I can finally blog again with a sound mind and with things to say!
Because seriously for a while, the only thing I could think about was study, exams, microeconomics, econometrics, consumer behavior, ministry, dance, It's Time, contacting people and just saying non-stop, "Ok God, I don't know how to get through this, but I know You are going to help me. Calm down, Val, calm down."
And looking back now, I think I didn't give my exam entirely up to Him. I feel that I chose to study on my own and just let God watch over me from above. Bad move. A week before my first paper and I snapped hard. I was freaking out about how I was going to finish the content and still have time to revise for two papers simultaneously since I had two consecutive days of exams. I cried, I pondered, I had to spend a lot of time in prayer.
Give you an idea. My microeconomics exam was on thursday - I had only finished studying the content on Monday morning and did MCQ practices in the afternoon. Past year papers were only done on wednesday and I only managed to do one out of the two provided. Econometrics was on friday - I had only finished studying it on the tuesday (so no microeconomics done at all) and did the practice exam on wednesday afternoon. Consumer behavior was the following tuesday - the wednesday and I had only finished 2 out of 5 lectures, and I hadn't read the case study.
And then wednesday night came, and Ps Matt spoke at combined urbanlife. I walked in and everyone I talked to said I looked tired and worn out and stressed and stretched. And yes, I'll admit that I did walk into urbanlife feeling stretched beyond my limits. My first paper was the next day.
Ps Matt started speaking about the Israelites, just as God delivered them from Egypt, they were suddenly faced with not one, but two roadblocks. The wide ocean, separating them from the safe land, in front of them, and the Egyptian army, ready to cut all their throats and take them back as prisoners trailing behind them (Bad sentence structure, but you get my point). He spoke of how people always come to this spot, just like the Israelites where they are stuck between "a rock and a hard place". The worst part is, you can't see past these obstacles, they block your "light at the end of the tunnel". You stand there, you feel pressured, frustrated, and you do what most people do - you try to fight your way through even one.
But God doesn't want us to do that. He intends to put us in a hard place to make us suffer, but to test us. What happened to the Israelites? God delivered them. He did not bash through the armies, nor did he swim through the ocean and ship every single of them over. From His high place in heaven, He sent a raging fire down on the army, and with His mighty hand, He parted the red sea.
That is the revelation I got. I had been fighting this on my own, trying to rely on my own strength and defenses to get through this difficult period. I said, "God, help me. God, help me.", but I did it with my eyes on my studying, not on my God. When we are stuck between two challenges, two evils, two enemies, who cares about them? They have no strength, they have no stand. Look up to God.
That night I went home and I prayed a prayer before I started my final revision. I remembered a week back at prayer meet, Lydia had said that when she was doing her finals, she prayed that the Holy Spirit together study with her. Not watching from the side, but actually sitting with her and studying. I prayed that prayer. I plugged my years with worship music, and kept "Everything To Me" by Avalon on repeat.
I think people may wonder why and how I do it. Why and how I commit so much to my ministry, to my service to God; How I can give up so much of my time that I put pressure on my studies.
It's because I want to do it. I know that when I commit my time and my effort and my energy and my spirit to glorifying the name of Christ, my Daddy God will reward me with favour. It came down to the last point, where I must have been doing something right, because the enemy came and tried to break me.
Too bad for him I recovered fast. I went into my exams, feeling fairly confident and leaving it to God. Boy, if this exam period wasn't full of God's favour, I don't know what it was.
Microeconomics turned out to be a lot easier than the past year papers. I could do all the questions without much of a problem. There was just one section C question where I blanked out halfway through the question, so I skipped it and finished up the rest of my paper. 10 minutes to finish time and I went back to the bit I skipped. I sat there and took a deep breath and started speaking in tongues softly in the exam hall, asking God to remind me of what I had learned. Then it suddenly came to me, I quickly scribbled down workings and a final answer. Within the last few minutes, I checked the calculations and the answer seemed correct. Hallejuah praise God! I literally mumbled that into the table when the invigilator called the time.
Econometrics was amazing. The practice exam given to us had been like a parallel of the actual paper, and I could do all the questions in the exam. Big bonus was that I had really studied one particular lecture, paying attention to what my lecturer said, and it came out for like half a question in the exam. Praise God! I finished the paper early and even had time to check.
Consumer Behavior went very well too. For the fact I was worried whether I could remember all the facts and concepts I had memorized, the first half of the paper went smoothly and all my thoughts flowed well. The case study was a little tricky and I did run out of time in writing recommendations for a marketing case, but I did identify a lot of challenges and wrote a few recommendations which I think formed a pretty substantial answer. Praise God!
God's favour is real. God is sooooo definitely real, and He knows. He knows what each one of us is going through. Sometimes it may seem like He doesn't do anything. In actual fact, He really waits for the right moment to show us His wonders, that we may learn from it and marvel at it. I know my Daddy God loves me.
So what was with all that commitment to ministry that threw my studying off and made me cut it pretty close and get stressed?
It was all worth it. Exam time comes around and people begin to set God aside, and feel that He'll understand that you need to pull out of ministry and service to concentrate.
Give Him all, and He gives you back so much more.
Because when I finally stopped myself and asked the Holy Spirit to do it with me, not just help from the side, it made all the difference.
I'm not saying don't study. You have to put in your share of effort, but are you going to worship God or your exams? Do you fear your exams more, or do you fear the awesome God who is able of everything?
A little exam testimony for all.
Freedom is here yo! The post-exam feeling kicked in only about 9.30pm last night, but now it is in full swing! Woke up a bit later this morning and cooked lunch for Kor who only started exams today. Then spent the afternoon watching Glee episodes with Jon Tan and Sarah, before going for prayer meet.
Prayer is seriously amazing man. Lydia was pushing on the believe of a greater God-planned, God-filled destiny. I feel like I am called not just to the dance ministry, but to a ministry to raise up the next generation (not just by age, mind you). We'll see where He goes with this.
Stacey is in Melbourne! We've already planned stuff for the weekend which is going to be awesome! Can't wait to see her =D
So a list of post exam activities: 1) Dance. Dance. Dance. - Going to get myself into a studio at least once a week and just choreograph what God has put in me. 2) Ministry - planetUNI event is going to be big yo! Look out for it! 3) Spend time with the two bezzies - Even though one still has exam, poor thing. Lol! 4) Hang out with Stacey! Can't wait. Can't wait. Can't wait. 5) Finish reading: Mao's Last Dancer, The Last Song, Eternity Review book from church and some others that I can't think of now. 6) Masterchef, Top Gear and Dance Academy! (Just like how I got Brodie hooked to kpop, he somehow unintentionally got me hooked to this new Australian tv series) 7) Try out my culinary skills - Experiment now that I am in charge of taking care of my brother's meals till the 24th. 8) Work on strengthening my body, stretching my flexibility, and train my bboying skills (which are currently non-existent, save for basic stuff that I can do on-and-off) 9) Clean up my room. It is an utter mess. 10) Do my laundry, because Val, you need to get laundry done. And get the stuff off your bed and on the hangers either in your closet or on the racks asap! 11) Go down to the Christian bookshop, haven't been there in ages! 12) Pray 13) Spend time with family 14) Enjoy and spend time with God. Best things ever.
Here's to half my uni degree done, and all the best for those who still have exams! =D