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Reflect and Respond

This ministered to me so much this morning, from a book I am reading right now about ministry and true freedom from bondage

"If emotions can be teachers sent from God, it is perhaps the family of feelings around sadness-loneliness, hurt, discouragement, depression...that are the greatest teachers of all"
As I thought about my response to a request on the phone, I became aware I said yes because I didn't want to appear selfish. I can value myself enough to say, '[No.] I want and need _________.' Fill in the blank. 'Henri Nouwen once remarked that we ought to spend 50 percent of our time living our lives and the other 50 percent reflecting on what is being lived. Thinking is an ability given solely to human beings made in God's image. This gift enables us to respond to our feelings thoughtfully rather than to react hastily. We are to feel our feelings, but we are not always to follow them. The writer of Proverbs states, "Desire without knowledge is not good-how much more will hasty feet miss the way'" Prov.14:8
"One way to develop awareness of feelings is to keep a journal. This was a foundational discipline for me as I began to exercise long dormant 'feeling' muscles. Three to four times a week, I paused to reflect on the feelings I had experienced that day. During those 'feeling' workouts in my journal, I began to strengthen my awareness of what I was truly feeling. Over time, I got better at identifying my feelings in the moment so I didn't have to wait until later to acknowledge and express them. I also experienced greater freedom and peace from inner turmoil bc I was no longer suppressing or devaluing myself"(111)
"I paid attention to what was happening in the movements of my heart, revealing where I was depending on the approval of people for my value and worth instead of God's all-encompassing love"(109) Examining the root of our fears is important spiritual work. Fears about our value, worth, and lovability surface that are crucial for our transformation into the love and freedom God longs to grant us...We are not to deny our fears. In fact God invites us to identify them" and move through them with His power(106-7)

God is definitely putting me through the fire! I consider this pure JOY that cannot be stolen from me! The Joy of the Lord is my strength and I hold on to that!!! One day at a time. Discernment is one of the hardest for me! I am really trying to hone in and get quiet and listen to His still small voice. I want His direction and HIS path. There are thousands of options all the time, and my heart wants to do them all...but the enemy warps that by trying to get me to "over-function." So I am dying to the flesh -people-pleasing, approval addiction and learning what TRUE freedom in Christ is.
"Scripture...considers grieving losses as central to our spiritual growth"
It is a painful process and sometimes feels like a death...I have to mourn over it...mourn over that part of my "identity" as I die to that and am found NEW in His identity. He is refining, purifying and strengthening me for whatever is next. I am learning who Malorie really is...without all that other stuff that used to define, control and imprison me. I am realizing that one of my biggest ministry's is my recovery program...God is having me mentor a few girls and that has been amazing! I know it'll all tie together. we are designed, illumines our destiny.

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