Summer is quickly coming to a close (say it isn’t so!!!!) and as the calendar would have it, the traditional academic year will soon begin.Since I’ve worked in higher education for so long, a significant majority of my friends are educators. One friend in particular, Dr. Shauntae Brown White, is implementing a new syllabus that incorporates a layered curriculum, originally created by Dr. Kathie Nunley. So, if you’re unfamiliar with it, as I, it is designed to take the mystery out of the lesson plan for a course, by providing every component to the learner in advance. Further, the curriculum is divided into three layers, to correspond to a letter grade of C, B and A. If the learner elects to do the bare minimum, the learner will earn a letter grade of C; a bit more, a B, and everything, an A. It’s a fascinating concept by which I cannot wait to witness my friend’s experience. Yet, dang on it, here comes the Holy Spirit suggesting to me that as much as I would desire a layered curriculum to be operationalized in my life – it just ain’t happening. How sway you ask?
God doesn’t expect us to work for the bare minimum. In fact, as we grow and mature in Christ, there is an expectation that we opt into the highest level of the curriculum, aka life, and that is to strive for an A. So, when we are confronted with difficulty (as we will), particularly as we’ve cultivated our faith, God desires for us to respond as though we are in a 400 level course or above. For example, when we are babes in Christ, and someone disappoints us, not saying anything mean about them when we see them, may be the best we can do (C); as compared to a more deepened relationship with Christ, when we are expected to pray, speak and even forgive the person (A). As tiring as the complexities of life may be, it is the Father’s good pleasure to give us the Kingdom (Luke 12:32). We know it, and yet when we are experiencing life below even a “C” it is hard to consider that God recalls that we are still enrolled and on the roster.
The layered curriculum provides the comprehensiveness of details up front. Don’t expect this to happen in God. We don’t know what will happen from day to day, but we do know how things will end; and in the end, we will be victorious! The fact of the matter is that once we accept Christ, despite how many trials and tests are set before us, we can rest on the certainty that each layer we encounter will enable us to get closer to God and strengthen our faith. Just as I did as a child, determine now how you want your report card to end before you begin. Keep that in the forefront of your frontal each time you engage in battle. You are securing a passing grade for the generations that will follow. Ultimately, we must want God to be pleased. I know that I navigate my curriculum of life in a juxtaposed manner – sometimes C, other times A, still some days below grade. May God grant me (and you) consistency to strive for an A in all areas of life – spouse, parent, child, sibling, colleague, neighbor and believer. May we not be slack in demonstrating the fruit of the spirit to everyone we encounter, even when they don’t. There are layers of God and as we navigate difficulty, we get to know Him more, His character, His voice and His love. And as we come to know more of Him, it’s like we’ve got access to the answers in the back of the book – no matter what we encounter! Blessed be God – and the curriculum that leads us to exceptional time after time. For wisdom is a defence, and money is a defence: but the excellency of knowledge is, that wisdom giveth life to them that have it (Ecclesiastes 7:12). To those enrolled in Dr. White’s class, get ready because #sheready. Happy New Year!