Other title options for this post were, “Smart people are fat, too.” Or “Smart people get divorced, too.” Or “Smart people commit suicide, too.” Or “Smart kids drop out, too.”
I remember very well the weekend my paradigm as an educator was rocked to the core; I was attending a Principal’s Conference in Washington D.C. I spent several days with a small group of very brilliant people wrestling with the neurology and theology of decision making and behavior.
Here’s a summary: We live out of our hearts, not our heads.
That can be expanded to: Getting smarter may not fix your problem. Or your children’s problem. Or your family’s problem. Or your job. Or your addiction. You get the point.
This can be devastating news to an educator. We live to help others get smarter.
These ideas rocked my world; I remember praying about this as I started my travels back home to Texas.
My conversation with God went something like this:
Me, while sitting in the Dulles Airport: “God, if this is true, You’re going to have to prove it to me – and help me understand.”
God: “Janet, look up.”
Looking up, my eyes caught the full panoramic view of the airport food court. It’s a big food court and there were no less than 50 people sitting at tables or looking for one.
More than 70% of these people were considerably overweight; I struggle with gaining weight, too.
I was prompted again. “Janet, keep looking.”
I did. Just behind the food court, I saw a giant newsstand – no less than 50-60 feet long. And more than 70% of the magazines were about diet, exercise, and healthy eating.
The conversation continued –
God: “Janet, if knowledge was enough, America would be the healthiest and fittest country in the world.”
Yeah, I know. It was a BGO for me, too. (Blinding glimpse of the obvious)
And it’s not just an issue with being overweight and out of shape. Self help books abound – about marriage, time management, learning problems, addictions… We have some of the largest seminaries and theological libraries in the world, too – and we all mourn when another church leader falls.
This, dear friends, is the truth of the original Good News. A new heart. A new nature. Our other heart is broken; our sinful nature can’t just be made smarter or be fixed. Good grades or behavior modification isn’t the protocol for a heart condition.
I knew there was a reason I’ve never found a single sticker chart or report card in the Gospels; Jesus never used one with His disciples. Instead, He built a relationship of trust and offered love.
I cringe when I think about how many times I exclaimed this to my children, “Don’t you know better?!”
Yes, yes they did. But we live out of our hearts, not our heads.
This sobering reality is our hope – not our demise. Christian education – and the Church – is about learning to live the new life with our new heart; it’s not about trying to live the old life smarter. “Love one another” is the perfect plan – so much more hope than “get everything right.”
I continue to watch, in my work with children and families, as God sanctifies our neurological wiring everyday we trust the truth about our new hearts. (http://janetnewberry/testimonials/)
Our thoughts come from our heart; our thoughts are the architect of our brains. Let’s live together in the kind of communities where we help each other live this new life – instead of training harder to improve the old one.
I look forward the having a conversation with you about this one; please leave a comment.