During our primitive school years, we get used to taking tests. Whether they involve using a #2 pencil to fill in little bubbles or getting each letter correct on a spelling exam, we learn quickly that we must pass in order to succeed. We can’t get our driver’s licenses without both a written and in-car examination. We can’t get through college without passing midterms and finals. And we get used to the act of taking tests.
As adults, the tests become about so much more than academia. We struggle through tests of willpower when coworkers bring in donuts and we are trying desperately to fit into that special occasion outfit. We are forced to hold our tongues when people test our nerves. Our patience is tested as we wait for good or bad news and when children push our buttons. Heck, we even test our own limits by jumping out of planes and taking professional and personal risks.
Even as we’re faced with dozens of tests each and every day, we also find a way to test others.
We test our mates… Be honest, how many times have you said or done something to get a reaction out of your partner? If they behave a certain way, it proves they love us and if they don’t, we can move on to the next fish in the seas. I have certainly tested men in the past. I am a very family oriented individual and I have yet to find a guy that has gotten through the preliminary rounds to meet my entire family. I start with my parents. I know, I know, most people end with the parents, but I am not like most people. If everything goes well, I move on to my siblings and finish with the rest of the clan. Because my family is so important to me, I see no sense in introducing someone who likely won’t be around for a long time.
We test our friends… And they test us. Friendships that last for years and years can be subjected to so many changes. Not all friendship tests are intentional, some are just a part of people living their own lives. We are tested when one friend finds love before another. We are tested when one finds success in their career. We are tested when children are born. Regardless of all these tests, true friendship will always overcome these trials. Sure, there may be bumps along the road and some tests may need to be retaken, but the friends that are meant to stay in our lives will always find a way.
We test ourselves… And this is the biggest test of all. Our hearts are tested by our heads in what almost always leads to a stand-off. So many times in my life has my heart tested my head and unfortunately, there can never be a true winner. It’s a test you can’t pass and a test you can’t fail. It’s you versus you. I’ve been there. My heart has fallen in love with mates that my head knew were unsuitable. My head convinced me to stay in a job even though my heart was screaming, “This isn’t what you want!”
So what do we do?
We keep going. We acknowledge that these tests are meant to teach us lessons and we are to grow from them. No amount of studying will help us get through this test we know as life. As long as we keep moving past the difficult questions and situations, we are passing.
Now, put your pencils down.