Bar Exam and Idols

Bar Exam #2, Bar Prep, Lawyering

bar exam

This is what my entire life looks like right now. No matter what I’m doing, I’m either studying or thinking about studying. The bar is in one month and now is the time to start crossing responsibilities off of my to-do list and hit the books really hard.

This weekend I had coffee with a girlfriend who asked me to keep going to Community Group (bible study) once a week and not allow studying to become an idol. This sounds reasonable to me in theory, but hard in actuality because I’m also working full time.

I wanted to know your guys’ thoughts. When you have a pressing professional responsibility (deadline at work, finals in school, something going on at home if you’re a SAHM), how do you know when you’re making a task an idol, or giving it the priority it deserves in the season of life you are in?

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11 Comments

  • Reply
    (k)atty at law
    January 28, 2013 at 10:32 am

    When you were talking with your girlfriend, were you able to listen to her speak about what’s going on in her life without zoning out to think about the barzam? I think that’s the only test until something happens that you have to decide whether or not to prioritize over studying (e.g. funeral, wedding, etc. – those things that are hard to think about in the abstract and can’t be dealt with unless they happen). As long as you can put aside your own studying obsession to give your friends / family members / neighbors / whatever the attention and respect they deserve, I think you’re doing ok. Plus, only like 3 more weeks, right? NBD. You can do this thing.

    • Reply
      Brittany
      January 28, 2013 at 4:50 pm

      I think I’m doing a million times better this time around at giving the attention and respect. Thanks for the encouragement :). Also, it’s four weeks. And I need every single week at this point! Gah!

  • Reply
    Heather @ From Here to There
    January 28, 2013 at 10:49 am

    I think it’s all about balance, although, I’m sure you already know that! lol It’s kind of a textbook answer. I think as long as you’re making time for yourself, even if it’s 10 minutes a day, making time with God, even if it’s 10 minutes a day, and every so often, finding time for your friends while studying for the bar and keeping up with your tasks at work, then you’re doing a good job. I think God wants us to pursue our dreams and studying for the bar is helping you do that. So gratitude to him for allowing you to get this far with your dream and pray for continuous support from him as you continue to strive for your dream. I think you are able to hold it back from becoming an idol, when you focus on thanking God for the opportunity and thinking about how studying for the bar is helping you utilize the gift he’s given you in this area of life. Good luck, I know things are always easier said than done! :)

    • Reply
      Brittany
      January 28, 2013 at 4:51 pm

      Thanks, Heather! I like the perspective. :) I’ve never considered it an idol so when someone else said that I was confused on how to answer. I think you’re spot on. God gave me amazing opportunities to get to where I am, and I need to honor him by taking him seriously – and thanking him for it all. I really appreciate your insight!

  • Reply
    Stephanie H.
    January 28, 2013 at 11:37 am

    One of my best friends was heavily involved in going out into the world and loving people, while working over full-time to earn her PhD. She was successful and attributes her success to the Lord teaching her how to avoid this very thing. She would take what she could (say an hour to have dinner with me, or someone she was reaching out to) and ask the Lord “please make the most of this little time I do have to devote to Your “stuff”” :) From what I watched her go through in getting a PhD, all the while never letting relationships slip, that would be my 2 cents for you. Don’t neglect the things that fill your soul – because in the end, those precious few moments are what will help you get through the many hours you have to devote to the “work” Hope that helps! :) Love you!

    • Reply
      Brittany
      January 28, 2013 at 4:52 pm

      Thanks, Stephanie! I was considering that as well. At this point, and really only for the next month, my “community” is going to look different than normal. It will have to be smaller doses of friends instead of larger, consistent gatherings. Hopefully they all understand when I come back from hibernation on March 1st. :)

  • Reply
    Stacy
    January 29, 2013 at 11:06 am

    I just found this, I think the “Identifying Idols” section in this article is really good: http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2009/octoberweb-only/142-21.0.html?paging=off

    • Reply
      Brittany
      January 29, 2013 at 3:30 pm

      Oh thanks!

  • Reply
    kassimortensen
    January 29, 2013 at 11:09 am

    Now that is a tough one. I really think that’s what most of us struggle with… Knowing the difference between the two! However, I’ve always heard that if it’s important enough to you, you’ll make the time for it. The things that really matter are the things that should be a priority.

    • Reply
      Brittany
      January 29, 2013 at 3:30 pm

      Thanks, Kassi!

  • Reply
    stephanie
    January 30, 2013 at 4:22 pm

    oooobvioussslyyyyy we’ve already discussed this situation, but to answer your specific question..

    i think something becomes an idol when it REPLACES something else; when our love for God is overshadowed by our love for something else. idolatry is worship, and worship comes from a place of deep reverence of something.. saying that you’re preoccupied with something that demands a lot of your attention isn’t saying that you have turned this into a thing of worship.

    sometimes they turn into idols; and the slope is always slippery, so it’s good to know where your temptations and preoccupations are so that they DON’T become one.

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