Saturday, December 15, 2012


...I decided to take responsibility for what I wanted, and to trust God to take it from there.

Intuition may be one way of speaking about how God does that - takes things from here to there, I mean. Since intuition operates lower down the frontal lobe, it is not easy to talk about how it works. In general, I tend to not pay much attention to it until I have completed all my research, compiled my lists of pros and cons, and made a rational decision based on facts. then, when I cannot sleep because the rational decision seems all wrong to me, I start paying attention to to gyroscope of my intuition, which operates below the radar of my reason. I pay attention to recurring dreams and interesting coincidences. I let my feelings off the leash and follow them around. When something moves in my peripheral vision, I leave the path to investigate. It would be a pity to walk right by a burning bush. At this point, reason is all but useless to me. All that remains is trust. Will I trust my intuition or won't I? The more I do, the more intuitive I become. This is as close as I can come to describing the guidance of the Holy Spirit.

Barbara Brown Taylor, Leaving Church

In the language of the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator, I am an INFP, a personality type which is known to "engage the outside world primarily with intuition." (from the Wikipedia article) Barbara Brown Taylor's words here rang so powerfully true when I read them that I had to put the book down for an hour to settle the singing in my heart before I could bear to leave them to read on. For me, this quality of intuition is, as Brown Taylor describes, inextricably involved with my whole experience of the spiritual, indeed of the Holy Spirit.

It has taken me most of a lifetime to recover the sense of myself as who I am. Growing up as the only child of a painter and sculptor (my father, a musician and RAF officer, was absent for most of my childhood) in a beautiful village on the Sussex coast, I was a happy loner, a lover of life and of all that lived, until I found myself at a notably harsh boys' prep school, where I was taught to forget all that foolish trustingness, and to become as cruel and hard as any of my classmates - more so, since, to keep to the Myers Briggs typology, a personality type denied becomes its own shadow. I became defensive, and hid my real nature so deep that I all but forgot its existence. It was only the endless patience and ingenuity of God, mediated through so many people over the years, that allowed me back out into the sunlight and warmth, to the sound of the bees in the lavender, the touch of the long stamens of the Roses of Sharon.

How essential it is that we keep hold of who we are; how much more essential that we help each other to do so. Intuition, at least for those of us for whom it is a major function, is just as Barbara Brown Taylor describes, a gyroscope. More, for me at least, a gyrocompass that, set free by understanding and acceptance of what it is (and here the Myers Briggs indicator can be such a liberating thing) will, if I let it, keep me on a heading to God's purpose. I may not understand at all what that is, rationally, but "[a]t this point, reason is all but useless to me".

"All that remains is trust." And so it is. To trust, to open, to fall back into the everlasting arms of the God who made me part of all that is, is the sweet centre of what has come to be faith. "O Lord, my heart is not lifted up, my eyes are not raised too high; I do not occupy myself with things too great and too marvellous for me..." (Psalm 131.1)


  1. As a fellow INFP, I'm just gonna roll around in this post for a while, I think :)

  2. Bless you, Sue! Happy Christmas!