Saturday was the first day of finals. I took two, and did decently--not great, but well enough for their respective classes.
Yesterday, Monday, I decided to take my Chem 113 final. Chem 113 is the freshman chemistry lab class--I got to use beakers and mix chemicals and burn my hands with acid, it was great! Anyway, I did horrifically on the final exam. I won't know my score for a few weeks, but I would be confident in saying it is my worst test so far, ever.
About 9/10 of the way through the chem final, I realized one thing that was horribly, horribly wrong with my testing experience. I had not started the test with a prayer.
At BYU, there is a saying that the holiest building on campus is the testing center, because so many desperate, earnest prayers are offered up there. I actually think this is a wonderful thing. We should all ask God for help in our tests, in the Heber J. Grant testing center or wherever else we may be!
And I had completely forgotten that. I was taking this test with an attitude not so much of "How can I prepare myself to be an instrument in God's hands, with His help" as "Hey, lets go show everyone just how awesome Jason Ray is! It'll be fun!" (Hint: Jason Ray is not very awesome. Just a really little bit.)
This realization hit me too late for my chem final, but I went at my American Heritage final today with a different attitude. I made sure to consecrate not just my final, but my entire day, to God (as part of a larger effort to consecrate my entire life). My performance was correspondingly much better.
Such a simple answer, yet so hard for me to grasp!
This is not the only reason I know God is better at all this than I am. I have had several things happen today that basically scream in my face "Jason, stop trying to do this on your own, just turn to God and it will turn out better than you can imagine!"
I'll try to take my last final--my final final--with the same attitude I had today. And even if it doesn't turn out quite how I think I want it to, I know it will happen exactly as God does.