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Tired of Trying to Measure Up
ALICIA BRUXVOORT

" ... The LORD doesn't see things the way you see them. People judge by outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart." 1 Samuel 16:7b (NLT)

When my youngest son was a toddler, he accessorized every outfit with a bulky silver tape measure. Clipped to his waistband or hooked through a belt loop, the tool was handy for appraising just about anything — toy tractors, popsicles or skateboards.

Although the calculations were useless to a 3-year-old with no grasp of numbers, Joshua spent much of his day wielding that tape measure.

"Would you like cereal for breakfast?" I'd ask my little boy when he awoke.

"Maybe, if it's seventy-seven," he'd reply as he aligned his ruler along the side of a Cheerios box.

"Milk or juice?"

"The one that's fifty-sixteen," my boy would answer.

Eventually, Joshua's quirky obsession tried my patience. One night after he'd insisted on measuring every blanket on his bed before lights out, I complained to God: Could You make him forget about that silly measuring tape, Lord?

The next morning when I frowned at myself in the mirror and harrumphed over my daunting to-do list, my Heavenly Father finally responded: Maybe your little boy will drop his measuring tape when you get rid of yours.

At first, I ignored the conviction I felt when Joshua reached for his silver ruler. But in time, I realized I carried my own measuring systems. Only mine didn't decorate my belt loop; they adorned my mind.

Here are a few of the faulty rulers I found:

The ruler of productivity. This measuring stick assesses my value by my accomplishments: Did I read to my preschooler, fold the laundry or clean the fridge? It assigns value to completed tasks but fails to calculate the worth of immeasurable investments like cuddling my children or listening to a friend. When I rely on the ruler of productivity to establish my worth, time becomes a slave master rather than a gift.

The beauty barometer. This gauge creates comparison and self-scrutiny. It makes me worry about the extra skin around my middle and the faded highlights in my hair. It changes the way I view the woman in the mirror. Do I look more put-together than I feel? Where did those wrinkles come from? Will anyone notice the dark circles under my eyes? The beauty barometer appraises external appearance but fails to calculate the value of inner loveliness.

The happy homemaker meter. This measure prompts late-night baking sprees and glue-gun marathons. It propels me to create handmade Valentine's cards even though my daughter just wants store-bought Barbie cards. It produces guilt when I bring chips to the potluck instead of a hot casserole. The happy homemaker meter can twist fantastic ideas into exhausting must-dos and leaves me feeling more tired than inspired.

Tape measures may be entertaining in the hands of curious toddlers, but they stunt the growth of women like you and me.

Perhaps it's time to give up our mental measures, and let God grow us into the women He's dreamed us to be. His vision for us is refreshing and life-giving. Our key verse reminds us that, "The LORD doesn't see things the way you see them. People judge by outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart" (1 Samuel 16:7b).

Eventually, Joshua traded his shiny measuring stick for a plastic transparent tape dispenser. With a giggle, he applied tape to his favorite book, his baby sister's bruised forehead and his broken Matchbox car.

Rather than measuring, my son turned to mending. And that's just what God longs to do for us. He wants to destroy our tape measures and heal the wounded places in our hearts from constant comparisons and the failure to meet unreasonable expectations.

In fact, when we exchange our faulty rulers for Christ's timeless rule, we may discover that our Savior's measuring stick is actually a wooden cross ... that functions like a roll of cellophane tape.

So I'm abandoning my ridiculous rulers and metrics, in exchange for God's immeasurable grace and healing. Want to join me?

Sweet Savior, I am tired of carrying my own cache of faulty measures. I want to trade my ridiculous rulers for Your timeless stick of grace. Remind me that my worth is immeasurable in You. Restore my joy and increase my faith. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

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TRUTH FOR TODAY:
Psalm 108:4, "For your loving-kindness is great beyond measure, high as the heavens. Your faithfulness reaches the skies." (LB)

Psalm 90:12 & 17, "Oh! Teach us to live well! Teach us to live wisely and well! ... And let the loveliness of our Lord, our God, rest on us, confirming the work that we do. Oh, yes. Affirm the work that we do!" (MSG)

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