life is not a test.


The art assignment was to draw ourselves using words.

Now, the last time I took an art class was in middle school and it’s not like I sketched self portraits of myself in my free time, so I was freaking out just a little bit. But I drew diligently when I could and I was actually pretty proud of how it turned out. It wasn’t perfect by any means, but I handed it to my professor with confidence.

However, Mr. Mak returned it with a different opinion. I flipped over the rubric.


I flipped it back over—staring at, well, myself on paper.

I sat there for a while, looking down at my inadequate artwork. I think we’ve all been there before.

We have two choices: 1. Leave the grade (or failure) on the piece of paper or 2. Put the grade ourselves.

If you are anything like me, you have a really bad habit of grading yourself. You view yourself like a teacher does–adding up points, calculating extra credit, deducting 10% when you’re late. Are you good enough to pass? Or did you fail today?

I honest-to-goodness give myself a mental report card at the end of each day. It’s circled and marked in red pen with all the corrections and assignments I should complete in order to be a better, new, and improved version of myself.

Did God post a study guide somewhere? Because sometimes life feels like a giant test I can’t pass.

But the more I learn about God, the more I find that he writes life like stories, not impossible exams. In every good story, a character goes through changes and challenges. These challenges make room for change to occur. The bad grades make for a better lesson. The failures lead to a greater victory. And as Christians, the end is never really the end.

“We are confident that God is able to orchestrate everything to work toward something good and beautiful when we love Him and accept His invitation to live according to His plan.” Romans 8:28 

With God as both the teacher and the storyteller, we can drop the red pen and trust we will be taught what we need to know and we can turn the page to get where we need to go. The story continues; He is changing us. God doesn’t give us grades.

Since we are all friends here, I’ll show you my art project.


The phrase I chose to write over and over was, “Courage, dear heart” by C.S. Lewis.

Before each terrifying, permanent mark of my black pen, I had to continually remind myself, courage, courage, courage, or I wouldn’t have had the guts to even start.

As you can see, I may not be the greatest at art, but I think I figured out what this “C” really stands for.

Life is not a test; the grade is never final.


“The Lord is greater than the giants you face.” 1 John 4:4


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