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Trusting Your Gut

by Suzanne Woods Fisher

A few years ago, I was staying in a nice hotel-very safe, oriented to business clientele. As I went into an elevator, a hotel employee came in behind me. He waited until I pressed a button for my floor, then he smiled, as if that was just the floor he needed. Something just didn’t seem right. In my head…an alarm bell went off. You know the feeling-the hair on the back of your neck rises, your heart starts pounding. Confined in a moving elevator, I wasn’t sure what to do. As soon as the elevator doors opened, I hurried to my room and locked the door. (Looking back, I should have stayed in the elevator and gone right back down to the lobby.)

Each of the rooms in this hotel had a small box near the door, kind of a large mail chute-to deliver a newspaper, mail or messages, leave shoes to be shined, that sort of thing. Through the peephole of the door, I saw this employee kneel and peer into each mail chute. I wasn’t sure if he was checking to see if someone was alone, or maybe watching women as they dressed, or who knew what else was on his mind. Clearly, he wasn’t picking up shoes to shine or delivering newspapers. I called security right away to report him. Thankfully, nothing happened to me, but the point was . . . I sensed that something didn’t feel right seconds after the employee walked into the elevator.

Before I began the ‘Inn at Eagle Hill’ series, I happened to watch a segment on the Today show that showed how women needed to learn to listen to their instincts to keep them safe in social situations. The point of the study was that a woman’s first instinct in a dangerous situation was probably the right one. Unfortunately, trained to be polite, women tend to override or ignore that internal warning system. Like I did, in that elevator.

So I wanted to create a character who listened to her intuition and acted on it. That character ended up being Naomi King, an essential but background figure in the first two stories of the series (The Letters, The Calling)-which was just the way Naomi liked things. But in the third book, The Revealing, Naomi has the spotlight turned on her and we find she is a woman of great depth. Early in the story, she listens to her intuition despite the fact that doing so creates all kinds of conflict and turmoil-for her and for others. Standing up against societal pressure is never easy, especially when it involves those you love and respect. Even more difficult for a quiet and compliant Amish woman. But Naomi holds firm-and it turns out, her intuition is spot-on.

What are your thoughts about intuition? Do you think of it as a hunch, a gut feeling, common sense, a learned experience, or Something More? Perhaps you’ve had a moment like mine . . . when you heeded your intuition. Or wished you had.

I think of intuition as that still, small voice that takes practice to listen to and to recognize (John 10:4). But what a difference it makes.

SuzanneWoods FisherSuzanne Woods Fisher is the bestselling author of ‘The Stoney Ridge Seasons’ and ‘The Lancaster County Secrets’ series, as well as nonfiction books about the Amish, including Amish Peace. She is a Christy award finalist and a Carol award winner. Her interest in the Anabaptist culture can be directly traced to her grandfather, who was raised in the Old German Baptist Brethren Church in Franklin County, Pennsylvania. Suzanne hosts the blog Amish Wisdom, and has a free downloadable app, Amish Wisdom, that delivers a daily Penn Dutch proverb to your smart phone. She lives with her family in the San Francisco Bay Area. You can find Suzanne on-line at www.suzannewoodsfisher.com. She loves to hear from readers!

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3 Responses to Trusting Your Gut

  1. “Gut” instincts is a survival instinct instilled in us by our creator, but we have grown away from relying upon. Intuition and premonition are the sensory devices God built into us to sense when things just are not right and danger lurks. We have become more and more secure in our environment and this been removed from needing to rely on our “gut” instincts, which is sad, because so many tragedies could be avoided if only others had trusted their “gut” more!

  2. So agree. I truly believe women have built in radar and so many times do not listen to it because we don’t want to appear rude. Rude is better than dead.

  3. Mike…I liked how you phrased the gut instinct. Thank you! And Patricia…so true. Grateful to both of you for chiming in on the topic. Warmly, Suzanne

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