It's Only A Test

Very few people know I was a nerd, I mean expert in English even in my younger years.

I scored a 35 (out of 36) on the English portion of my ACT, placed out of 2 college literature courses and later fell in love with writing (duh) and public speaking.

I said all of that to brag right? Yup. Jk.

Even though I was a champ in my hay day I made and make mistakes all the time (both written and verbal). I still trip up on spelling of the most common words like availability. (I convinced myself that it was my southern accent that distorted 'availibility' into 'avail-ability.') I even guarantee (another word I depend heavily on auto-correct for) that there are errors in this post.

The fact is that even though I tested well, I had to stay commited to excelling in practice.

Where am I going with this?

Sometimes we're really good at tests--high intensity intervals of pressure or short term challenges-- but fail to perform in everyday life. For me, this was the source of frustration when I'd find common errors in my papers or realize I misspoke immediately after making a statement. I'd think, "I know this stuff! Why do I keep making the same mistakes?!"

Same in our personal journey. Although we may know which encouraging words to quote and all the requirements of a Christian lifestyle (by which we always seem to gauge others against before ourselves) we can still fail in practice. We can still make simple, but noticeably critical mistakes that do more damage to the very people we seek to reach.

But guess what? Just like we're taught drafting, writing, rewriting and editing skills, God's given us grace and mercy to correct our mistakes (repentance) and the capacity to avoid them the next test. The important focus is that we work, rework and rebuild with these strategies to develop them into a way to reach others.

"Wait a minute. So are you saying my tests aren't even really for me?" 

Yup. Have you ever felt like you were constantly tested in the same areas over and over again? Even now you feel like you're doing pretty well spiritually so you're confused as to why you keep getting hit with the same problems?

Well, before the teacher can entrust you to help others, they've got to know you really understand the material.  

When I was an educator, I sometimes used peer students to teach difficult materials to other students, but it wasn't after the first test or even the second. It was after they'd been presented the materials in several different formats and assessments and showed they truly understood the concept. It was only through that deep comprehension that they had enough confidence to instruct their peers.  

The same with our spiritual tests. We may be presented the same material over and over again because God's trying to get us to a point where we can minister to other people through our intimate experiences with those issues. We've got to master the work before doing the Master's work. 

So when you feel the stress of testing anxiety remind yourself of the reason behind those  encounters-- to grow and shape the work God's designed for you to excel in. Your experiences are crafting your purpose and if you start tackling those issues as only being a test you won't be distracted from the bigger mission Christ has for you.