Natural Instincts – Part 2

Blog – 2-12-21

Last week I shared my story about pulling a calf. I haven’t been able to get that whole thing off my mind. I keep thinking about the incredible natural instincts of animals that help keep them alive and producing new life. Yet when I think about our natural instincts as humans, I realize that so many of them are actually NOT good for us and in reality work against us. I think about how hard it is to surrender, for instance, because our natural instinct is to be self-sufficient and independent.  We fight temptations constantly to do things or not do things that “feel good” but aren’t good for us. Like eating the entire bag of chips. Spending hours on our devices instead of in conversation with our families. Hitting the snooze button instead of getting up and getting that workout in. Here’s what one of my readers sent me in response to my blog (used with permission), which goes right along with what I’ve been pondering: Hi Jill- Love your description of calf-pulling. Much more enjoyable than my experience. About 25 years ago I was blessed to be able to help a very uncooperative first-time mama birth her calf. We had to work hard for her to bond with the little one. She had major post-partum depression, but we were finally able on day three to get this stubborn cow to nurse her baby boy. Glad we were around to intervene! Otherwise, the poor little boy wouldn’t have made it. That stubborn cow, unfortunately, reflects some of the humans I have encountered during my life. That was a lesson I will remember for a long time. God set things up to work out the way you saw it happen. Our broken world doesn’t always “deliver” a perfect story. We are called to help move things along according to God’s plan when we see it heading the wrong direction. I love and appreciate the insight in her words, and those were some of the thoughts I had been wrestling with for this week’s follow-up. Life definitely doesn’t “deliver” perfect stories, but the Bible tells us very clearly that God’s plans for us are good, plans to prosper us and give us hope and a future (Jeremiah 29:11). So how do we find our way in the midst of all the brokenness around us? How do we move forward in confidence when we don’t get that perfect story we desire? How do we not give in to our natural instincts when they are working against us? With the gift of freewill and intellect comes an eternal battle in our spirits. We must constantly battle what our instincts tell us to do vs. what walking in faith prompts us to. We are predisposed to fear when confronted with stress rather than trust that God has it. We are predisposed to retaliate in anger when someone hurts us rather than responding with the mercy God lavishes on us. We are predisposed to giving up when things get too hard rather than pressing on towards the prize which calls us heavenward. The little book of Jude talks about this in depth in its one and only chapter. It lists how immorality has gotten into the church, how people are getting into trouble because they are following their natural instincts down immoral, ungodly paths. Verse 19 reads:

These are the people who divide you,  who follow mere natural instincts and do not have the Spirit. Jude 1:19 (NIV)

I believe this verse from this tiny book in the Bible gives us the greatest tool  we have to fight against our natural instincts, the Holy Spirit. When we choose to listen to the Spirit rather than what feels good in the moment, we are going to thrive, just like that baby calf.  When we listen to that “still small voice” that warns us to keep our mouth shut and keep our opinion to ourselves, we don’t have to live with the leftover regret.  When we listen to the Spirit’s promptings and step out in faith, even when the odds feel stacked against us, we can accomplish more than we dream or imagine. When we let go of our stubbornness and choose surrender, admitting that we can’t do this life on our own, we can know the fullness of His perfect peace. When we move closer to God when our lives get hard instead of running away, we will feel the warmth of His tender love for us, just like Daisy felt the love of her Mama. Natural instincts are great. They keep us safe. But if we aren’t careful, they will absolutely work against us. Hugs and love, Jill

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