In his bestseller “Blink,” Malcom Gladwell discusses the effects of the human subconscious on everyday decisions, some of which are good and others bad. A positive example is when a music producer feels that an unknown artist has special talent and his hunch turns out to be correct when the artist records a hit. A negative example is when people exhibit racially discriminative behavior even though they perceive themselves to be against racism.
It is commonly believed that the more medical tests and opinions gathered for patients, the more accurate the diagnoses. But Gladwell claims that this is not always the case. Too many tests and opinions actually muddle the data, often resulting in wrong assessments. The intuitive diagnosis of an experienced doctor is accurate more often than not.
I’m an intuitive type. So when someone asks me why I made a certain decision, I sometimes have difficulty delineating the reasons. Because of this, when I worked at a research lab, it was hard for me to write funding proposals that required rational justifications or make long term plans that required detailed predictions of the future. Fortunately, the working environment there allowed a lot of freedom and creativity, so my work was fruitful.
Most of my ministry decisions are made based on my intuition. When I pray, sometimes a thought comes into my head out of nowhere. When I “feel” that it’s a good idea and follow through this intuition, the results have been good most of the time.
I’m grateful to our deacons – if they asked me to justify every ministry decision I made, exactly how I planned to accomplish them, or the exact outcomes I expected, I would have felt stifled and my ministry wouldn’t have been as effective as it has been. Instead, they’ve trusted me and supported my ideas as long as they weren’t against the Bible and didn’t have any glaring flaws.
I believe that the leading of the Spirit feels very much like intuition. So I try to be more impulsive (I’m naturally very cautious) and follow my intuition even in everyday life. When I make big decisions, I try to trust my intuition more than rational reasoning.
Of course, I don’t make big decisions impulsively. I test whether my thoughts indeed come from God. Ideas given by God often seem irrational at first but make more and more sense as I keep on praying. When I am reasonably convinced that they’re from God, I put them into action and the results are usually good.
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