Teaching to Learn and Learning to Teach


What’s new?

1. Items hung on my walls including the frames from the flea market. Cherilyn, you asked for pictures; here they are. The step stool with the suitcase on it is also “new” from the flea market.

2. Sweet Notes from Villains. Never got anything like this in my old job :).

3. Refreshment and rest looks like this:

4. My niece is still new in my mind and she’s most definitely blog worthy (at least in this doting aunt’s mind).

5. Sweazy won Gotcha! I don’t know how many played, but out of an enrollment of 1000 students, one of my girls got 120 cumulative kills. We had a Sweazy Alliance. Our motto was, “Don’t forsake the Alliance for cute boys.” I stayed in until Friday at which point I fell on my sword for the Sweazy Victory Chain. I had to stay in all week to protect a Sweazy friend who was below me, so I resorted to participating in all the safeties available except for Friday’s. Friday I was sick in bed, so I didn’t yell out “Ninja” at anyone dressed in black that might have tried to assassinate me :). Here are the other day’s safeties:

Monday – ride an imaginary horse
Tuesday – talk on a banana like a phone
Wednesday – in song narrate your day and what you are doing
Thursday – waddle like a penguin

I have never been so paranoid in my life. I heard helicopters everywhere, I had my banana at hand while shopping at Costco, I had full conversations with the banana to my face, I semi-waddled into a class off campus, I wouldn’t open my door when a student that wasn’t from Sweazy knocked. I made friends and watched the girls build relationships with one another and think through issues of life far beyond the game as a result of what the competition brought out both positive and negative in their hearts, relationships, and lives.

6. I was sick over the weekend, but am on the mend. It was a good time to reflect again on God’s kindness in making me stop, rest, and eat better. I’ve never eaten so much chicken soup or rehydrated with such mass quantities of Gatorade. It was also a humbling reminder that I’m not all that important. God is at work and He allows me to be a part of that, but you pull me out of the equation and He is still at work. I needed that reminder to not be overwhelmed with the needs, demands, and responsibilities before me. If you start to think of yourself too highly and try to compare the demands before you to “your personal resources” (I put that in quotes because a friend recently reminded me that my time, energy, strengths, giftedness, etc. are not really my resources.), you are going to get overwhelmed or feel that your resources are overwhelmed. When you see, however, God’s responsibility and care for all those things which is matched by his infinite wisdom and limitless resources, you are not overwhelmed but in awe and energized to move in in the strength He provides. He is matching your time and your giftedness as a miniscule part of His resources at His disposal to a specific situation in which He is working for believers good and His glory. It also helps you prioritize as you see how He is working apart from you and that everything doesn’t and shouldn’t involve you.

7. We’ve celebrated a birthday and had wing breakfasts at my place. Here’s a picture of my favorite RA Team celebrating Natalie’s birthday as well as a few other pics for your enjoyment. We had a lemon and turquoise theme. Lemons are Natalie’s favorite fruit and turquoise her favorite color.

8. Tonight we had an event called Sardines and Shakes or Murder and Malts. This is a traditional Sweazy event during which we turn off the power to the dorm and in the dark either play Sardines or dub someone “the murderer” and play an intense game of hide and seek. We wash all the fun down with shakes or malts afterwards :).

9. My favorite blogger on contemporary Christian issues and thought, who is the recent author of The Next Story: Life and Faith After the Digital Explosion, has been around campus speaking in chapel, classes, and participating in a Q&A. My personal thinking and campus conversations have been shaped by his messages. His first chapel message dealt with all speech flowing from the heart and what that reveals. He challenged us to consider how all of God’s commands for our speech apply to how we communicate through email, texts, Facebook, or blogging. His next message dealt with technology’s use as a part of the command to subdue and have dominion over the earth, but he went on to show how the fall affects that in a way where technology starts shaping and changing us to recreate us in its image or to run our lives. It also draws us in and promises us fulfillment and happiness and encourages us to rest and trust in it. We can be idolatrous about technology. He challenged us in the midst of a world of beeps and distractions to think about how to limit distractions and carve out time to think. Shallow thinking = shallow living and the many beeps in our life on our phones, dishwashers, coffee pots, microwaves, etc. are not discerning in when they beep. They just do their job, as they were designed to do, drawing us away from whatever we are doing at the moment. You can listen to those messages by clicking on the links above or by going to http://www2.masters.edu/pulpit/ . I hope to consider and blog more on this soon.

10. NANC – well NANC itself isn’t new, but the NANC Conference will be new for me this year. I’m very much looking forward to it.



Read it!

An amazing story of God’s saving power! The Son of the Religious Leader of Hamas becoming a believer?!!!!? What?!? That should not surprise me. Salvation belongs to the Lord. He graciously saves undeserving people. This story made me reflect on how my salvation was no small work and that it was all of Him. Reflecting on the salvation and transformation of a Hamas Leader’s son or on my own salvation and sanctification should equally lead me to awe, wonder, worship, and thanksgiving.

This book clearly presents the hardships of the Palestinian people while showing how wrong and how lost they are. It is a great reminder that the only hope for the Middle East or for any of us is Jesus Christ. There is no true peace apart from Him. His kingdom is not advanced by armies, wars, politicians or peace summits. His peace advances through the proclamation and acceptance of the gospel by individuals.

Here is a little segment from the introduction to whet your appetite:

“I could have been a hero and made my people proud of me. I knew what kind of hero they were looking for: a fighter who dedicated his life and family to the cause of a nation. Even if I was killed, they would have told my story for generations to come and been proud of me forever, but in reality, I would not have been much of a hero.
Instead, I became a traitor in the eyes of my people. Although I once brought pride to you, I now bring you only shame. Although I was once the royal prince, I am now a stranger in a foreign country fighting against the enemy of loneliness and darkness.
I know you see me as a traitor; please understand it was not you I chose to betray, but your understanding of what it means to be a hero. When Middle Easter nations – Jews and Arabs alike – start to understand some of what I understand, only then will there be peace. And if my Lord was rejected for saving the world from the punishment of hell, I don’t mind being a reject!”



Perfectionism, Guilt, and a Savior

There is no such thing as false guilt. We are all guilty. The Scriptural idea of guilt is the actual state a sinner is in as the guilty party. My feeling of guilt, however, may or may not correspond to my actual guilt. My problem was I had set up my own kingdom with my own laws and when I failed to keep them I felt the need to pay or blame. Jesus didn’t die to make me sovereign, for me to be perfect at everything I do or for me to be praised by others. He didn’t die so that my will might be done, so I didn’t run to the cross when I came up short, but the cross is where I needed to turn.

Piper speaks of this sense of guilt or shame and of the true guilt behind it:

We are so focused on the sense of guilt that comes from failing in front of other people’s eyes, that we fail to recognize our true guilt of being “self-centered” rather than “God-centered” (134).

Another author speaks of what sin truly needs to be repented of in this case:

Setting up one’s own standard is not only pride that needs to be confessed and repented of, but it is god-playing the “essence of sin” (Freedom from Guilt, 15).

This world isn’t meant to be perfect. I’m not the one who is supposed to be in control. I sought to be perfect, almighty, provider, with infinite resources and all wisdom. This is God’s role. He is the one that should get the glory and will get the glory and that might happen through my failure rather than through my accomplishments (Psalm 76:10; Acts 4:27-28; II Cor. 3:4-5; 4:7)” (Overcoming Fear, Worry, and Anxiety 98). God never promised I would be perfect, but He has promised to work everything, even my failures, for my good and His glory (Romans 8:28-29;  Overcoming Fear, Worry, and Anxiety, 98). I wasn’t meant to be perfect apart from Christ (I Cor. 2:6; Phil 3:15; Col 2:10). I needed to repent of perfectionism that sought a coup d’état and when I did that I took my place as a loyal subject who is living for the Sovereign’s kingdom purposes.

His opinion and his standards are really what matter and those have been met in Christ’s life, death, and resurrection. If I seek my own kingdom or my own righteousness, I will come up short, experience guilt, and payment will be required. This will affect all of my relationships as I will seek to punish those who frustrate my plans. When my kingdom fails with no one to blame but myself, I might then try to punish myself or to run to escape the guilt. Everyone has an ingrained understanding that they are guilty of a penalty because of sin, “consequently, some people nurse their regrets and cling to their grief… to punish themselves. Unconsciously they want to pay for their sins” (Here’s How You Can Handle Guilt, 9). The other option, would be to turn to the Savior who already paid the penalty for sins.

It seems at first that one who has set up their own standards could not turn to the savior because he didn’t die for their standards and their kingdom, but all are truly guilty before God. The fact that Christ did not die for my kingdom and yet I was setting up my own kingdom was exactly
what I was guilty of and what I needed to repent of. Satan would love to tempt me to be so focused on feelings of guilt from violating my own law that I don’t look to Christ to forgive my pride, arrogance, and my self-sufficiency. He would like me to continue to contemplate my own lack of perfection, instead of turning to Christ’s perfection being imputed to me. He would like me to continue to strive for self-sufficiency instead of seeing the sufficient completed work of Christ who rose again and is seated in the throne room of God. He would like me to continue to strive to “serve” people in a way that brings glory to me and shows me to be the provider instead of a way that is dependent and points to Christ.

Once I recognized my idolatry, my pride, my arrogance of setting up my kingdom against God’s, I realized that was what I needed to take to the cross. Jesus died to pay for that. He died so I didn’t have to live that kind of a futile life. He died so that I might stand complete in Him. He died so that I could make much of Him and not of me. This was liberating. My sin and pride, my laws and rules, had kept me from turning to Christ, but that is exactly where I needed to turn. Not to confess my failure to keep the refrigerator well stocked or to keep every machine in the office running but to confess my self-sufficiency, my independence, my pride, my glory-seeking, and my people pleasing. When I turned to the cross, I tasted of the truth of Jesus’ words, “Take my yoke upon you and learn from me for I am gentle and lowly in heart and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”



Perfectionism, Guilt, and a Scapegoat

While I was thinking through perfectionism and guilt, I found that I was having difficult, grumpy conversations with people.

I wasn’t able to meet my own standard of perfection and now I was looking for someone else to blame. I was devastated when someone pointed out my error and frustrated when someone upsets my plans or what I felt I had to do. It’s my standard and I can’t meet it so I have to blame someone otherwise I have to bear the guilt.

By making myself the lawmaker, I erected my own laws according to my own kingdom purposes, and I judged anyone who got in my way. This may take the form of depriving one’s children of the appropriate amount of food or of adequate clothing in order to be a good steward or one may think that loving one’s neighbor means she has to have every neighbor over for dinner each month, or that working as unto the Lord means that one must put in 80 hours a week.

Elyse Fitzpatrick explains that “elevating personal preferences to the status of moral rightness ultimately makes life oppressive.” (Overcoming Fear, Worry, and Anxiety 91). It leads to fear when one cannot obey his own standard, panic when others fail expectations, and “the nagging feeling that everything is about to blow up” (Overcoming Fear, Worry, and Anxiety 91). Amen! I now see that that was true of my life.

Recognizing that I was punishing others for my failure to meet my own standards has made a huge difference in my social life. I now spend more time with others and am more gracious to others when they fail, even though I have a long way to go. I see things as more of an opportunity and less burdensome.

One key moment illustrated this change in my life. One of my intern messed up. It was a small thing, it wasn’t eternal, but it was a common sense thing and she messed up in front of my boss. That would have absolutely devastated me five months ago and I would have punished my intern with my disdain and coldness. In this case I let her know how she should do that task in the future.There was a second of “I want to run away. I’m not good enough at this job,” but instead of lasting anywhere from one day to a week and starting a downward spiral, it lasted less than a minute.



Perfectionism, Guilt, and Social Settings

Enter friend #3 who was faithful to speak into my life. While chatting with a coworker/friend one day about how I thought I was antisocial, she said,

“Jenn, why do you feel like you don’t do well in social gatherings? How come you think you aren’t social?”

“I don’t know how to end conversations and I can’t talk to everyone in the room.”

“Do you have to talk to everyone in the room? Sometimes is it good to continue that conversation with that one person? I think you set up rules and standards for yourself.”

She was right. I did set up laws for myself. When I sets up rules, standards, and laws for myself and I failed, my law had been violated and now someone needed to pay or there needed to be some atonement. That left me with two options: punishment or run.



More on Rest

Happy Sunday! The last post made me think of this article entitled “Human Flourishing” that our staff recently read. Read it today! It’s excellent.



Tis the Season

I’ve started Christmas shopping. Have you? That along with  a post on this blog got me thinking about the best kinds of gifts.

What is the most loved gift you have ever received?

I’m going to tailor this question to my answer instead of really answering. I’ve received so many great gifts in my life that it wouldn’t be easy to answer. I will tell you that my favorite gifts are gifts that  I never knew I needed or wanted that when I got I wonder how I ever did without it. Jason, Bel, and Laura are extremely good at this. Another category of my most-loved gifts is the thoughtful, heart-warming gifts. These are gifts like a survival pack for Israel…a sleeping bag and duffel to use on trips to visit a friend who is moving, etc… Kellie Z. and once again Bel and Laura are GREAT at this. Lastly, I love the gifts that are useful, practical, and sometimes given out of season (not during your birthday month or December). My MOM and family are fantastic with this.

What is the most useful gift you have ever received?
Sleeping bag and duffel

What is the most loved gift you were given?
I really love my word travel’s map that says “The World Travels of Jennifer ‘Nacho’ Kintner.” It was given to me by my brother Jeremy and my parents.

What is your favorite home item that you purchased or found for yourself?
Hands down my Pottery Barn desk. I also like my bird salt and pepper shakers, my “Good times” sign, and my pedestal bowl with artificial lemons.

What is your favorite little treat especially for guests?
Venezuelan food, Thai cuzine, pizza, and any home-baked goods.

What dishware do you use on a daily basis?
My roommates’ dishes and my $1 cute bowls from Home Goods!

 

Do you have any great gift-finds you are giving this Christmas? If so, please share.

 

Related Post: Great Gifts