Looking back, there are plenty of times I wish I would have reacted slower, considered how others felt, or researched more. But, when faced with a decision, I tend to assess and act. Sometimes it works well, other times not so much. Even as time softens your rough edges, maturity insists you embrace your instincts. Think, feel, and do in whichever order fits you best.
Think, Feel, and Do
All three instincts show up in your life to varying degrees of success, but instinctively you lean on one most. When you’re facing a decision or situation requiring action, instinctively you will think, feel, or do first.
Spend time working with a group, before long you’ll know how each person is wired.
The thinkers dig deep into information. They long to understand and become an expert on each topic. A world of possibilities exists and their minds require a thorough examination of every possible outcome. For them, emotions can’t be trusted and action requires certainty.
Those most apt to feel and consider the heart of situations focus on the people in the room. Sitting at the table, the feelers read the needs of others and their connections. Who feels unseen or unheard? They draw them in. Entering the room brings both excitement and apprehension. Can they be themselves? Is authenticity welcomed? Are they safe?
And the doers…they show up, hear what they need to hear, take action, and possibly hurt someone’s feelings as they solve the problem. Your best bet is to give them the information they need, point out the injustice, and step aside.
Room for all three
Here’s the good news—it doesn’t matter which instinct you naturally gravitate towards. They are all a beautiful representation of God’s character and are all desperately needed! There is no right order or better way.
“As Jesus and his disciples were on their way, he came to a village where a woman named Martha opened her home to him. She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet listening to what he said. But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made.” (Luke 10:38-40a)
In this story, we see Martha focusing on what needs to be done, the myriad tasks required to properly host a guest. Meanwhile, her sister is sitting with Jesus, listening to him teach. As Martha works, Mary connects. Jesus tells us that in this instance, Mary chose better. What he doesn’t say is that Martha should never work hard to prepare for guests. Instead, she must discern when her presence is more valuable than her efforts.
“Now when Jesus came, he found that Lazarus had already been in the tomb four days…So when Martha heard that Jesus was coming, she went and met him, but Mary remained seated in the house.” (John 11:17-20)
Martha’s passion and assertiveness don’t deter Jesus from comforting her, entertaining her requests, or using her to share the truth about his purpose. “Now, Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus. So, when he heard that Lazarus was ill, he stayed two days longer in the place where he was.” (John 11:5-6)
Jesus knew Martha. He knew she would confront him about his delayed arrival. In her mourning, she would demand answers about why her brother had to die. But still, Jesus chose to include Martha as a recipient and messenger for the miracle of Lazurus’ resurrection.
Don’t be afraid to embrace all three instincts of your instincts.
If you’re a thinker, allow yourself to consider others’ feelings or take action with sufficient but incomplete information. Instead of allowing feelings to make all your decisions, occasionally push yourself to study more deeply or make a gut decision. And if you find yourself acting quickly, pause every so often to consider those around you or allow yourself to become an expert in your current pursuit.
Embrace your instincts
You, with your unique perspective and instincts, are needed. Without the balance of each instinct, we miss a portion of God’s character. Our concept of love is dwarfed by his overwhelming passion and grace. His wisdom extends beyond our comprehension. Without limits of space and time, he is in all places and able to do all things.
In small ways, you demonstrate his wisdom, love, and determination.
Your next steps
Do you tend to think, feel, or do first? Consider how to embrace your instincts, soften the edges, and encourages others. Need help starting? Use my 1-page Think, Feel, & Do – Understanding Your Instincts Worksheet.