Friday, March 11, 2011
Crammin' for Tests
So, I just ended a day in which I tried to help my 8th graders cram for their big, state tests next week. We will cram again on Monday. Tests are Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. By the way, I also have some parent-teacher conferences thrown in on those days just for fun. And, yes, I am being sarcastic.
Truth be told, the testing success of my students will rely more on what we've done in class every day for the entire school year...not solely in the last few hours leading up to the tests.
Stink! I feel a convicting, life tie-in coming on...
How many times have a I been faced with a crisis - or test - and scrambled as fast as I could to find my dusty Bible? (Sound familiar to anyone out there?) How many times have I asked God to give me "big" opportunities or challenges only to be reminded that I was greatly struggling just trying to handle the "lesser" ones He had already entrusted me with?
As I age, and (please, dear Lord let it be so) mature in Christ, I don't find myself enjoying life's tests any more than I ever have, but I am finding them not to be as earth-shattering to navigate. This is probably in large part due to the fact that I now try to study God's Word a bit each day, instead of waiting to cram it and fit it in right at the "midnight hour." Now, we are blessed in that the Lord still tends to bail us out of rough situations, even if we haven't done our part. Actually, this would pretty much be the crux of the Gospel. But, it does seem pretty silly to not be communicating with and learning about this amazing, heroic God every chance we get.
I mean, we're sure quick to holler His name when we're in a jam...in plain English...we're users. Not so Sunday School sweet when you put it that way, is it?
When I was a teenager, I would often doodle, daydream, pass notes or sleep when I was in class. I would procrastinate writing important papers and studying for tests. Many a late night, I would desperately ask my parents to please "pray for me"...secretly thinking that would make their child sound very spiritually minded. They weren't ever as impressed as I thought they should be. I typically got an answer like, "Well, we'll pray for God to help bring to mind all of the good stuff you've been studying and working so diligently to learn. That's about all we can do." Smarty-pants parents.
I don't like tests whether I'm studied up or not. And let's face it, some tests are more difficult than others no matter how hard we prepare. But I vividly remember the slight anxiety I felt going in to take tests I had really tried to prepare for versus the sickening, paralyzing fear I was overwhelmed with when I approached a test for which I hadn't.
We don't know what life tests are around the corner. We'd probably have to be resuscitated if we did. But, letting God teach us a little bit each day - even on the good days - sure helps eliminate that good, old testing anxiety. As well as the need for cramming.
And who of us couldn't do with a little less anxiety?
I know we're all tired. I know we all have a lot do to. I'm typing and you're reading and we should both probably be sifting through those piles of "things" we have to deal with in our lives. But, take some time each day to study...to learn...to hide God's Word in your heart. It's your secret, testing weapon.
And whether you're being tested at work, school or home...by a co-worker, teacher or three-year-old...make sure you're stockpiling the Word a bit each day. When that pink-slip comes or that three-year-old's crayon melts in the dryer and just makes your slip pink...you'll be glad you did! (I know, nobody wears slips anymore...it was for affect, okay?)
"I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you. Praise be to you, Lord; teach me your decrees. With my lips I recount all the laws that come from your mouth. I rejoice in following your statutes as one rejoices in great riches. I meditate on your precepts and consider your ways. I delight in your decrees; I will not neglect your word." Psalm 119:11-16