"Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything."
“Commit your life to the Lord, Trust in Him and He will act” Psalm 37
It is funny, if there is ever an hour I wonder about what I am going to write about the following week in this blog, circumstance seems to put something right in front of me the next hour.
As many of you know, I took the LSAT this past June. The 6 months before the LSAT I spent a lot of time thinking, worrying, talking about and studying for this test. I received some promising scores on practice tests hinting that I was improving- yet alas when it came to test time I (in my personal opinion) utterly failed to perform. So now, after taking some time off this summer I am at the test again striving to improve my score in order to get into a top Law school.
At the end of the night in bed after I had calmed down I asked myself “Where is God in all of this?” After a bit of thought about how the past spring had gone, I realized he wasn’t involved at all. Why? Because I had consistently taken the attitude that the test was my struggle and mine alone. And I was the only one who had the power to deal with it, learn it, and preform it. The test and God were two very separate things in my mind.
I think I was afraid to let God into this one, because I have been scared all along he doesn’t want me to go to Law school. He would rather I did something else. I was afraid taking the test was actually defying him. So now in the face of these fears surfacing, how do I let him into my LSAT experience? How do I listen and be guided by God in this situation? Do I give up on the test? Do I keep going? How in all of this do I best follow him? How do I listen, trust and ultimately let him make the call rather than my ego?
The phrase many Christians (and perhaps those of other faiths) would use in this situation is: “Turn it over to God”. Now, I think if someone had told me to do this last night amidst my upset, I would have freaked. Not only is the statement cliché but it is very loaded with undefined action and significance.
I did discover that this is the third step to the “twelve steps of AA” which my Aunt Linda sited in a previous comment. Check out the link for the steps below:
This reminded me that “turning something over to God” is indeed an well-tested and important practice- even if initially hard to understand. I think it ties in pretty closely to the theme of humility I explored earlier in the blog.
Here is another individual’s blog post on the internet I found which does a fantastic job of unpacking the concept of “turning something over to God” and rooting it in experience, check it out:
I have taken the three steps from the blog of following through with “turning something over to God” and attempting to apply my own example to it:
1. Follow the path of peace:
Pray to God about the LSAT and be willing to include him in the process. Listen to what about taking or not taking the test gives me peace. Be open to seeing the situation in a different way. Be mindful of what makes me uneasy, but don’t assume too much about what God wants and/or how things are supposed to work out.
2. Stop pursuing paths that unnecessarily distract from living my vocation to the best of my ability:
(Aka stop banging your head against the wall). Let go of my old way of dealing with the LSAT: which is drawing vast conclusions every time I receive a score. Stop letting the scores and what they mean consume my mind, and stop walking around grouchy and irritated because I feel like the weight of the world is on my shoulders with this test. Trust that the time to study and the proper results will come if they are supposed to; but will ultimately stay in balance with the rest of my life.
3. Keep the ultimate goal in mind:
Keep in perspective what I am ultimately committed to and why I am taking the test. Originally all I saw the test as was to “get into law school and succeed in life as I should”. Now, to turn it over to God is to focus on taking the test is only worthwhile if it helps fulfill the goal of “knowing, loving and serving God and humanity”. I see law school as a way to help me develop certain skills that can ultimately contribute and give to others. If God is behind me on contributing to others in this way, then he will support me in succeeding on the test.
And we will see how things turn out with the test- maybe I will not perform well again and I need to listen to that message. Maybe by including God I will do better than I currently think is possible. I think the trick is continuing on while being open to both of those possible results and not giving into fear and expectation. I hope those in my life will hold me to this- and if anyone hears me worrying or griping about the test out loud will remind me of this post.
For those interested in responding, do you have an example of “turning something over to God” in your life? What does this phrase mean to you and how does it play out in your experience? I would be very curious to hear and know myself and others could benefit greatly by learning from your experience.