We all have instincts. Some people’s instincts are better than others, and some people are more in touch with their instincts. TV shows and movies adore characters with strong (and correct) instinctual responses. The more I see these characters “trust their guts” or “follow a hunch,” the more I try to get in tune with my own instincts.
Here’s the problem I run into: every time I try to trust my instincts I either second guess myself to the point of choosing something other than what my gut said, or I just randomly guess at something saying it was a “gut feeling,” but knowing it was just a guess (usually not even educated).
For me, I was raised to believe pretty much every “gut instinct” I have is the result of Satan’s tempting me. The problem with this is it has made me second guess myself. It also makes me feel guilty for feeling happy, causing me to become more depressed and miserable any time my life starts to improve.
By no means should everyone just “follow their hunches,” but teaching people their innermost desires are innately evil simply causes so much doubt surrounding every decision made, feeling held, or even simple thoughts. I have caught myself on the way down a very slippery slope in my thoughts, where the first misstep was because of doubting whether or not my own enjoyment of reading meant I shouldn’t.
Some friends postulate I read too much (instead of being social), but I like to read. Reading makes me happy, and is a hell of a lot easier than trying to interact with other people (way too much thought has to go into each and every portion of interaction). I’ll be the first to admit I probably over-react to these sorts of things, but my (ex)husband refused to allow me to read any fiction whatsoever for over a year (I didn’t read fiction again until after I left him) because it is escapist (duh!!!!), and escapism is a sin.
How is escapism a sin? Well, if you love God, you love the reality he created and placed you in (because he loves you so much!), and won’t want to escape from it ever. If you truly love God, then you should always be happy and smiling and cheerful, no matter how much your life sucks because you trust God and know that He put you here for a very special purpose.
Any time I read, anytime someone asks me how much (or how fast) I read, I feel momentarily guilty. I second guess my own instincts. I love to read, it makes me happy, and I can’t make sense of how it is wrong. Yet, I can’t trust my own instincts (especially regarding right and wrong) because I have always been taught to believe “if it’s fun, it’s a sin… if it sucks, you’re on the right track. Just make yourself be happy about it, or it proves you don’t really love God.”