sometimes you just need to trust your gut

What had he gotten himself into?

My oldest son was a middle schooler, and he was going to try out for the high school soccer team. A family friend had convinced my wife and I that if he would try out, he would make the team. We asked him about it and he decided to give it a go.

But there was a problem…he was petrified. My cautious firstborn would not get out of the car. The guys on the practice field were huge, and Andy was having some major second thoughts. Eating a plate of vegetables while holding hands with a girl in public (did I mention that he was painfully shy?) would have been much more tolerable than walking out onto that field. There were tears in his eyes.

My wife was in the car with Andy, and she had a difficult decision to make. Was it time to nudge the little bird out of the nest, or should she dry his tears, return home, and let him wait until high school to try out?

Sometimes you just need to trust your gut.

If you’re a parent, you have either been in this spot, or you are going to be. We will all face difficult decisions with our children that involve no clear-cut solutions. And this really comes into play when our kids hit their teenage years. Do I hand them the keys to the car? Do I let them stay out later? Do I let my daughter go out with a young man I don’t know? And if I let her go, for how long should I interrogate the young man beforehand? What level of fear do I want to instill in him? Is it illegal for me to request that he wear a shock collar? You know, those sorts of things.

Can we trust our gut?

What exactly is our “gut” anyway? If you are a follower of Jesus, you have a HUGE advantage in this regard. Trusting your gut takes on a much deeper meaning.

In John 16:7 Jesus mentions to the disciples that it is to their advantage that He leaves them. The reason? So that “The Helper” may come. I absolutely love it that Jesus refers to the Holy Spirit as “The Helper.” God’s presence residing within us to HELP us. I don’t know about you, but as a parent, I’ll take all the help I can get, and when it is in the form of God living inside of us…wow! Trusting your gut becomes a supernatural experience–the Creator of the universe helping us with difficult decisions.

Pause for a moment and let that sink in.

But there is another way “The Helper” comes to our aid as parents. The Holy Spirit changes our lives and makes us more like Jesus. Think about how that plays out in your relationship with your spouse. The more we become like Jesus, the more compassionate, kind, gentle, and understanding we are. We will be better spouses. In turn, this leads to a better normal for our kids. They see our love for God manifesting itself in our love for each other. The house is being shaped into a home. Have I mentioned just how important this is?

Meanwhile, back at the ranch, what did my wife do?

She painfully nudged him out the door. It was one of the most difficult things she has ever had to do, but it was one of the best things that has ever happened to Andy. He made the team and played for the next three years. But more importantly, my cautious, shy son learned that sometimes we have to do things that are not comfortable or easy, but it’s the best thing for us. That was 10 years ago. This summer he will return to Colorado to guide rafts down Brown’s Canyon for the sixth season…my shy, cautious first born.

Sometimes you just need to trust your gut.


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