Your Grades Do Not Define You

It’s Finals Week at schools across the country. Students are stressing, staying up late, and kicking themselves for not paying better attention in class this semester.

Many students feel MAJOR pressure to deliver exceptional grades. However, sometimes, students just don’t “get” certain subjects. Some teachers are ridiculously hard. Sometimes, stress at home or with friends takes over your life, leaving little time to study the way you need to study.

It’s stressful, I know. This is your GPA! Potential scholarships are affected. College entrance requirements don’t take into account your tougher-than-nails Calculus teacher or your parents’ divorce. You don’t get to put an asterick on your college entrance essay and say, “That Chemistry class? The teacher spent the entire year discussing his favorite movies, then tested over formulas we’d never seen before.”

So how do you deal with the unfair? The frustrating? The less-than-good-enough’s?

Remember that God is in control. My friend, Laura, reminds her AP English students that “Your grades do not define you.” We are the children of Almighty God. We are not a 3.2 GPA or an 800 on the SAT. And God’s plans for our lives are not thwarted by a terrible math teacher or a D in Biology (I speak from experience!).

That doesn’t mean we don’t try our hardest. Paul commands us to “Work hard and cheerfully at all you do.” But here’s the key: “Just as though you were working for the Lord and not for masters”. (Col. 3:23)

There are some things you just can’t control: whether or not your teachers are fair, whether or not you “get” a subject, whether or not your college-of-choice accepts you. If you focus on those things, you’ll be constantly frustrated.

But if you focus on working hard and cheerfully, on pleasing God, then you can experience joy. Even in difficult times. When you remember that your History grade doesn’t define you – Jesus Himself does – you can breathe easy. When you know that God loves you and has a purpose for you – even in that class that seems impossibly hard – you can rest.

When your identity is found in God Himself – not your grades – you are free. So do your best, but don’t get sucked into the thinking that the grades posted reflect who you are. They don’t! You are a beloved child of God. Period.

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