This is not a test - Let me tell you.

This is a test.

This is a test of my ability to capture your attention with the way I craft thoughts, spin sentences, and wrangle words into alignment.  This is a test of how alliterative, eloquent, and provoking I can possibly be.  Will you keep reading?  Will you want to come back for more?

When I walk out the door of my dormitory, that is a test.  It is a test of my capabilities, my capacities, and my calling.  It is a test of how focused, productive, and at the same time, how personable and flexible I can be.  Will the hours in the day be enough?  Will I know what to do with them?

When I walk into my student teaching placement prepared to teach a lesson, something changes: that is not a test.  I have a purpose in the content and context I want my students to understand, and I want to make a good impression on my mentor teacher: yet I know that I am not supposed to be perfect yet, or even particularly good.  It seems like a simple thing to understand.  Tests; you get a grade.  It places a value on your effort, and it rewards the ability to succeed.   But in learning to teach, even the moments of failure have value, because it’s in them that I learn the most. Teachers spend a lifetime honing their craft: the rapport with their students, the balance of personal and professional life, the lesson planning.  I’ve only been teaching a few years, so it stands to reason I have a lot to learn.  So when I make a mistake, I give myself grace.  I hold myself to honest standards.  I see it as learning, not as a test.

Why do I expect myself to be perfect – or even particularly good – at the rest of my life?  I haven’t been at it all that long, in the grand scheme of things. It would stand to reason I have a lot to learn.  But I give myself no grace.  I hold myself to unrealistic standards.  And I see living as a test, not as learning.

Friend, God did not make us the way we are to test this big bad world out on us.  He made us to live and love, to be and be seen.  He did not intend for us to know all, but to ever be learning.

I am slowly, but surely coming to believe that this beautiful thing called life?

This is not a test.

This month, I’m challenging myself to participate in 31 Days of Five Minute Free Writes – composing a post in five minutes flat based on the one-word prompts the lovely Christina at Creative & Free has designed.  While I won’t be posting every day, I hope this will motivate me to share small snapshots of my walk and wanderings more often in this space.  To see all of my posts from this series, click here.