The Standard of Life

This week has been difficult, to be honest.  It is one of those weeks when you are constantly being measured and have been found lacking.  Whether it is the rejection of a graduate school or the admonishment of a friend that really loves you and wants the best for you, life is continually comparing you to a standard.

I mean the whole collegiate experience is chock full of this process.  This is what the hundreds of papers and tests are all about: all measuring you to a standard.  College is like an incubation period for humans where everyone goes after high school to become adjusted to the “real” life and the “real” world.  If you make it through, you move on to real life.  If you don’t, the consequence is that you are sentenced to a smaller bank account and two cars instead of three.

We have a medical clinic on campus so that college students will learn to go to the doctor when they’re sick instead of mommy and daddy to hold their hands and care for them.

We have dorms on campus so students will learn the skills to help them in real life, like when to wake up for class or a job since mom and dad are gone.  

We have student organizations so students will learn how to interact with like-minded individuals and how to never challenge themselves socially, ideologically, or any other way. 

The whole process of college is a measurement of the individual to the standards imposed by society.  College teaches you how to play by the rules so that you can meet the standard.

Now, I am not one of those anti-establishment individuals who deconstruct reality until it is just a big mess.  Standards are not necessarily evil.  They definitely have a place in society.  If we didn’t have standards, society wouldn’t work.  Doctors could be a hack off the street with a high school biology class under his belt.  However, it is important to keep everything in perspective. 

Unfortunately, sometimes I don’t meet the standard imposed, whether it is my standard, my friends’ standard, my boss’s standard, the college’s standard.  Sometimes standards suck.  Sometimes I get sick of trying to meet the standard especially when I fail often.

It is to no avail to pretend that I will always meet the standards of life.  Nevertheless, it does not make the failure any less difficult.  I still get pissed at myself when I fail.  There are times when I just want to quit everything, reverting back to the schoolyard kid who just takes his ball and goes home when he doesn’t get his way.  According to society then, I don’t meet the standard of maturity or adulthood.  It is a vicious cycle isn’t it?

This is why I have such a begrudging relationship with grace.  I know I need it and sometimes I beg for it.  Yet I absolutely don’t like the fact that I need it.  If it wasn’t for grace, I would be dead but I don’t like that this is true.  My pride takes offense.  This is why anytime I fail, I have such an identity crisis.  Because I like to believe that I am sufficient, good enough, cool enough, handsome enough, right enough.  Time and time again, though, life, my friends, teachers, my bosses, and, most of all, God show me otherwise.  These are humbling moments but needed.  Because they’re right.  I need grace a lot.  I will need grace for the rest of my life.  

It is a constant battle then to battle my pride and put myself in my right place in relation to world and the universe, but I’ve got to do it.  This is the battle that I am called to.  To realize my insufficiency in light of a greater sufficiency of grace and mercy.  Thank God for the greater sufficiency, for He is the Great Sufficiency.  And thanks to all my friends who remind me of this time and time again.  I absolutely need it more than oxygen.

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