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INSTINCT Daily Readings
100 Insights That Will Uncover, Sharpen and Activate Your Instincts
By T. D. Jakes
Read by Brad Sanders
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In this collection of affirmations, meditations, and scriptures, T. D. Jakes shares 100 readings that will help you rediscover and reclaim your intuition and inner drive one day at a time when you:
- Listen to and hear your own deep instinctive rhythm
- Recognize your God-given inner wisdom
- Embrace your instinct to define your own destiny
Every day, these short, powerful messages will inspire you to use your instincts to become the person you were created and called to be.
Table of Contents
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As I began to look at this inner drive called instinct, I was surprised to realize that we all have instincts. Some of us have not activated our instincts, while others have tapped into that inner wisdom to enter into new heights.
So what is instinct? It is a combination of our observations that are synthesized through the filter of who we really are and our truest goals in life; it is the combination of the facts, data, information, and knowledge that nourishes us and gives us insight. Instinct also comes from the creativity, resilience, and resourcefulness that abide within. When we activate all of these attributes, we get an inner drive that can compel us to live fulfilling lives.
I'm pleased to share with you what I've learned from studying this amazing inner drive called instinct that God has placed inside each of us. Through the pages in this book, you will read 100 short insights based on my book Instinct: The Power to Unleash Your Inborn Drive, which will help you tap into your heart, gut feelings, hunches, and intuition for success in every area of your life. The readings are paired with Scripture to give you daily reminders to rediscover and reclaim your inner drive one day at a time.
In addition to the daily readings in this book, you can read Instinct to go more in depth and learn how to activate your God-given instincts for success. I know that a more fulfilled life awaits you as you embrace your instinct and become the person you were created to be!
T. D. Jakes
INSTINCT TO THRIVE
My son, do not let wisdom and understanding out of your sight, preserve sound judgment and discretion; they will be life for you, an ornament to grace your neck. Then you will go on your way in safety, and your foot will not stumble.
Proverbs 3:21-23, NIV
Instinct comes from our Creator. We are made in God's image, and he is the giver of good and perfect gifts (James 1:17); therefore, our instincts will reflect our Creator. Instincts bear the imprint of the divine.
So if it doesn't act or look like something God would bless or smile upon, it probably isn't instinct. It could be self-indulgent desires or compulsion, but it is not instinct. Instinct is not an uncontrollable urge; it is not self-indulgent desire; it is not arbitrary impulse or compulsion. Those inclinations are human and may resemble instinct, but they are not.
Our instincts help us meet God's intention for our lives, give us and others fulfillment, and give us dominion or reign over other creatures. While all living things have a proclivity to survive—or instincts to survive—we as humans also have instincts to thrive. We can use our instincts to live well and to live better, and to help others do the same. We are to use our God-given instincts to honor God, God's people, and God's creation. When we follow instinct and refuse to let wisdom out of sight, Scripture says we will have life—a fulfilled life. Like a fine necklace, wisdom adorns and makes everything beautiful, better, and more fulfilling.
Instinct can be seen as the little extra that makes a big difference. People who use instinct see a little more and a bit clearer than those who do not. Instinct followers allow wisdom to guide them toward better and the best, ultimately giving fulfillment.
When you use insight along with intellect, you are far more likely to succeed than people who just rely on intellect or who merely do what they are expected to do. The employee who follows the job description to a "T" does what he or she is expected to do. That's nice. But the person who exceeds expectations often uses instinct to go the extra mile, to anticipate what might need to be done, or to determine what the company actually could use to run more smoothly—that isn't on the job description. These people have followed an inner compass that tells them what cannot even be described.
As you learn to listen to your instincts not only to survive, but to thrive, dig deeply and pay attention to your inner voice, your guide. Spiritual people know that prayer can uncover much. Open your heart to God and allow your Creator to guide you. Your experience and observations and knowledge can be merged together to produce powerful insight that you and only you have. And only you can deliver it to the world. Whether in a small way or in a large way, we are all called to have an impact. You were born for a reason. Use your instincts to thrive, not simply to survive.
Lord, I thank you for giving me instincts and creating me to not only survive, but to thrive. Help me to open my heart to you and to the deep inclinations you've placed within me.
In Jesus' name. Amen.
Knowing what is right is like deep water in the heart; a wise person draws from the well within.
Proverbs 20:5, MSG
Many think instinct is something that only highly successful and prominent people have; they think the ordinary Joe just doesn't have it. But this couldn't be further from the truth. Instinct is very natural, and it is inside each of us.
No one is born without instincts. All of us have internal senses beyond the physical with which we can better determine what's next, what's safe, or even what's right. Our instincts speak to us daily, prompting us to pay attention, to listen more carefully, to sidestep danger, and to seize an opportunity.
Some may be more in tune with their instincts—and these people will tend to be more outwardly successful and maybe even more notable because of their accomplishments, but that doesn't mean they have anything we ourselves do not possess. Everyone has instincts, but some may be less inclined to listen to them. We, like all of God's creatures, come complete with instincts on the inside. From this inner sanctum springs wisdom we don't even know we possess. But in a fast-paced, busy world, we tend not to give ourselves the quiet moments of reflection that are needed to unleash our instincts.
Think about it: there are some things you just know. You don't even know how or why you know, you just do. This inner knowing is instinctive. It is as natural as the ability to sense when you've found the thing you were born to do. Unfortunately, many of us often spend our lives doing what we were trained to do. Some do what they were asked to do. And most of us to do what others need us to do. All the while, we wonder why the feeling of fulfillment eludes us.
Our Creator designed everything intentionally. Yet most of us live our lives wondering what God's intention for our life is. Worse still, there's an aching in our hearts as we sense that there has to be more in life: something beyond the monotonous compliance with convenient opportunities, which is the way most of us have lived our lives. It's why so many hard-working people dread going to work—not because they are lazy, but because they are unfulfilled. Those who are in touch with their instincts are like the ones described in today's Proverb; they draw out the wisdom that's in the heart. They spend time paying attention to motives as well as to what really stirs them. They don't ignore their passions or what God has placed in their hearts.
Without understanding the guidance that our innate God-given instincts provide us, we simply adjust to the urgency of circumstances, all the while sensing deep within that we were created for so much more. Yet the uncertainty or fear of pursuing this inner sense keeps us contained in the contrived cage of the ordinary. Simply put, we've never learned to rely on our instincts.
Regardless of where we are in life, it's not too late to align our lives with the inner wisdom of who we really are and what we were made to do. God, the Master Designer, has equipped us with a fundamental instinct that draws us to our divine reason for being. This sense of potential being realized is more fulfilling than any paycheck. It is the feeling of fitting in, like a piece in a puzzle, to form a greater picture than what we may be doing right now. It is the innate satisfaction that comes from giving the gifts that you and you alone can contribute to the world.
God, my Savior and Creator, please help me to pay attention to the stirrings in my heart. Help me use faith and wisdom to unlock those things you have called me to do.
In Jesus' name. Amen.
INSTINCTS AND IDENTITY
Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you. But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind.
James 1:4-6, NIV
Deeply spiritual people pray for true wisdom to be revealed. They understand that following instincts is really about following what God has placed inside of each of us. Are you ready to pray continuously and act upon God's prompting? It could mean the difference between a fulfilled life and just a regular, mundane existence. James 1:4-6 urges us to pray for wisdom if we lack it; and God, who is so merciful and generous, will reward us with wisdom. If you believe—and not doubt—God will provide the wisdom. Unfortunately, many people have not tapped into the power of prayer and have not recognized the need to ask for wisdom and discernment.
But most fulfilled, confident people live their lives following their instincts. It is intuitive to them. These individuals have answered the question, moved into the sweet spot, and been guided by God whose design is revealed in them. When we have the courage to leave the familiar and step into the destiny to which our instincts keep drawing us, we can live the same way.
I am not saying that tapping into your instincts will make you rich because I know that many rich people do not have keen instincts. I am not writing to say you will become famous by following your instincts. Too many famous people are miserable. I write to share with you the importance of being led into your fulfilled destiny by leaving the confines of your conventional cave and entering the open, sunny space where your heart longs to reside, where you will naturally hear your instincts and follow them.
It's a sad thing to live your life without this deep-rooted sense of connection to God's intention for your life. Like a light bulb without a lamp, this kind of disconnect fosters dark and foreboding feelings in the soul. Whether you are the manager or the employee, the homemaker or the home builder, what matters most is that you have been awakened to your godly design and enlightened to the inner fulfillment that it affords.
The place you will discover when instinct is your guide is far more fulfilling than any place you've been. Think of the fashion designers who do what they do beyond the training they received, with an inherent, instinctive flair for the latest trends. Interior decorators and graphic artists may wield this gift as well, but they are not the only ones. Athletes in the "zone," investors with a keen sense of timing, performers with the courage to audition for a role outside their fans' expectations all know what it means to function by their own unique internal compass.
Once you embrace the concept of following your inborn drive and begin to realize your potential, you better understand why you are so shaped and designed. You can now see why you were rejected in other places, why you grew bored in other roles, and why over and over you were haunted by the possibility that there's some place, some plan, some design to which you should be aligned.
Tap into your most powerful tool for recognizing instinct—prayer. And watch God lead you to a more fulfilling life.
Prayer answering God, I ask for your guidance and wisdom to help me live my life instinctively. Uncover my deepest passions and purpose so I might live a fulfilled and blessed life serving you and others.
In Jesus' name. Amen.
FLIP THE SCRIPT
We humans keep brainstorming options and plans, but GOD's purpose prevails.
Proverbs 19:21, MSG
Do you ever wonder what most successful people have in common? What fuels their engines and makes them do what they do? Many successful people are trailblazers—people who were not afraid to take a detour from well-planned, scripted lives. They set out and took risks that were not on their five-year plan. They weren't afraid to leave the cages of comfort or the scripted plans to head into the wilds of judicious risk and discovery. The job they took wasn't on their list. The new career wasn't a part of their plans. Going back to school, starting an organization or business wasn't in their view; but their instinct told them it was the right time and they should follow a new path.
These trailblazers—many who set out on a different path well after they were well on in years—followed a path that others would not. They took a detour in life and pursued something that wasn't completely laid out. All of these detours were either guided by instinctive decisions or somehow these trailblazers learned to incorporate an instinctive move that lifted them above their peers.
How is this done? In life, we all tend to make plans. The college student is often asked what they would like to be doing in five years or ten years. Newlyweds often have plans for their marriage, such as when they'd like to begin a family or purchase a home. Good business people make plans involving earnings and growth projections or vision statements that show how they'd like their product or services to develop and expand.
But what happens when a new opportunity becomes available? Can you forgo your preconceived plans and follow the new path? Or will you try to make what you have envisioned work? Could you try the different approach even though it wasn't in your plans?
It's not an easy answer, nor is it cut and dry. But this is where God-given instinct comes strongly into play. A trailblazer isn't afraid to pray about a move, a change in their plans.
Christian trailblazers realize and fully understand the Scripture that says we make plans, but God's purpose prevails. It is good to have plans. It is good to have an idea of where you want to be or what you want your business to do. It is foolish not to have a plan, an idea of where you want to go and what you want to do. If you don't, you're a drifter. But even with those well-laid plans, can you trust God when your instincts lead you in a new direction or to a new opportunity? Can you have faith to take a detour and follow the path that is unchartered, unprecedented, or not what you had figured out?
Trailblazers must have faith; they must move by instinct. They follow the inward urging even if it is not what they've written in their journals or business plans.
A person who is following their instinct will learn to discern opportunities and discern when God may be directing them to follow a different path. Truly, an instinct follower understands that God's purposes prevail, regardless of all of the brainstorming and plotting and planning. Instinct followers want to have their steps ordered by God so they will follow God's prompting—even if it's not in the plans, even if it's not written down, even if they can't download all of the points on the GPS. Trailblazers know when it's time to forgo their plans to follow God's purpose and plans. And they are ready!
Gracious God, teach me to hold my plans lightly and to offer them up to you. Give me wisdom to know when to stop and when to go. I desire to follow you and your plans more than anything.
EVOLVE INTO SUCCESS
And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them.
Romans 8:28, NLT
Another common denominator of successful people is evolution. Most successful people did not grow up or develop in an environment of success. They evolved into their achievements. It's almost as if their obscure lives led them to be successful. Obscurity preceded their accomplishment much like a mother who pushes through and births a child.
It could come as a surprise to you, but giving a child everything he or she dreams of doesn't necessarily create skills and ambitions in a kid. Those whose parents lack resources—poorer or less-indulged kids—are forced to imagine, develop, and create in ways that a child with lots of resources is not.
Being poor—or lacking some things—can make you desire different and more. Having limited resources can lead you to observe and imagine. And if it is channeled well, need can be an impetus for success. Everyone has a different story. But often those of us who didn't grow up with silver spoons in our mouths develop an instinct for success. Our less than ideal circumstances ignite a special flame, produce a hunger for more, and serve as a catalyst to seek something different.
While instinct is instilled in us at birth, learning to listen to it evolves from our life's experiences—from lack or even from exposure to much.
So don't curse your humble beginnings, your less than stellar beginnings, or whatever your circumstances. And if you were born into comfort and given it all, don't despair that God has no special assignment for you. God is such an awesome designer and creator that he can help you use those experiences and observations to catapult you to success by following your inborn drive.
What have you been through? What makes you happy or unhappy? Often our passions come from the things that get us excited or upset; it's often the same side of the coin. When we use everything that has been deposited within us, whether intentionally or unintentionally, we have the inner workings that can drive us to achieve more and to obtain success. How we process our experiences influences our instincts. So instead of finding reasons why you can't be successful or rehashing the particulars of your past, see them as a catalyst for bringing you to this point. See each experience as God weaving together your life's journey and story to bring out your inner gifts, skills, and inclinations.
Romans 8:28 makes it clear that things can work together to bring about good. Not everything is good, but everything can work toward good. Instead of being upset about how things are or how things were, remember that God might be weaving together all of those experiences to produce something good inside of you that can come out and do good in the world. Pay attention to all of the paths you've been down and all of the paths you go down. Whether they seem good or bad, allow God to use them for good.
You'll eventually see how your instincts were uniquely formed and developed and how they led you on your distinct path.
My Heavenly Hope, thank you for each of my experiences—the good, bad, and ugly. Help me to see how they have worked together to make me who I am and to create instincts inside of me. Help me to use those instincts to unleash what is innately inside of me and who you've called me to be and what you've called me to do. Thank you for working things together for my good.
In Jesus' name. Amen.
GIFTS COME FROM GOD
Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.
James 1:17, NIV
Our instincts are here to do more than just make us successful. Our instincts don't exist merely to enhance our experience here on earth. Our gifts should serve as constant reminders that God has placed into us all that we need. Our gifts should point back to the giver, God.
Think of it this way: What God has given us is our gift. How we use that gift is what we give back to God. And this operates in areas far beyond ministry.
We see people offering their gifts back to God in various ways: a poet who can turn words into inspiration; a singer who can lift a person's spirit through song; or a teacher who can inspire a child. Think about the business leader who develops a big corporation that provides jobs for many and services for more. Think about the architect who builds a building designed to handle the specific purpose of the structure. All of their gifts are not being used just to glorify themselves. In fact, the individuals are sometimes secondary to their gifts. They use their God-given gifts to help others. It's a gift back to God.
We all have been instinctively prewired with a gift or several gifts from God. It's what makes you you and not your brother or sister. Scripture reminds us that our gifts are from God. Everything that is good and perfect comes from God and should be used to glorify God by helping others.
Have you tapped into your natural gift? Have you treated it like a gift from God? Have you cherished it, honed it, perfected it, and are you continuing to perfect it? Or do you treat it like a burden? Do you shy away from what you know you should be doing? Do you downplay your gift, considering it not worthy of glory?
Consider a hospital and all it takes to make it work. If it was filled with only doctors, who would check us in, who would get the charts ready, and who would smile and greet us with an assuring glance when we entered the building? Who would make sure the instruments were clean and sterile? Who would clean the restrooms so we'd have a comfortable place to refresh ourselves? Who would prepare the meals for patients, staff, and visitors?
See how everyone working together makes a vital place like a hospital run? So you are to treat your gift—whether it is your JOB or not—with the ultimate respect. Work it and use it for God's glory and to help others.
Generous God, thank you for my gift. Thank you for instilling it in me. Help me to respect it and develop it and use it to glorify you.
PASSIONS AND HATE
One day, after Moses had grown up, he went out to where his own people were and watched them at their hard labor. He saw an Egyptian beating a Hebrew, one of his own people. Looking this way and that and seeing no one, he killed the Egyptian and hid him in the sand. The next day he went out and saw two Hebrews fighting. He asked the one in the wrong, "Why are you hitting your fellow Hebrew?"
Exodus 2:11-13, NIV
The LORD said to him [Moses], "Who gave human beings their mouths? Who makes them deaf or mute? Who gives them sight or makes them blind? Is it not I, the LORD? Now go; I will help you speak and will teach you what to say."
Exodus 4:11-12, NIV
Sometimes we have trouble identifying our highest passion and gift. It's important to understand that oftentimes you can find your passions not just in what you love, but also in what you passionately hate. Obviously, some people's passion is exemplified in what they love to do. Their personal preferences and professional proclivities make their positive passions easy to detect. But what you cannot stand is also a clue.
Think of Moses' example. He was born a Hebrew. He was Hebrew in every sense of the word; but he was raised, for all intents and purposes, an Egyptian. He lived in the king's palace. He grew up culturally as an Egyptian; but still, at his core, in his heart, he knew he was a Hebrew. And part of his passion surfaced in how he related to Hebrews—even though he could "pass" as an Egyptian. He had an intense passion for Hebrew people and a strong hatred for their mistreatment. See what he did when he saw an Egyptian beating a Hebrew? He passionately hated to see Hebrews being mistreated—by an Egyptian or by a fellow brother. He was so passionate about Hebrew mistreatment that it's noted in the Bible that he interfered at least twice (Exodus 2:11-13).
- "One of the nation's most popular evangelists --- and quite possibly the smartest."—USA TODAY
- "We can always count on a word from God through Bishop Jakes that will not only inspire us but will speak growth to our souls."—Tyler Perry, bestselling author, actor, and award-winning filmmaker
- "Bishop T.D. Jakes is a spiritual warrior who is a master of meeting mankind eye to eye. He is a global teacher whose insights and leadership serve the progressiveness of all people."—Stedman Graham, speaker, author, and entrepreneur
- T.D. Jakes has taken his trademark teaching from the pulpit and delivered it straight to readers in the pages of this inspiring book. He¹s a spiritual leader, humanitarian and educator who has a special talent for bringing out the best in others. 'Instinct' provides practical advice that will inspire many to embrace a new path on their way to leading extraordinary lives.—Debra L. Lee, Chairman & CEO, BET Networks
- With today's pressure to conform, whether to protect ourselves or fit in, finding our individuality and purpose falls on our priority lists. But to stand out and succeed, we have to know who we are and where our strengths lie. Bishop T.D. Jakes' newest book gives real world advice on how to look within yourself and pull out that inner voice, those instincts, and direct them to a facet of life that is best for you. Bishop Jakes has done it again.—Dr. Phil McGraw, Nationally syndicated television host and #1 New York Times bestselling author
- Again Bishop T.D. Jakes releases potential within us that enables us to excel and succeed. In this book he shares the awesome strategies by which his spectacular accomplishments have come to past. Read and succeed!—BISHOP CHARLES E. BLAKE, SR., Senior Pastor of West Angeles Church
- Bishop T.D. Jakes is an anointed leader whose leadership, integrity, passion, and devotion transforms.—RON KIRK, former mayor of Dallas
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- Oct 7, 2014
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