Just Call Me Toots

I grew up identifying humility with humiliation. I had it in my head that when you became too prideful God came down from heaven to put the smackdown on you and take you down a notch or five. 
Who else grew up thinking of God this way? That whenever you were getting “too big for your britches” He would knock you down? 

 I tried really hard to stay under Gods radar so he wouldnt have to teach me any lessons since I was so scared of being embarrassed and making mistakes.  I think it all stems from my most embarrassing horror that ever happened to me…

It was the 6th grade, during math class.  My math class was right after lunch and at the time it was my favorite class.  I looked forward to it all day, every day, even test days. No, not becasue I loved math, in fact I hated math.  It was because I got to sit next to my 6th grade crush, Jeff Hopner. His freckled nose, his mouth full of braces, Jeff was the coolest boy in 6th grade. I was the chubby girl in our grade so I knew I had to win him over with my charm and wit and brains. Only, I was so shy around him and since I wasn’t all that great in math, I didn’t have too many opportunities to impress him.   Until that day.  It was a pretty ordinary day, the highlight so far had been italian dunkers for lunch.  Since I am a carb freak, I loved italian dunkers, those big slabs of garlic brad and the sauce in the little syrofoam cups to dunk them in, dee-lish! I always knew how to con my skinny friends into giving me their extra bread, they didn’t like italian dunkers because then their breath smelled like garlic the rest of the day.  I said, I don’t care, garlic gives me the farts, but I love it anyway, I’ll take yours!  And down the hatch my extra slices of garlic bread and sauce went.  Fast forward to math class.  Tummy gurgling, breath smelling and brain foggy from all the carbs overload, guess who gets called to the front for problem solving at the board? This girl!  And of course, since I was concentrating on holding in the garlic gas, I hadn’t been paying any attention and had no clue what problem I was supposed to be working on. But that isn’t the impressive part.  I’d like to say I figured it all out and impressed everyone including the teacher and Jeff Hopner with my mad skills on the board.  As I stood to walk to the front of the room after the teacher had to call my name twice, I let out the loudest fart in the history of farts, and not just loud, but long. So long I toot-toot-tooted my way to the front, each step immortalizing the moment with another toot.  I tried to hold it in. I tried to pinch a penny. But it was no use.  I was powerless to stop the toots.  And as I got to the front and picked up the chalk, Jeff said what they were all thinking. I’d like to remember it being said with reverance or approval, but it was said with a crinkling of that freckled nose turned up in disgust as he pinched his nostrils closed and immediately yelled, “EWWWW! Jeni sure knows how to toot her own horn- she farted!” I was mortified. And as any normal kid would do, or at least in my book of working hard not to be humiliated, I tried to deny it.  “I did not!” That sealed my fate for the rest of the year.  Not only was I that girl who farted, I was that girl who farted and then lied about it, which made it ten times worse.

And thus my fear of humility was born.

Being overly concerned with the approval of others. 

The need to lash out in anger or lies when embarrassed. 

Blaming others. Blaming God.   

Isolating. Not allowing my weakness to show.   

I shared all of this to say, breaking down the reasons for our behaviors, breaking apart the moldy facade to get to the real mortar and reinforce our foundation…all of that is meaningless and will cause us to spin our tires unless we keep this in mind…

True biblical humility implies that we see ourselves as God sees us. 
Not as others see us, not the identify our parents or friends, or peers or even Jeff Hopner puts on us, but that God puts on us as His children. It is putting ourselves in proper perspective in light of God’s plan. It does not matter what others think of us. What matters is, who are we modeling life after?

Appropriate humility is seen in Christ’s life, who emptied himself to obey God’s will, to serve others and to fulfill Gods plan for His life.  

We can do all the self analyzing we want to…read all the self help books we can get into our amazon account, but it isnt gonna make a world of difference unless we are willing to place ourselves under Gods control and submit to His will and plan for our lives.   Start today by reading the book of John.  It may just be the identity changer you need today.


Attention Retained

Then Christ will make his home in your hearts as you trust in him. Your roots will grow down into God’s love and keep you strong. And may you have the power to understand, as all God’s people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep his love is. May you experience the love of Christ, though it is too great to understand fully. Then you will be made complete with all the fullness of life and power that comes from God. (Ephesians 3:17-19 NLT)

Why did the apostle Paul pray for the church to be rooted and grounded in love?

In a 2012 poll taken, 76% of Americans identified themselves as Christians while only 36% of those attend church on a weekly basis. We attend church and listen to a sermon, message, teaching, whatever the title of the talk is, the point is the same- to teach us biblical principles and how we can relate to scripture and apply it to our own lives. The trouble with saying we are christian but not having regular church attendance is the lack of retention of what we learn or the ability to carry the principles we learn on any given Sunday morning into the rest of our week. Well, we can hardly call ourselves something we know nothing about. It would be like me calling myself a pilot because I fly as a passenger to Florida once a year. What’s more, there are different styles of learning and if we are not connected to a christian community the chances of retention drops dramatically.

Paul wanted all people to be made complete with the fullness of life and God’s power. To fully experience God and the love He is takes training. By learning how we and our children retain information we will be in a better position to practice biblical principles in all our affairs and thus gain a better understanding of God’s love and experience the promises He gives.

There are four styles of learning. They are visual, auditory, kinesthetic, and tactile. Here is a description taken from and article by Dr. Mary Smialek.

“Visual learners best remember what is seen. They tend to remember faces instead of names, are good readers and have good imaginations. They respond best to instruction that includes reading, posters, graphs and videos. Visual learners:
take copious notes
often close their eyes to visualize and remember
usually neat and clean with carefully coordinated clothing
benefit from illustrations and visual presentations
are attracted to written or spoken language rich in pictorial imagery
seek quiet, passive surroundings ideal

Auditory learners best remember what is heard. They remember names well, respond easily to phonics instruction and may like to talk when writing. They benefit most from instruction based on lectures, discussions and questioning. Some good methods to use with auditory learners include singing songs or listening to tapes that relate to content area to be studied and developing rhymes and mnemonics to help remember information. Auditory learners:
remember names, tend to forget faces
may not coordinate clothes but can explain what they have on and why
hum or talk to themselves
enjoy listening to themselves and others
likes to read aloud
remembers best by verbalizing
have difficulties reading maps or diagrams
have little trouble learning in a noisy environment

Kinesthetic learners learn best by doing, experimenting and involvement. These learners remember what was done, not necessarily what was seen or heard, and might have difficulty paying attention and staying focused on their schoolwork or homework. Kinesthetic learners benefit most from hands-on instruction, using manipulatives, role-playing or building things. Kinesthetic learners:
need to move around, be active and take frequent breaks
speak with their hands and with gestures
seek out and find ways to move around
tinker when bored
rely on what they can directly experience or perform
enjoy manipulating materials

Tactile learners like to use their hands and fingers to learn. Those learn best by writing, drawing, doodling and tend to be creative.They benefit from instructions such as sewing, painting or drawing. Tactile learners:
need to touch or feel objects when learning a new concept
enjoys designing things
likes to illustrate written work
finds sculpting, painting and drawing relaxing
Appreciates physically expressed encouragement (e.g. a pat on the back)”

It is not only helpful as individuals and parents to know the differences of learning styles to understand how we learn but it is helpful in understanding how we can teach. When you are involved in a church community you begin to serve. Whether you serve in a church service or the children’s programming, creating an environment that serves as many of these styles as possible helps church attenders retain and grow. And the more we know, the more we grow in Christ’s love. Make church attendance a part of your life, find one that suits not only your style of learning but everyone in the family. When we are connected to a church family we gain wisdom and understanding of humanity, ourselves and in the fullness of God, we are made complete.