I will admit it. I am a workaholic and someone who easily gets stressed . . . especially around exam time! As a result, often around this time my spiritual life begins a downward spiral – I become more grumpy and irritable than usual, I have a tendacy to not complete or even start my allocated chores, but even worse, sometimes my prayer and Bible reading times come to a complete standstill! Obviously, this is not right!
I struggled with this particularly in my first year of exams. I was a fairly new Christian, I was getting to know how to do the exams and gradually, as the pressure and stress built up I made the fatal decision to give up my Bible reading and prayer times on most nights in order to make room for further study. Despite all, my exam results, while better than average, were still not fantastic. And to add to this was my growing sense of discontentment and my stinging conscience.
This was where Mum stepped in, realizing that I was going overboard and perhaps seeing the way it had made me so much grumpier! The next year, she encouraged me to participate in more social activities than I had previously and persuaded me to not spend all my spare time doing work and wallowing in my worries!
And do you know what? It really made a difference! By the time exams approached, I was far more relaxed. Somehow, I was managing my time more effectively and so was having a decent prayer and Bible reading time. It really helped to prepare me for the exams as I asked God to help me be accepting of the results I got for my work, whether they were good or bad. In fact, in the odd snipets of time where I felt I needed a break, I began to read good Christian books, which seemed to help me during this stressful time to keep my attention on God (one I read which I highly recommend for any teenage Christian is The Case for Christ by Lee Strobel).
Another thing that helped God to remain in the picture was to listen to my favourite Christian music, particularly well-known hymns (but without vocals as they made it too hard to concentrate!) while doing my study. As simple as it sounds, it really meant that somewhere in my subconciousness was God and memories of the sermon at Church!
The next thing I knew, exams were over for the year. God certianly has a sense of humour – this time around, my results were so much better!