Intensive Coursework

Sometimes I feel like I am taking an advanced course — like the three-weeks-in-the-summer-six-hours-a-day course that earns you three credits.   One summer in college, I took a course called ‘Teaching the Christian Faith’.  After sitting in class all day, I would go home and work all night to prepare for the next class.  During those three weeks I felt like I was eating, breathing, and sleeping with ‘Teaching the Christian Faith’. I think I remember making my friends sit around one evening while I gave them an object lesson — something about preferring an old sweatshirt to a new clean garment — so that I could practice before I stood in front of the whole class.

I am forty-eight years old and I am no longer enrolled in college, but, guys, I am taking one of those courses right now. The course seems to have started about the time I started writing this blog, and it seems to have several course objectives.  And, apparently I am not mastering these objectives very quickly.

If I were the teacher, this is how I would state the objectives:

I will acknowledge that God is God and I am not. 

I will learn how to be still and know that He is God. 

I will trust God for His provision. 

I will wait for God to establish the work of my hands. 

I will understand that I am sitting in the palm of His hand. 

I know these are the objectives, because they are the themes that come up repeatedly in my blogging.  And, if you haven’t figured it out by now, blogging — actually all writing — is, for me, a way of processing thoughts, issues of faith, and emotions.

But these objectives show up outside of my writing, too. Yesterday in church, our pastor said “We need to acknowledge that God is God and we are not.”  He also said, and had as one of the points in his outline, “Be still.  Now.”  I can’t make this stuff up.

I also get everyday practical exercises to ensure that I will master this content:

  • Bills that seem too large to pay — Trust God for His provision.
  • An interview that resulted in, “we’re going in another direction” — God will establish the work of my hands.
  • Life circumstances that seem overwhelming — Be still and know that He is God. 

My last blog was about money.  The numbers aren’t all adding up on paper. (My husband reminded me over the weekend that they never have.) So, I have been trying my old MO — need money? work more! I went to an interview on Friday for a proofreading position — full time (and some overtime) for March through July or August. While I was contemplating this position, I was working out in my mind how I could keep my tutoring and proofreading clients.  I mean, how hard can it be?  I’m sure I can do it!

I was discussing all this with one of my daughters, who not too long ago observed me lying in bed for several hours a day. She remarked, “That sounds like a lot.”  I responded, “I think I can manage.”  So, I went to the interview which involved two hours of proofreading a biology lab manual.  As I was marking misspellings and font shifts, I was thinking, “I could do this 40-50 hours a week.  That would solve some of our money issues.”

When I am at the front of a classroom and a student gives me a wrong answer after weeks and weeks of instruction, I have been known to make a buzzer noise and ask the ‘next contestant’ if he has the correct answer. I mean, come on, we have been over this and over this.

On Friday, I confidently turned in my proofreading ‘test’ and walked out the front door of the publishing house, thinking to myself, “Yup, I will be working here very soon.”  But before I even got home the buzzer sounded. “Wrong answer!”  I had a message from the publishing house that said that had chosen a ‘different candidate’.  What?  I thought you were hiring several.  I thought you were building a pool of freelancers that you could call in for special projects? I was going to solve all of our problems.

Buzzzzzzzzzzzz!  Wrong answer!

This morning I open my Bible study.  (Are you tired of reading those words yet?) Here is the text; I am not kidding.

Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you of not more value than they?  Which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life? … But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness and all these things will be added to you. 

Sometimes when my students don’t get an objective, I present the material over and over — in multiple packages — praying, hoping that I will find just the right combination of direct instruction, practice, and external reinforcement to make it stick.

The Master Teacher is skilled in multi-modal instruction.  He is aware of my special learning needs.  He does not grow weary or frustrated when I continually go back to my old ways, even after weeks and weeks of instruction.  He just prepares another lesson for me, knowing that eventually, I will “know fully, even as I have been fully known.”

Until then, I will be taking this class.

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