Her brain seemed foggy. Tons of things were floating around in her head with no real direction. She was standing in line at Caffe Medici, ready for that ultra-strong drip coffee to uncloud her cluttered mind. Clutching her newly purchased $3.56 nectar of life, she hurried to find a table upstairs. It’s way quieter up there, she thought. Maybe I’ll be able to think. After finding a table, setting up her laptop, and getting her journal out, she began to think, Alright. Gotta make a list. Gotta make a study plan. Finals are the absolute worst. In the spring, she was overly ambitious for the fall semester. She signed up for 18 hours, a research job on campus, and an internship. Feelings of panic overwhelmed her as she began chicken scratching her foreboding list of to-dos.
We’ve all been there. Every year it seems that finals sneak up. Busyness is the mantra of life as we fill our schedules and strive to achieve—to be excellent, to change the world—all while trying to maintain sanity with our eyes on Jesus. Unless you are in the 1% minority enthralled by the thought of pulling an all-nighter in the PCL, the stress of finals will usually get to you, chipping away at your joy in Christ. Throughout this blog, we’re going to explore how to maintain joy and peace in Christ during one of the most tumultuous times of the year: finals.
Have an Eternal Perspective
Yes, finals are important. Yes, you should study and do your best in your exams. But it’s so crucial to keep a godly perspective throughout this crazy season. Your identity is rooted and established in Christ. Your identity isn’t found in what you can achieve, build, or excel at. Your identity isn’t found in a good grade or a bad one. Your identity has been sealed with the Holy Spirit (Ephesians 1:13), and nothing can take that away. Your identity isn’t rooted in achievement. It is determined by what Jesus accomplished on the cross—how He died for you and then defeated death so that you can be called a child of God.
Strive to enter this season of busyness with that identity at the forefront of your mind, knowing that your worth doesn’t hinge on how well or poorly you do.
Fight for Time in the Word
It’s always during these crazy times of the year when people find themselves failing to trust God. Whenever you find yourself dealing with anxiety or stress, ask yourself: when is the last time I spent time in the Word?
Consider how often you eat. The Word is your spiritual food. Matthew 4:4 tells us, “Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.” Even when you are stressed, you find time to eat food.
Likewise, we need spiritual food. Make it a priority to be in the Word every day. Consider Psalm 1, which describes a man whose “delight is in the law of the Lord and on that law He meditates day and night. He is like a tree planted by streams of water that yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither.” Make it a priority to start your day with the Word.
Prayer is our way of directly speaking to our Father. He is our help and refuge. Consider David throughout the Psalms. He was undeniably stressed when King Saul was chasing him. He writes Psalm 57 from a cave where he is hiding: “Be merciful to me, O God, be merciful to me, for in you my soul takes refuge; in the shadow of your wings I will take refuge, till the storms of destruction pass by.” OK, that might be a dramatic example, but if David cried out in that intense of a situation, we should cry out to God in prayer during finals.
Philippians 4:6 tells us, “ … do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be known to God.” Supplication means to beg earnestly or humbly. We need to take a humble and earnest posture of begging when we present our requests to God.
This finals season, let’s be people who don’t wilt under the pressure of busyness and exams. Instead, let’s take an attitude of victory as we cling to our true identity that has been unchangeably determined by Jesus. Let’s emulate Jesus by taking a humble posture of prayer and reliance on Scripture as we navigate the end of the fall semester.