Yesterday, 29th November, marked the end of the first term of my final year of undergrad study, and boy has it flown! Faster than any other term! This term has been jam-packed, with a dissertation due at the start, an exam before term began, and then a heavy workload of essays and more essays throughout.
I am really blessed to love my degree subject, which really helps. But even still, sometimes it can be overwhelming, a lot of my coursemates and I felt the pressure mid-term, and at my uni our terms are only 8 weeks long so everything is super hectic. Add to that graduate scheme applications which are like a whole other degree… it became clear to me near the beginning of term that doing final year in my own strength wasn’t going to work!
That’s why today, I wanted to share a not-so-secret secret weapon for getting through the tasks that seem at the same time momentous and mundane. Let’s be real… a heavy workload isn’t always full of exciting things, often the tasks feel like a slog, hence the workload being a burden. But there is a secret weapon, a helper who is always ready and willing to step in and help us whenever we are facing something greater than us. His name? The Holy Spirit.
Sadly, I think it can be easy to tune out when we hear His name, because He is often attached to so many supernatural things and gifts that can feel beyond us — speaking in tongues, healing the sick, miracles, casting out demons etc. But did you know that the Holy Spirit is actually God’s divinely ordained helper and counsellor for the mundane just as much as for the momentous in our lives?
Let me explain… This year, I knew there was no way I could face the workload alone (think 12 essays, in 8 weeks, 2000 words each, each with multiple primary + secondary texts … that’s like two essays a week plus reading… you feel me? 😭). I couldn’t do that alone. So, I invited the Holy Spirit in. I asked Him before every single essay to give me the grace and ability to focus and produce an excellent piece of work. To skim through the primary and secondary reading (literally, the Holy Spirit’s gift of ‘discernment’ can involve that too!) and filter out what is relevant/helpful and what is not. I asked Him for favour among my professors who’d be reading the essays.
The Holy Spirit came through like a real best friend in two ways.
First, amazingly, many of my essays this year focused on the Bible and on Christian belief, simply because God had led me to choose two particular modules that ended up focusing heavily on Biblical thought. Bear in mind I study Languages, not Theology or Classics where that might be normal. That meant that on more than one occasion, half my secondary reading was done, because I could quote scripture by heart! Especially with essay questions such as ‘Text X is fundamentally Christian because… discuss.’ Honestly, knowing the Bible in those instances meant I was able to debunk or validate essay titles and write convincing essays. And it was the Holy Spirit who would bring those verses to mind as I wrote the essays. Who knew being a Christian would come with such perks in a Languages degree?!
The Holy Spirit really showed me this term that He is not just interested in what we often associate Him with — miracles and the momentous. He is our helper in all good things.
So I was able to write my essays on the Bible. But that’s not all!
By His power, I was also able to produce every essay weeks in advance, often before we’d had lectures on the topics/texts. Again, the Holy Spirit did it.
I truly know that it was the Holy Spirit who gave me a supernatural grace to complete most of my essays two or three weeks in advance of the deadlines this term. I know this because I had a buzz about it and a capacity to read quickly, make notes and produce an essay in a turnaround time that is beyond me. In all my years of study, I’ve never had that before, probably because I never asked.
And sometimes, the supernatural will appear hidden. People around you won’t know the source or will think the power is you alone. My supervisors did. One commended me for being ‘ahead of the game’, and another who’s been teaching at Cambridge for 20 years and is retiring this year said, ‘I have never had a student send me essays this early this consistently’.
THAT WAS THE HOLY SPIRIT YO! The supervisor thought it was me, but we know it was the Holy Spirit. All glory to God!
A final note: Whatever you are struggling with — whether it’s leading a team at work, dealing with a difficult character, writing or planning your dissertation, navigating a relationship, knowing what books to read for your studies, knowing what to eat for dinner… you can ask the Holy Spirit anything, and He is faithful to respond and guide us when we need Him. He wants to be actively involved — every part of our God is relationship-centred. He wants to bring us success. In John 14:16-19 and 26, Jesus says:
16 And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate,[e] who will never leave you. 17 He is the Holy Spirit, who leads into all truth. The world cannot receive him, because it isn’t looking for him and doesn’t recognize him. But you know him, because he lives with you now and later will be in you.[f] 18 No, I will not abandon you as orphans—I will come to you. 19 Soon the world will no longer see me, but you will see me. Since I live, you also will live. … 26 But when the Father sends the Advocate as my representative—that is, the Holy Spirit—he will teach you everything and will remind you of everything I have told you.
I truly hope this encourages you, and that you have a lovely Christmas if I don’t write before then!
See you in December,
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