Studies

Stressed by exams: Facing my fears of not doing well enough

Claudelle Ashley Kay // October 28, 2020, 12:23 pm

FACING OUR FEARS OF NOT DOING WELL

Some of us who are sitting for the O-Levels and A-Levels may experience that constant anxiety of being pushed down by the bell curve and the dread of not living up to expectations when faced with a tough paper.

Let’s be realistic: Who doesn’t want straight As? Who doesn’t want to relish the delight and satisfaction of an excellent result slip – the fruit of all the late nights of studying, memorising and practising? After all, we want to give our best and strive to be competent.

But this desire can also seed anxiety in us and lead to sleepless nights when we’re gripped with the fear of not doing well enough.

We might try to seek solace by watching Netflix or K-dramas to de-stress, or try to feel better by completing over 1,000 practice questions.

But true assurance can only come from our Father in heaven. This is a truth that I have personally experienced. 

There was one time I woke up at 12am and found myself unable to sleep as my mind was plagued by the exam questions and how else I could have done better. I immediately cried out to God, asking Him to help me sleep and clear my mind of such thoughts.

I remember that it weighed heavily on my heart – for all the knowledge I had learnt about Him, it was time to put it into practice.

To trust that when I pray and submit my exams to Him, He hears, He answers and He will be with me. To trust that He will see me through the deepest of valleys and the darkest of storms.

As I prayed, I felt called to trust Him. And so I did (or at least I tried).

How can I still be a good student if I’ve messed up my exams?

Surprisingly, all of the worries that plagued my mind just disappeared. There was a warm, fuzzy feeling instead. 

All of a sudden, the idea of taking the national exams didn’t seem that daunting as I felt that God would be right by my side taking the papers with me. I was able to trust that God would see me through.

As much as I wanted to get good results, I also trusted that no matter what results I would end up getting, His plans are to prosper and not harm His children (Jeremiah 29:11).

By the grace of God, I managed to go back to sleep, fully at peace and at ease.

I believe everyone can receive the gift of peace when we cry out to Him. John 14:27 is a timely reminder that our Father’s peace is like no other. It is simple yet heartwarming.

“I am leaving you with a gift – peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot gift. So don’t be troubled or afraid.” (John 14:27)

These two verses have also encouraged me.

“Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.” (Mark 11:24)

“This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us.” (1 John 5:14) 

If you’re facing difficulties, don’t worry.

I pray and sincerely hope that if you’re going through this season of your life, your heart will not be troubled by fears. May you wholly trust in the Lord. 

It’s completely natural to have some reservations and uncertainty in trusting God for something as big as the national exams. But I hope that this will be a defining moment for you in your life.

May you grow your faith and trust in Him, leaning on His strength and peace as you journey with Him.

Grades don’t define your future

Here’s a simple prayer for you:

Dear Father in Heaven, we thank you that you remind us in your word that you give us peace like no other. That with your peace, all worries and fears fade away. We thank you that we can trust You to see us through every season of our life.

We submit our national exams to you. Help us to trust in You.

May You give us the strength to complete each paper to the best of our abilities that You have blessed us with, and give us the assurance that as we take each paper, everything will be alright – no matter how difficult it is, no matter what result we might get. 

We commit our exams and ourselves to You. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

THINK + TALK

  1. Have you been seeking peace from sources apart from God?
  2. What does the Bible say about worry?
  3. What does it mean to put your trust in God? Practically speaking, what does that look like?