If Step 11 could be boiled down to one word, I think that word would be 'discernment.' The general definition of this word is ' to judge well.' The Christian definition is a lot more involved - 'perception in the absence of judgment with a view to obtaining spiritual direction and understanding.' Yep, Step 11 is discernment.
Discernment is a bit tough for me as my Roman Catholic patriarchal God never spoke to me. I've spent a lot of time in church - stations of the cross, school masses once a week, weekend mass, weddings, eucharistic adoration, missions, praying for vocations, the rosary, funerals, and even penance services and God has never spoken to me. I didn't craft a personal relationship with a silent God. I didn't feel close to a God that appeared to require rote prayer and ritual as the means of one-way communication. So when it came out that Mother Theresa had very dark times in her faith as God did not speak to her for long spells, I could grasp that loneliness she must have felt since at one time God talked to her.
Despite this, discernment has some usefulness in determining how to determine what is the right path. I really liked this particular website's general principles of discernment (Discernment by Peter Kreeft
). I am going to summarize the 5 principles of discernment here:
1. Always use data
2. Let your heart educate your mind
3. Have a soft heart but a hard head
4. All of God's signs should add up (scripture, church teaching, human reason, the appropriate situation or circumstance, our conscience, our individual desire, and prayer)
5. Look for the fruit's of the spirit (particularly love, joy, and peace).
I really like these discernment steps and may try to use them with the issues I continue to struggle with - self forgiveness and the loneliness in my marriage.