Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Three Things You Should Know About Finals' Week


So...

finals.

Yeah.

It's pretty stressful for us students.
That pressure... well, maybe you've resorted to screaming as those late nights just keep turning into early mornings, gotten lost in your sea of notes, or maybe even tearfully considered moving to a different country and starting life over again.
Reality can seem pretty harsh.
Something good still remains for us, though; we have hope because we still have Jesus, and God's word can offer us more hope during this intense time.

Here's three things that you should know about finals' week:

1.  Don't ask why; ask why not. 
"...and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith..." (Hebrews 12:1-2).

Why am I doing this?  Is all my effort even worth it?  Why is it so hard? 
Sometimes, these questions can be helpful. At other times, they're just not.  They can get us focused on all the negatives.
Instead of asking why we have to keep going, maybe we should ask why not? 
Why not throw your heart into this thing?  Why not see it as a challenge you get to rise to? 
Why not see it as an opportunity to see Him more?
The reason that should be driving what we do, anyhow, is centered on Him - centered on knowing Jesus more and making Him known through whatever He puts in our path.
This is obviously part of His plan right now; what more motivation should we need?

2. Look up.
"Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses..." (Hebrews 12:1).

It looks like those receiving the letter of Hebrews needed a little inspiration, too.  They need to throw off sin and to persevere, yet what is given as an impetus for them to do this?  
The cloud of witnesses.
Other people had gone before them, and the example of those before could give inspiration.
Maybe we need to get and give inspiration, too - especially when we are feeling terrible.
First, we need to look to who we want to become. 
I've heard it said that when the going gets tough, we should look at where we want to go.  That can be great, but maybe that seems a little too far off, sometimes.  Maybe we should focus more on who we want to become because that will enable us to get where we want to go.  Gain inspiration from looking at the lives of people who model what you want to become.
Second, we need to look to what we can do for others.
Maybe we can provide the inspiration someone needs today.  We can give the smile, provide the laugh, or simply just do the being of life with someone.
That could be the pick-me up they need, and so often I've found it gives the pick me up I need myself.

3. Hey, it's not gotten bloody.
"Consider him who endured from sinners such hostility against himself, so that you may not grow weary or fainthearted.  In your struggle against sin you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood" (Hebrews 12:3-4).

Finals could be making it feel like life's going pretty badly.
Our sin of {ahem, occasional} laziness is a struggle.
Our sin of {ahem, also occasional} anger can feel like a never ending war.
Things haven't really gotten that bad, though.
We are still "suffering" - as we so often seem to treat it - under the "burden" of so much education.
Shouldn't we view this as being privileged to have such a gift of learning that so many people have fought and sacrificed to have?
There are so many harder things we could be doing - running for our lives because our nation is war-torn, being present as an underground church service is invaded, or living a life of forced human-trafficking, to name a few.
Ultimately, our sacrifices for our education - sacrifices of free time, other activities, etc - haven't brought us to the place of shedding blood.
Jesus did that for us. 
That alone should give us reason to be thankful no matter how terrible finals' week is seeming.

So...

Hang in there champ.
It will all be over before you know it,
and - really - maybe it's not as bad as it seems sometimes.

© 2014 Deborah Hope Shining



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Hey! You rock for stopping by, and I would your thoughts on this post, on life, or on what's on your heart. ((Okay, it would probably make my day)). Feel free to send some smiles, then!

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