Hand-lettering // Hope Hickman @sincerelyhope.designs
I proctored a lot of tests this week at school. It’s interesting to watch the students as they finish.
Some finish very quickly, which, as a teacher, my initial reaction is to question how much effort they really put into that test – but that’s a whole other issue.
Then the ones who aren’t finished begin noticing the ones who are. Some of these students get concerned, and you can almost visibly see their thoughts. They’re done? I better step on it. Wonder how much longer everyone else will be? Am I behind? Then they hurry it up so they’ll be finished, too. It’s obvious they don’t want to be one of the few still working.
There are still others, though they are few, that are going to take their time no matter what. Everyone else may be finished, but if these students haven’t checked their answers, they aren’t turning the test in yet.
Finishing a test early is not necessarily bad. Maybe you finish early because you studied a lot, and the answers come quickly because you know the information so well. Being the last one to submit your test is also not bad. Perhaps you want to take your time, check your answers three times, and feel extra confident in your work.
But what about the kids that turn a test in early when they weren’t really ready to do so? They rushed through their work or they didn’t read closely, yet they turned it in anyway. While this wasn’t wrong, per say, this also wasn’t the best decision for them.
How many times do you face decisions that don’t necessarily have right or wrong answers? Chicken or beef? Blue shoes or red shoes? Stripes or polka dots? Submit the test now or check your answers? The choice you’re making may not necessarily have wrong answers in a Biblical or moral sense, but one option might not be right for you.
Inevitably, you’ll have to make some decisions like this, ones that are based on what’s right for you. Sometimes they’re difficult because there is no clear cut, right and wrong answers. Likely, too, there will come a time when you must make a decision that’s much more serious than choosing between stripes and polka dots, and these can be life-altering or life-defining moments. You may have already experienced making one of these, or perhaps a few. A decision must be made, and you must live with the choice you make. That’s not dramatic; it’s just realistic.
Just think about some of the decisions you start making right after high school. The degree you choose will dictate the job you work everyday, and things progress from there. How hard will you study in school? What company will you apply to work for? Will you keep dating this guy? Even if you aren’t as happy as you’d hoped you’d be – or as happy as everyone else thinks you are? Will you go out of your way to make new friends? How active will you be in the gym?
Here are a few things you should remember to do and be encouraged by when it’s time to make one of these decisions.
- Don’t worry about what everyone else is doing. The reason some of the not-finished-test-takers go ahead and turn theirs in is because everyone else has. But if everyone starts falling on purpose to break their leg, will you fall and break yours, too, so that you “fit in”? No. You’ll look at the leg-breakers like they’ve lost their mind. At the end of the day, each individual person in the “crowd” must live with his or her choice. In other words, no one else will live with your choices the way you will, so think twice before you follow the crowd.
- That said, think about how your decisions affect others. Though you must live with your choices, the people closest to you will live with them as well.
- Look at the big picture. Don’t focus solely on the present. Think about your future. How is this decision going to change your life when you’re forty, fifty, and sixty years old? And though a decision may be difficult to make now, is it what’s best for your future in the long run?
- Seek advice if you feel led, but be very careful when you do this. Bad advice is sometimes hard to see in times of wandering. Trust those closest to you who want the absolute best for your life. For more on this, click here.
- Most importantly, ask for God’s guidance, and spend time in prayer. Pray for discernment and spend time in God’s Word. God gives us his Holy Spirit to guide us, and we need only to seek his help.
There will always be early test-taking-finishers. Yes, it’s tough when you’re the one who hasn’t finished the test and everyone else has. It’s hardly ever easy to stand alone. But prayerfully consider what the right thing is for you.
The one who keeps God’s commands lives in him, and he in them. And this is how we know that he lives in us: We know it by the Spirit he gave us.
1 John 3:24