We're reading *Having a Mary Spirit: Allowing God to Change Us From The Inside Out by Joanna Weaver. In this book are discussion questions that go with each chapter so we've been reading two at a time and then following up with the discussion questions in a small group setting.
Now, I could easily go on and on about the small group I'm a part of but I think it's more important to share with you about what I've been learning from this.
I'll start by saying, I need to read this book again. I haven't even read it through once yet, and I know I need to read it again. There is a wealth of knowledge and understanding in its pages. Joanna is so honest but she's gentle at the same time. So, while I am reading something that makes me say "Oh, man. That's me. Ugh!", by the time I've read through her explanation and advice, I feel much better and know that what needs to change in me will as long as I trust God through it. It's not a book that shames me at all. Rather, it's a book that challenges me and changes my heart.
One thing I've been learning about is "Flesh Woman". If you read this book, you'll read A LOT about Flesh Woman. She's the person inside that wants what she wants. She does what she thinks is best and rarely has a filter. Every decision is based on the thoughts of "I want. I think. I feel." and following through on these thoughts leads to disaster. I mean, it can get really ugly. If you are a woman or know a woman, you know how those 3 statements can really REALLY get in the way of logic and...well...even peace sometimes.
This past week, we were talking about resentment and bitterness in my small group as that was the topic of the chapters we read. One quote from the book hit me like a lightning bolt and I couldn't wait to share about it with my small group gals. Are you ready for it? It is
I'm learning I don't have to be offended. It's my choice. It's what I do with what happens to me.And there it is. The truth. It's a truth that is a lot easier said than done, but it's a truth nonetheless.
When I read that for the first time, I'm pretty sure I stared at that bit of the page reading it over and over again. I wanted it to saturate me or make its way into my heart through osmosis or something. "I don't have to be offended. I don't have to be offended." I read it different ways each time until I had full understanding.
How many of you know that when you learn something, you have to also learn to apply it?
Well, I had my turn at that too.
It happened just after my book study/Bible study night. Words were said to me that, at first, cut through me and hurt me to my core. I had a whole mouth full of questions and words that I wanted to say in response. I felt my heart begin to race. I felt the tears streaming down my face. And I hurt.
But I remembered what I had just learned. I remembered that I have a choice with my reaction and response. And honestly, it was hard to not take what I just heard personal. It was hard to take the hurt I felt and surrender it to God. By His grace, I was able to shut off the "I want. I think. I feel." noise in my mind and listen to wisdom.
And since I was able to take captive the negative thoughts and surrender them, I was able to respond in a right way. I was able to speak my heart and swallow my pride.
Was it easy? No.
Did I cry through it? Yes.
Was it right? I'm confident that I handled myself and my choice of words the way I should have and I'll just have to wait and see the final outcome to it all. (That's the hard part. LOL)
And let's not forget. In the meantime, I have to TRUST God that "all things work together for good to them that love God..." (Romans 8:28). It's not always easy. I'm tempted to go right back to feeling hurt...even today. But I continually lay that down and choose to not be offended as well as choose to love.
No, it's not denial. I know that what was said hurt me. I am just learning to control myself and how I respond or react to being hurt. It's a good thing.
Long story, short. The book is GOOD. Go grab a copy and read for yourself. :)
**The link above was only used to point readers to a reference point where they can get more information on the book should they choose to buy it. I was not compensated at all for sharing about the book. And of course, my opinion is my own and may be different from others.