Do exams terrify you? Are you unsure of your ability to do your best in them, and do you seem liable to go mentally blank in the examination room? Many college students do experience great fear as examinations draw near, and they find that this fear makes them less capable of learning. Accomplishing less and less in the time available, they panic, and this sets up a vicious circle of fear and inability to work quickly and well.
If you would like to break out of this mental trap when your exams next come round, listen to these challenging words of Mrs. Eddy's: "Know, then, that you possess sovereign power to think and act rightly, and that nothing can dispossess you of this heritage and trespass on Love." Pulpit and Press, p. 3; What a joy it would be to any examination candidate to know that he has "sovereign power to think" of the exact concept he needs when he needs it, and to apply his knowledge correctly!
Christian Science teaches that this sovereign power is ours because man is created in God's likeness and expresses His power and intelligence, abundantly reflecting all His attributes—intelligence, understanding, wisdom, ability, to name but a few.
We can claim and use this power ourselves. But how? Well, suppose that every time some suggestion of limitation comes up we deny it immediately and replace it with the truth. Let's see how this works:
Suggestion: I never could understand such and such a theory (or this particular branch of mathematics or these facts in the field of natural science).
Refutation: Nonsense! This suggestion is trying to limit me. Man is a reflection of divine Mind! I am God's perfect child, created in His image and likeness, so I can't be limited. God's understanding is infinite, so mine can be no less. Instead of accepting this idea of inability, I am going to say, "Open thou mine eyes, that I may behold wondrous things out of thy law." Ps. 119: 18; And since God's law is good, I shall expect good to come to me and open my eyes and be receptive of it here and now.
During my recent summer exams I started on a question and got about halfway through when I discovered that I needed to know some theories I had not looked at for over a year and had never properly understood. It was too late to choose a new question, so I put down my pen and turned away from the material evidence, which said I had no idea how to finish the question. I claimed my God-derived ability to tackle all problems and firmly removed all fear from my thinking. When at last I had a clear thought and was receptive of any thoughts that might appear, the answer unfolded. Within a few minutes the question had been successfully completed.
Let's examine another suggestion:
Suggestion: It's only a few days until the exams, and I've so much work to do. I'll never finish it all!
Refutation: That's another limitation I won't accept. If I start to believe that during these next few days I have to cram as much as possible into my brain so that I can pour it all out again in the exams, then I certainly won't be accepting my perfect selfhood as an idea of divine Mind. There is only one Mind—God. I have the same source of intelligence that Christ Jesus had. And if I really believe that, then what I should do now, during my final study, is reach out to deeper understanding of Truth, not cram facts. Mrs. Eddy says in the textbook, Science and Health, "Christian Science presents unfoldment, not accretion; it manifests no material growth from molecule to mind, but an impartation of the divine Mind to man and the universe." Science and Health, p. 68; So in my exam preparation I am looking for an unfoldment of ideas. The unfoldment of divine ideas is not limited by time, and I'll have done all I need to do when I have sought unfoldment.
Just before exams I worked along the above lines before turning to one final piece of preliminary work that promised to be particularly difficult, and everything unfolded quickly and easily. I simply could not see why I had never understood before!
And let's examine one final lie.
Suggestion: I'm always terrified of exams, and especially this year. It matters so much that I do well; if I don't, I won't be able to pursue my chosen career.
Refutation: Fear is belief in the absence of God or in His inability to help in every situation. In fact, the Bible tells us, "Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness." Isa. 41:10; I accept the truth that God, my loving Father, will provide all that I need all the time. And the belief that any exam can prevent me from pursuing my career is ridiculous! My true career as an idea of God is to express Him and all His qualities. No exam can ever stop my doing that! If I pursue my career of expressing God, good, joyously and actively, then my human occupation will be rewarding and satisfying. And I know that, whatever my occupation is, it will be the right one for me because I am God's child and He is guiding me.
Why accept limitations, lack, inability, confusion, pressure, or fear? As Mrs. Eddy says, "Citizens of the world, accept the 'glorious liberty of the children of God,' and be free!" Science and Health, p. 227.
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