And then I have a weekend like last weekend, when it all seems to crash down at once. Last weekend was one of those times when I was questioning a lot, and I have to say that more than once, I considered moving to California for a week and ditching exams altogether. Exams seemed disposable compared to everything else going on in life.
But I stayed, and I'm dealing with the effects of my decision. Namely, I'm sitting with a Bible and a notebook, summarizing the entire Bible by writing a sentence or two per book. Yeah, I'd rather be in California.
I've had to ask myself some questions over these last couple days. Is it better to study in overwhelming stress - stress that's unrelated to exams - or to talk it over with some household sisters for 2 hours? Is it better to get an extra half-hour of sleep, or to stare blankly at a study guide? Is it better to have a long, fruitful phone conversation with my brother for two nights in a row, or to attend a group study session for my hardest exam?
In past years, I would have immediately chosen the study option over any other option, because I became paranoid about grades and classes. Success in school was at the top of my priority list, and although I'm not a straight-A student, I was upset each time I didn't receive an A on an assignment.
My friend Grace tweeted a great statement earlier in the week. She said: "Who is in control of my life? NOT my finals. Jesus Christ is my king, not these tests." Boom. That hit me, in the best way possible. So much truth in that little statement.
Sunday I came to the realization that taking care of myself, getting sleep, and fostering healthy relationships are more important than stressing myself out over an extra percentage point on a final. No, I'm not saying that I stopped studying, but recently I've felt more free to spend quality time with people. I've found that it, in turn, helps me to focus better on my work.
Allow yourself the freedom to remove stress from your life before tackling a large project, be that final exams or something completely different. Loosen your demands of yourself and remember, salvation doesn't depend on a little test, but on our relationships with God and others.