everything. But my husband often says, “Study long, study wrong.” And I admit I’ve often been good at talking myself out of things. Indeed, there are studies popping up that support the idea of trusting our instincts.

One study I came across, reportedly published in the Journal of Consumer Research, concluded that people who deliberate about decisions reach less accurate conclusions than people who trust their instincts. And another study that was conducted by the University College London also found that people are more likely to perform well, if they do not think too hard and instead trust their instincts.

I love the story in the Bible that illustrates to me how Elijah learned to listen to his spiritual intuition. Elijah was very distraught and unsure what he would do next. He was standing on a mountain hoping for God to give him guidance. The Bible speaks of a strong wind, earthquake and fire that came, but God wasn’t in any of those. Then there was a “still small voice.” (I Kings 19:11-12)

That still, small voice is indicative of our God-given spiritual intuition. Our fears may seem like a strong wind, earthquake or fire, and these fears tend to confuse our better judgment. But nothing can silence God’s voice to us. We will hear His guidance as we learn to trust our instincts — our inner voice that will direct us to what is good.

You and I are intuitive thinkers. God made us this way. I have no doubt that you’ll find your instincts are correct whether they are telling you yes or no — to do or not to do. So trust them! And be sure to act upon those good temptations that will assure your life is satisfying and fulfilling.