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Peace and confidence on test day

From the November 17, 2014 issue of the Christian Science Sentinel


Emily Staunton
COURTESY PHOTO

Last April, as the end of the school year approached, I was feeling nervous about two upcoming AP (Advanced Placement) exams. 

Although I had been preparing, I questioned this preparation and tried to cram in extra studying. I was doing much better in my AP English class than I had originally anticipated, but I still felt apprehensive because I had spent less time with the content than I had in getting ready for my US History exam. I definitely wasn’t trusting God or turning to Him much, although I knew I should be doing some spiritual preparation. 

About two days before the English exam, I woke up and had the ’80s song “Walking on sunshine” by Katrina and the Waves going through my head. It’s a positive and upbeat love song. This is a song I rarely think about, so I thought it could be a spiritual intuition. At first, though, I couldn’t really figure out the significance behind this song. 

I did some morning spiritual study by looking up exam-related articles on JSH-Online.com. I found inspiration from many articles, but I especially gained some comfort and learned about a better spiritual basis to start from by reading “The deeper demands at exam time” (Louisa Sonstroem, February 7, 2011, The Christian Science Journal, Web original). What helped me the most was a quote the author mentioned from Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science: “Truth, Life, and Love are the only legitimate and eternal demands on man, and they are spiritual lawgivers, enforcing obedience through divine statutes” (Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, p. 184).

This gave me new perspective and took off a lot of pressure. The quote reminded me that my only job was to recognize and express qualities of God, such as intelligence, purity, honesty, joy, strength, humility, and alertness, to the best of my ability. 

I realized that God didn’t see me as struggling to accomplish a human task of achieving a good score. Instead, God saw me as already perfect, whole, and complete, with all the intelligence I needed, since I am the reflection of divine Mind. My task was to be an authentic and trusting transparency for Life, Truth, and Love. God would take care of the rest. 

God didn’t see me as struggling to accomplish a human task of achieving
a good score.

After establishing in my thought my relationship to God and my real duties to Him, I was inspired to look up the definition of sun in Science and Health, since I was still curious why the song “Walking on Sunshine” had come to mind. Mrs. Eddy writes: “Sun. The symbol of Soul governing man,—of Truth, Life, and Love” (p. 595). Truth, Life, and Love … the same things that are the only “legitimate” demands on us! I then understood that spiritual intuition had led me to pay attention to the song, and that was a springboard to deeper avenues of inspiration. To tie things all together, I saw that with both of my exams, I would be “walking” with—relying on—Life, Truth, and Love, which are always present, so they’re always with me. 

I was amazed by how deep and perfectly applicable God’s messages were for me. I realized I could see these “legitimate and eternal demands” as indicating that I was already shining forth God’s qualities, because I am God’s expression. I felt much calmer and enthusiastic about the upcoming English exam. Through realizing the truth about myself, I wasn’t afraid anymore.

When I went into the exam, I was still a little nervous, but I was also more enthusiastic and trusting. I knew that God, divine Mind, was right there with me, expressing Himself in me. I noticed how peaceful and confident I was as I worked on the exam’s essays. 

During my last essay, I felt even more of God’s presence. I was able to incorporate new examples that came to thought. I had previously worried about being able to think of my own examples for the last essay, but I saw how God, or Mind, supplied me with all the intelligence I needed. I just had to be shining, expressing, and listening. These ideas also helped me when I took my US History exam the following week.

I was grateful for this experience but wasn’t sure how I had done on my AP exams until July, when I learned I had earned the highest score possible on both. My whole experience in my AP classes had been God-guided. It was wonderful to see the natural good that came about by understanding and expressing Life, Truth, and Love and trusting in my abilities as the reflection of Mind.


Emily Staunton is a part of the DiscoveryBound National Leadership Council and is a junior in high school. She enjoys swimming, singing, and spending time with family.

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