“Finished or not finished, pass your papers,” is a line that’s familiar to almost every student.

There were times when I would confidently pass my papers, fully satisfied with my answers. Sometimes, I would sheepishly pass my papers as I had nothing more to write. Most of the time, I would cram in finishing the test.

I was an average student. I wasn’t very studious. I would always study a few hours before the exam. I wasn’t aiming to get an uno or an A in my report card. As long as I passed, that was enough for me.

During our early years in school, we weren’t pressured by our parents to be at the top of the class, but my brothers and I somehow managed to let our parents put a medal on us during recognition days. Thank you tatay and nanay for the genes! (Hehe)

Kidding aside, that relieved us from any pressure to perform in class just to get our parents’ approval. We were not pressured to get a medal, as long as we do not cheat on our exams or disrespect our teachers.

But genes, family background, and the university you graduated from do not guarantee success.

There were days when I felt confident.

I remember entering a tall building in Rockwell with my heart beating fast and my knees getting weak as I was called for an interview for a multinational company. Going through the process of tests and interviews, I was fully satisfied with my answers and was convinced that I will be offered a job.

It was a success! This is it! My dream job! I will have a car and will be traveling to different places. The first two months were amazing.

“You’re doing well, Ms. Dolores. We hope you can help your batchmates pass the tests during your entire training.” These were the words given to me by our trainers.

“I’m doing great here!” I said to myself.

Or so I thought.

I wasn’t expecting the kind of real tests that I would be facing from my boss, colleagues, and clients. My principles and convictions were tested.

One day, as I was driving on my way to the office, tears suddenly welled up from my eyes. My tears were flowing uncontrollably. I could barely see the road.

“Lord, I don’t want this anymore. This is too hard!” I cried out to God while driving, with no clear vision of where I will be going, both literally and figuratively.

My confidence was drowned with doubt and confusion.

Yes, there were days when I felt sheepish.

Numerous times, I would wake up not having the confidence to face the day. Most of the time, I would retreat to my own bubble filled with insecurities and self-doubt.

I would sometimes feel inadequate whenever I would look at other people’s social media posts and compare myself with them.

Why have they achieved so much more?

How come they’re earning more?

Why do they have a better position?

How come they’re able to travel to different countries?

Why do they look so happy with their family?

Seeing myself and where I was, I felt like I needed to do more and be more.

And so there were days when I felt like a crammer.

Time is running out.

I’m not getting any younger.

I haven’t achieved much.

My life needs to matter.

And I began to panic!

Life throws different kinds of tests at us. Some are announced, but most of the time, tests come unannounced.

I realized, everything goes back to how I used to respond to my tests in school.

Am I confident with my answers?

Do I feel sheepish, doubting if I will pass?

Do I cram because time is running out?

No matter how great my parents were and the values they’ve instilled in us; no matter how respectful and kind I’ve been; no matter how prestigious my alma mater was; they did not spare me from the tests that I had to go through.

The real world is filled with different kinds of tests. And these tests will not be easy.

Looking for a job, finding a place to stay, paying the bills, and being heartbroken are only a few of the realities we’ll have to face.

My major heartbreaks were losing my mom and my brother to cancer, and losing my dad to stroke. The latest one was my treatment for breast cancer. No book nor degree could have prepared me for these things.

But no matter how easy or difficult, even if the testing is announced or unannounced, there is only one solution that will lead us to the right answer—to acknowledge that each day we wake up, we need Jesus in our lives.

It’s okay to admit if we feel like we’re not yet ready or if the test has taken us by surprise. It’s even okay if we feel like we’re failing the test.

The most important approval, affirmation, and recognition we need is from the One who created us. Real success and meaning can only be found in Him. Lasting fulfillment and joy only come from Him.

We can pass life’s tests confidently when we know that Jesus Christ has passed the ultimate test for us—He laid down His life on the cross so that we may enjoy life to the full.

Take each test knowing that God is with us in every step of the way.

He has completed the test for us.

And He is saying, “It is finished!”

And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good,

for those who are called according to his purpose.

Romans 8:28

 

 

Photo credits: Lyman Gerona

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