Dr. Stephen Phinney | August 12, 2020 |
Feeling stupid is an expression of the flesh. Why? Because the flesh is stupid. Since we live in an earth bound flesh-tent, our fleshly stupidity sets itself against the indwelling Spirit. As a result, the Spirit sets itself against our stupidity.
For the flesh sets its desire against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; for these are in opposition to one another, so that you may not do the things that you please. (Galatians 5:17)
I would be a liar if I didn't say my fleshly feelings of stupidity didn't war with Christ in me. It is my greatest weakness. However, I will be the first to admit that Christ wins that reoccurring war almost every time.
If your feeling stupid, just admit it.
Recently, I received notification from my editors in California, stating, my writing is 99% more accurate than other clients. My stupid flesh laughed.
After a brief dialogue with my editors, I discovered something rather alarming. Most writers today have lost the art of of using words to communicate - due to their propensity & habit of using the social network texting language. Yes. There is a specified language titled, textese.
One of the fleshly sensitivities I have to this date is my weakness in grammar and proper understanding of the rules of sentence structure. My excuse, my flesh is lazy. Once I figured out that the mind of Christ was living within me, and how to tap into His mind, my ability to articulate words improved dramatically.
A neurologist friend taught me something unforgettable.
He revealed my method of communicating & writing is based on word pictures. Further noting, due to being illiterate throughout your childhood, you depended on pictures to communicate, while learning content. Scary thought. He said this modality is common for a growing illiterate populous but, in my case, this weakness became my greatest strength. Meaning, as he continued, people who communicate through pictures are quicker to process the meaning of life, and its complexities. He said most genus's think in pictures. Back then, he challenged me to master the English language and its rules of engagement. Stating, once the two learning styles come together, a genus will come forward.
Well, I wasn't interested in being a genus. What I was interested in was being a gifted communicator of the indwelling Truths of the Living Christ. His challenge sent me into a study of the gifts of the Holy Spirit. This study aroused my mind significantly. From there, I rushed into learning the "art" of using words. This required me to face my childhood ideations of "feeling" stupid.
A Little History
After I pushed through my education rejection, I decided to enter my undergraduate program at Colorado Christian University. Within weeks of registering in “bonehead English,” my English teacher fronted me. He said you are too advanced for this course – I am placing you in Advanced English. In my mind, I thought he had lost his. He was convinced that my mind retards itself when not challenged with concepts beyond my mental awareness. At the time, I was clueless as to what that meant. As it turns out, this professor tapped into a childhood weakness, while turning it into a strength. It was in his class that God birthed a passion to learn to write.
The Roots of My Fleshly Weakness
During junior high, I was greeted with a new level of rejection. My junior high teacher pressured me to perform in school work that didn't exist in me. Not sure why, but as I jumped from school to school, and believe me, there were plenty of them, not one school communicated with another as to my inability to read or write. The result of this lack of communication resulted in me feeling like a failure in every place I attended school.
By the time I arrived in Jr. High, extreme fears and phobias had developed in my soul. As this new teacher applied pressure, I pulled deeper and deeper into my little "bubble." I began to detach from humans in general. Her way of dealing with this was putting me in front of the class and using public embarrassment to motivate me. The results were obvious; I withdrew all the more.
One particular time was during a classroom public spelling-bee. When it came to my turn, she announced the word I was to spell. Great laughter broke out due to my inability to know the first letter of the word she choose. She verbally gave me word upon word to spell with failure upon each request. Once the class shouted out, Steve is a dummy; Steve is a dummy – she allowed me to sit down. My response to this was drawing her pictures, which was the only thing I did well. I figured that this might be a way to please her and gain her favor and acceptance.
Several years ago, I was asked to submit a story to be published in an alumni book - for they were perplexed as to my doctorate. After much prayer, I decided to do this. I told my story openly and honestly. Keep in mind, this teacher was in her 90's at the time of the publication. She reads my entry, and writes me a letter of reconciliation – seeking my forgiveness. She died six-weeks later. After her death, her daughter sends me all the pictures I drew for her during those tumultuous times, carefully marked & dated.
By the time I got to high school, I was fearful beyond words could describe. My illiteracy was my worse enemy. I worked tirelessly to get through every class by studying the pictures and listening to the teacher's words. When it came to testing, my photographic memory regurgitated what I absorbed from pictures and lectures – always requesting verbal testing.
The modality worked until one day in literature class (then a junior). The teacher gave a homework assignment - to read any book from the school library and write a written report. Hum. What was I to do? Since I learned basic words, I picked a basic book – a Kindergarten picture book. With less than ten words per page, I moved forward. My report was just as short since I copied a letter for a letter out of the story rhyme. After class one day, she asked me to stay behind. She requested that I go with her to the library and show her the book I read. With great resistance, while wandering the library, she picked up a book and said, is this it. Ouch, she caught me. She took me back to the classroom and put in a line reader into her machine. (Line readers are machines that feed you a few words at a time highlighted by a light.) She started on slow then asked me what I read. I was clueless about how to answer. She then put the machine on high speed and once again asked me what the story was communicating. I feed her the full story.
It was this high school teacher that showed me my mind comprehends faster with speed reading. Her revelation started a change in my passion to read and write. From that day forward, I developed a style of photographic reading. Meaning, I let my mind capture the words, find pictures to match the words I didn't understand & shazam! The pictures sealed each word in my memory - to this day I might add.
Years later, I was invited to attend an Evelyn Woods Speed Reading conference. Since the idea fascinated me, I went. To my surprise, I came out top of the class. While this citation comforted my stupid flesh, it revealed yet another curiosity.
Within a few short years, I was invited to tell my story to a group of politicians who were constructing a bill on illiteracy. After delivering my speech, this neurologist I spoke of earlier, who was also a brain surgeon, came up afterward and asked me a peculiar question. Have you been told why your mind works this way? To that, I said no. He went on to tell me that people with photographic memories are unable to learn as most people. He said that people think in pictures, not words. Since you worked your way through childhood on pictures and lectures, your mind was functioning in its proper neurological framing. He concluded that my greatest childhood weakness had formed a quick and brilliant mind.
Within weeks of this luncheon, several politicians decided I would make a great poster-child for their new policy. I was asked by the Governor to serve as the state's first Faith-based Representative. With this position, I told my story from a state level, into the White House administration & ultimately finishing in several countries.
After my experience with this brain surgeon, I discovered a Biblical, yet neurological truth – God had a plan in my grief pattern birthed through childhood rejections. It was in this single revelation that God launched me as a confident communicator, who tapped into the mind of Christ.
Today, when I feel stupid, I am reminded to admit to my flesh being stupid, take up the mind of Christ, and say what needs to be said out of obedience. Today, my mind is consumed with a message to the nations of "not I, but Christ."
Truly, all things do work together for God's good!
Until next time...
A message to the nations. Watch Now