Thursday, April 19, 2012

For the friend whose chemistry final didn't go so well

On Wednesday, I took the last testing center-esque (I actually took it in the JSB) multiple choice test I will ever take in my life.

Honestly, I love multiple choice tests because I love reasoning through them and being able to figure out the logic even when I don't always know the material as well as I might. It hadn't really occurred to me until now that there would be a time in my life when multiple choice tests would stop. I may never take one again. And excepting maybe the odd driving test, no one will ever evaluate me or my knowledge with a flurry of bubbles and graphite. Ever.

This was made all the more keenly true by the subject matter: marriage prep. I couldn't study more than the bare minimum because it was too overwhelming to evaluate myself on all the characteristics I need to develop to be a better disciple of Christ.

(In case you didn't know, discipleship=marriage prep. Not convinced? Well, Elder Holland says, "Believe that your faith has everything to do with your romance, because it does. You separate dating from discipleship at your peril. Or, to phrase that more positively, Jesus Christ, the Light of the World, is the only lamp by which you can successfully see the path of love and happiness for you and for your sweetheart. How should I love thee? As He does, for that way 'never faileth.'")

I filled in my answers on the scantron with the same great diligence that I have taken all of my BYU tests with. Yet every question asked me what I knew, but no one questioned me on what I believed or what I did or what I have become. I kept thinking of the humanities tests I've taken, which all seemed concerned about whether I knew it was Nietzsche who said God is dead, but never worried about whether I believed him or not.   

This test was no more a measure of me than our junior high years are of our potential as people. In some ways, it did capture my attitudes, but mostly, it tested me on what attitudes match up with vocab words.

I am learning to believe the things I learned in that class, but I am slow at becoming that disciple I would be. Semesters end and grades come out, but we change, learn, and grow on a less standardized schedule.

Though I haven't perfected the discipleship material, I am happy to say that I have learned in this class and that I've put in a significant effort into it, well beyond that I've done for other classes. Still, I want to be more.

It's comforting to know that when I've hit my ceiling, God makes up for the rest of it. It is He who truly makes me a disciple. I know this because of my other class.

In my ELANG 410 grades, there are 6 red scores. These mark the days when I hit my absolute limit and could do no more. Yet these don't even include the number of times when I turned things in weeks after they were due. Before this semester, I was telling someone I'd basically "failed" my class. Sternly, they asked me if I'd ever just not done an assignment actually in my life. It was humbling to answer, "no." I didn't really know what it was like to be able to do no more and have to just quit.

I do now. It's a hard thing, since it goes against so much of what I work for. But it's a beautiful thing sometimes too. I say beautiful because it teaches us that God really doesn't love us based on anything to do with our schooling. Our worth is not based on what the world looks at. I've heard that and said that before, but now I believe it.

There are no more multiple choice tests in my future. But the testing of my discipleship is never over.

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