I have learned several self-defense moves in my taekwondo class at KICS. It's part of each belt rank, and I'm so grateful to know them. The thing is, out of all I have learned there is one that I use most often and one that you can learn without ever stepping foot into a self-defense class. That is simply listening to my gut.
When I was younger I took my safety for granted, and assumed I'd be able to take care of myself if need be, or someone nearby would do such for me. I went wherever I wanted and behaved however I wished. Spirit led would not have described who I was at that time.
But even during that time, before I knew what I was doing, I listened to my gut. If I got a funny feeling I would look around, walk away, call out to someone nearby. If my gut was telling me someone wasn't safe I left them alone. I would go without care, but if that feeling hit I would listen.
As I got a little older I learned to stop listening to that feeling. I got it in my head that I was only listening to myself, and that wasn't the Christian thing to do. I would push away the feelings, ignore the little voice in my head, and continue reaching out to someone who would hurt me, or I would go where I shouldn't. After all, I didn't want to be led willy-nilly by my own heart. I had been told over and over again that I couldn't do that. So I stopped listening and following that gut instinct.
Now I know better. Our God created us with an innate sense that we should listen to. He gave us a true feeling of fear that we need to pay attention to and heed. He has given us an amazing body which actually does notice things before our senses do. He directs us and leads us if we wish to listen and obey.
I pay attention when I'm shopping and about to leave a store. I look around in the parking lot to see who else is out there. I plan where I'm going before I head out. I run with only one earbud in so that I can hear those around me. I park under a light and close to the store at night. I keep my distance when someone I don't know is talking to me. I am aware of what's going on around me and I listen to my gut even if I can't explain it.
What's interesting is there have been many times I have listened to that voice about things that weren't life threatening. Do the yard today. Take the trip on Saturday instead. Buy an extra skein of yarn. I'm always grateful I listened. There have also been times I didn't listen. Go speak to her. Reach out to her. Ask her why she did that. Those are now times I wonder what would have happened if I only had obeyed.
Please know, I'm not saying if you always listen to your gut you will never be in a dangerous situation. I'm not saying there are only certain places or times when bad things can happen. I'm only saying your gut is one of the most important defenses you have, and paying attention to the messages it sends you is huge.
If you aren't in the habit of listening and trusting yourself, try it today. Listen for that voice, pay attention to your gut, and see what happens when you do so.