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I work at a school and it is exam time! A season of increased anxiety. Worry time, usually. Exams and tests are designed to allow teachers to collect evidence of achievement and make “on-balance judgements” of a student’s level of achievement – “below, at or above the standard”. But they cause stress.
Exams make students vulnerable because they submit themselves to others’ judgements to decide whether we are “below, at or above the standard”. Wow! No wonder students feel anxious. Fear, stress and worry are natural responses to being judged as ‘adequate ‘or ‘inadequate’ or ‘more than adequate’. The result: pride and joy if students reach or exceed their own, or others’ expectations; or distress, feelings of inferiority when students fall short of their own or others’ expectations.
Jesus - Advice - Future - Worry - Emotion
First, Jesus’ advice is don’t worry about the future. Worry is wasted emotion. Worry cannot change a future outcome. Jesus’ advice, “Don’t worry about tomorrow”. Corrie ten Boom elaborates what Jesus said, “Worrying is carrying tomorrow’s load with today’s strength – carrying two days at once. It is moving into tomorrow ahead of time. Worrying doesn’t empty tomorrow of its sorrow, it empties today of its strength.” So, I tell my students, in exam week, don’t waste your energy on worry. Your mental energy is needed for other tasks.
Second, trust in your own value. Then you won’t worry. Jesus told his listeners “Don’t worry about having something to eat, drink, or wear” or housing, work, health, a job, the future, the flu, Trump….. or exams. Why not? These things very real and relevant concerns. Jesus answer: You are loved, cared for, valued INDEPENDENT of the value judgements of success/failure, wealth/poverty, approval/disapproval, ability/disability fears/dreams etc. You are loved, valued, accepted, no matter what. Ultimately, Jesus was referring to trusting God’s love, but we all...
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