No Fear in Testing
There are very few things that can cause more stress in students than taking tests. Tests are the trigger for a great deal of anxiety in students at any level of education. Everything that has been learned is finally being held up to the standard of knowledge the teacher thinks you should have. It might seem normal and ok to experience this type of stress before a big test. However, God’s peace is powerful enough to extend over all test-related anxiety. I believe He wants you to receive this peace even in the face of your biggest tests. And here’s why.
1. We live to please God, not man.
“But just as we have been approved by God to be entrusted with the gospel, so we speak, not to please man, but to please God who tests our hearts” (1 Thessalonians 2:4, English Standard Version).
Paul wrote this to the Thessalonian church on the subject of preaching the gospel in the face of strong opposition. However, I believe we can apply this principle in our test-taking, too. You see, much of our anxiety for test-taking comes from worrying about meeting society’s standards of what is acceptable. As Christians, though, we should find our security in Christ, not in our own abilities to please those around us. That does not mean we shouldn’t try our best, but if our true best is not “good-enough” for an A, we should trust that God knows our hearts and He is the one that will carry us forward.
Ultimately, our efforts should be directed toward living for God in every way. That means our study habits and test-taking practices should be carried out with integrity and perseverance. Knowing that we have done our part, we should have confidence in knowing that God makes up for our weaknesses, even if it doesn’t show up on a test grade. It shows in your life because He will always keep you in His hand and raise you up even when it doesn’t make sense. Not everyone will approve of a bad grade, but God will always approve of a good heart.
2. Nothing should ever be able to rob us of our peace in Christ.
“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God” (Philippians 4:6, ESV).
I want to point out the format of this scripture. It is not a question or a suggestion. It is a command. DO NOT be anxious about anything. This means that whenever we allow ourselves to get stressed out or anxious about anything, we are basically saying that there is something more important that is causing us to put worry above His command to “not be anxious.” Instead of putting our worries above His peace, we should take our tests to prayer. Pray that God will help you to understand the things you are learning and when the time comes to take the test, pray He will help you remember what you have learned and studied.
Prayer and anxiety cannot coexist. This is because when we pray, we are in the presence of the LORD, where there is no fear or darkness at all. Even if you made the mistake of not studying, there is forgiveness and grace in prayer. So really, there is no excuse for you to be a victim of anxiety, no matter what.
Do not allow yourself to accept the social norm that anxiety in test-taking is OK. It is a not a norm in the Kingdom of God and therefore, you should receive the freedom and power God has given you to maintain peace and joy through every single test. As you continue in your educational journey, be a woman who “laughs without fear of the future” (Proverbs 31:25, New Living Translation), and trusts in the Lord.
The Holy Bible, English Standard Version. ESV® Permanent Text Edition® (2016). Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.
Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.