Thursday, June 27, 2013

When You Know What You Know What You Know

I first heard that line from the late, great, gospel pioneer Rev. James Cleveland when he testified during one of his songs about overhearing the hospital nurse say she didn't think he would make it during one of his bouts of illness. He said he knew without a shadow of a doubt that he would pull through. And although he did pass some few years later, during that particular hardship, he knew what he felt...and he was right.

I too have had my own moments of "unexplainable knowing" throughout my life (an uncanny trait I'm told I inherited from my late grandmother, Sallie), and I had one spine-tingling moment coupled with an extreme act of bravery just this week. After boarding a flight for a business trip in Chicago, I realized we had fallen behind the departure time without any explanation from the flight crew. A few minutes later, the pilot informed the passengers that maintenance was working on the engine, but all would be fine and we would be leaving soon. Instantly, I felt uneasy in an uncharacteristic way that I've only experienced a few times in my life. That uneasiness quickly grew into an unexplained, rapid-breathing panic, and I knew the window of time was closing for me to follow my gut and make a hard decision.

In that instant, I hit the flight attendant call button and told her I wanted to get off of the plane. She didn't challenge my decision, but her expression showed a slight look of skepticism. That alone could have caused many of us to forgo that decision. But I retrieved my bags, headed up the aisle, and made my solo exit. I was placed on a flight leaving an hour later and with that I felt a calm restore and breathed a sigh of relief although I knew I would be late for a meeting I was managing. When it was time to board my new flight, I went to the gate and discovered my original flight had been grounded and that everyone had to disembark--including the flight attendant who I spoke with, who was now sitting in the waiting area with her entire crew. I took no joy in what had happened to the other passengers, but I did feel extreme victory in knowing I had fought against doubt; the "norm"; questionable looks; and, instead, made a decision that not only saved me time (those passengers who got off were not able to rebook on the next flight like I did) but may have also saved my life!

That got me to thinking about how often we choose NOT to follow our gut or--as I like to call it--listen to God speaking into our spirits. Oprah loves to ask, "What do you know for sure?" That list may be long for some and short for others. But what I do know is that we know a lot more than we give ourselves credit for. The problem is that many times we simply prefer NOT to know. Although Chris Rock has a great joke about this, there lies an abundance of truth in that statement that have cost many of us an insurmountable amount of time, money, and pain.

How many times have we known the person we were in relation with was not who we should be with, yet we continue on because accepting that truth may leave us single or criticized? Or how about knowing the man who just got on the elevator with us in that dark parking garage seems questionable, but because we don't want to "judge" or cause hurt feelings by existing a floor earlier, we stay on and possibly put our lives in danger? How about knowing something in our body just doesn't feel right, but instead of checking on it we choose to take a few antacids and hope for the best? Or how about investing in a business venture that you're not 100% at peace with yet running the risk of losing your life's fortune because you're hoping for a successful outcome instead? There have been countless stories of misfortune that have begun with a person saying, "You know, I knew...but...." Unfortunately, hindsight is 20/20, but often we aren't as "blind" as we like to portray we are.

Thankfully, God gives us all that tiny "alarm clock" inside to wake us up to situations that may not serve us best. Yet, we tend to hit the "snooze button" often instead to save face, save time, or simply because we don't think we have the strength to face the outcome. Trust and believe, if God is there to bring you to it, He'll bring you through it. But we must first listen and then be obedient to what we hear. Never turn off or ignore your connection to the main line. You may be getting a "call" designed to save your joy, wealth, health...or even life.

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