Trusting in God

On Wednesday, my class took an Algebra II test. Math is not one of my strongest subjects and it never has been. Nonetheless, I’ve always had a good grade in that class. I felt pretty good about the test. I turned it in and sighed a sigh of relief. Math tests are stressful for me.

I had started to come down with a sore throat kind of thing, it wasn’t too serious, but I didn’t really feel very well throughout the entire test. I didn’t think much of it during the test, but afterwards I started to worry.
I had never taken a test when I was sick. I wasn’t sure that I had thought through things clearly. Suddenly I began to reexamine the test in my mind, trying to resolve each problem. I felt sick to my stomach thinking about everything that I probably did wrong. I felt as if I had answered everything wrong. I felt like my grade would go down in shambles. I didn’t trust myself.
For the past two nights, I have waken up out of a dead sleep, worrying about that test. During the day while I slept (from being sick) I would just wake up in cold sweats and immediately my mind flew towards that test. I was so worried that I cried myself, the warm tears making my feverish face even hotter.
I have never been like this before. I have taken harder tests than this one… in fact I’ve been less worried about finals. I even told a fellow classmate who had missed the test that it was pretty easy, and that she would be fine. I have no idea why I was so worried, I guess I would say that it had to do with me being sick. Most of all, though, I have no idea why I let worry consume me.
Every time I have a test, I spend a significant amount of time studying for it. I also spend time praying to God, asking Him to help me study efficiently and to help me do well on my tests. This always calms me down and always seems to help me- and my grades!
As per usual, before the test I prayed to God to let Him know that I felt pretty nervous and that I needed His help to stay calm and to help me do the best that I could on this test. I felt calm and took the test.
As the day progressed, worry flooded my mind. I just knew that I was going to get a bad grade. I knew it. I waited for the teacher to post the grade, checking the online grades every 30 minutes. Usually, I trust God, knowing that He was there with me to help me study, and He was there with me during the test. I began to replace God with worry. At times I felt like saying “Oh, God! Why? Why are you going to let me fail?”  This put even more worry on me. I couldn’t control it anymore. I replaced God with another distraction… TV or internet. I had to find a way to get my mind off of things.
These things worked pretty well. Once I got into a movie or a new episode, worry floated away. But, movies only last so long. Once they were over, the worry came back. Substitutes for God NEVER work.
I had forgotten some verses that I even have hanging up on the walls of my house.

“Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and mind as you live in Christ Jesus.”                                                          Philippians 4: 6-7  

“Cast all of your cares on Him, because He cares.”          1 Peter 5:7 

I was so caught up in my grade that I forgot that there is an alternative to worry: and that is God. In science class the other day, we were talking about sugar substitutes. Sugar substitutes are extremely harmful. They are practically rat poison. Little do we humans know, but sugar substitutes cause more damage than actual sugar. Everyone has jumped on the bandwagon for sugar-free stuff, but do you really know what you are replacing it with? Do you really know what you are getting yourself into?

The same goes for God. We think that we are totally okay with replacing God with some cheap substitute, like worry, drugs, money, etc. We think that we can make it on our own without Him. How does that affect us though? Not in good ways. It either kills us, or makes us addicted. Cheap substitutes are no match for the love of God.

Sometimes, you might get dragged up on the bandwagon. You might let substitutes replace God. You might think that these substitutes are the better route at times. Trust me though, they are NOT. Worry causes nothing but unnecessary pain and suffering, as do things like drugs, money addictions, food, and ______ (fill in the blank).

You can however, trust in God, putting your cares on Him and praying to Him. He will help you through times of suffering and sorrow. Unlike those cheap substitute we were talking about before, God actually cares. God knows what you need. He knows that you need peace. As said in Philippians 4: 6-7, God has “a peace that surpasses all understanding”. Let God transfer some of that peace to you. Jump off the bandwagon and walk beside the Lord.

God’s way might not be the quicker way to get where you want to go, but it is the better and more effective way. Trust in Him above all things. This will change you. Worrying about everything changes nothing, except your state of mind and your mood… and not in a good way.

Don’t let worry consume you. Worrying is just wasting precious time that you could be spending in much more fulfilling ways. The next time you feel like you need something to get through a hard time, and that something is not God, I want you to make a list. Make a list of all of the ways you could be spending your time instead of spending your time with a cheap substitute. Here’s an example:

Instead of ______ (for me I would write Worrying) I Could: 
Spend time with God
– Spend time with my family
– Read a book
– Go outside
– Read the Bible
– Ride my bike
– Help someone with a difficult task
– Help someone unexpectedly

Have a lovely week! I pray that you will rid yourself of any substitute that you have for God. Let Him help you, care for you, love you, and give you peace.
God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change; the courage to change the things I can; and the wisdom to know the difference. 
(P.S. If you were wondering, I just checked the online grade… I didn’t do too shabby on my test- all that worrying for nothing!)
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