Is there some standard you feel you must live by or up to?
Family, siblings, or friends telling you must do this, you must live this way, you can’t do that, abandon all hope for that, and you aren’t worthy of something else? You will need to comply. You must follow the rules, the policies, and the regulations. All of them. No matter if they go against what you want for your life or what you want to do, what you dream about in silence.
There is this standard in my family- I call it the Silver Standard. It is so far above me it might as well be somewhere in a galaxy far, far, away.
I’m number 5 in a family of six, and I have never measured up to the other siblings, especially the males. The oldest is my sister, who I love very much but is judgmental, critical, pessimistic, and overbearing at times. Then I have a brother who is the second favorite son to the youngest male of the family. Two sisters come after him and then me, the disappointment of the family and, again, the youngest male.
Everyone went to college except the oldest daughter. She got married right out of high school. Five of six children played sports and were popular with their peers and teachers, and the first four were close to each other growing up.
The youngest brother, number six, was my parent’s grandson. He went everywhere with them when my dad traveled to meetings for his business. Italy, Greece, and California were just a few places he traveled to, and my mom was heavily involved in his school activities.
We were never allowed to be sick. We were not allowed to talk or laugh at the supper table. We wanted to be at school more than at home because any day off from school was spent washing walls, the refrigerator, the cabinets, the windows, dusting, vacuuming, and any other chore my mom decided had to be done that day. I’m not against those things- really. We needed to do something like that- it taught us how to do those things today for ourselves and our families; at the time, maybe I didn’t appreciate it, but I do now.
We have all had our own experiences trying to reach the Silver Standard. I don’t know if any of us genuinely got it. Our family has many variants- a lawyer, bookkeeper/businesswoman/mom, teacher/super mom/super wife, doctorate holder/professor/traveler/adventurer, me, and photographer/traveler/golden child.
I’ve never succeeded at anything I’ve tried. Didn’t inherit any of my dad’s business savvy, my mom’s passion for angry-cleaning and cooking, never playing sports, having cats instead of dogs, didn’t want to go to college- wanted to go to a technical college to learn basic skills. I chose to read in my spare time, was depressed a lot, spoke the truth when asked questions when lies were preferred, got sick often, and once I started giggling at supper, I couldn’t stop and was excused until I could calm myself down.
I couldn’t clean well enough for my mom or my dad. Summer days were spent cleaning the pool until it was spotless and having to do it repeatedly until no speck of dirt could be found. Once, I had to re-vacuum the house because I had left vacuum cleaner tracks on the carpet. It was totally unacceptable.
Nothing in my life ever made me feel worthy of being a Silver. My parents didn’t hesitate to question why I wasn’t more like my siblings, what was wrong with me, and whether I would be right. Many of those same questions came up in my marriage, and I never felt good enough during those seventeen years either.
It is a large part of why I do not feel worthy of being loved by Jesus. I hold myself to this impossible standard that I have set of being this perfect Christian. If I can’t live up to the Silver Standard, why would I ever be able to live up to God’s standard? I was made in His image (Genesis 1:27), and He tells me the commandments I am to keep, but nowhere in His word does it say that God has a standard that we must reach to be with Him in heaven.You do not enter into heaven through the Christian life. The only standards God has set forth for us to be in heaven are through forgiveness and the righteousness that Jesus gives you. It’s always true that where faith is birthed, works will follow, but salvation is by grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone.Without the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross, I am not worthy to enter heaven. I can do all the good works and try to live a perfect life by blessing others that is humanly possible, but in the end, if I have refused salvation, none of that matters, and I go to hell. This is not what God wants for us, and He doesn’t send us to hell because He wants to or takes some kind of pleasure in it- it is because we refuse His Son’s sacrifice. That is the only standard God calls us to meet. We can giggle or laugh at His supper table, be sick, and He will bring healing; we can be whoever we are and bring our unique talents and gifts to Him, and He will accept us into His kingdom. His salvation, grace, and mercy are all given to everyone on the planet then and now. His sacrifice makes me worthy. Not on my own. Not without His blood.
But through the blood of Jesus, we are all worthy.Thank God.
God chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things—and the things that are not—to nullify the things that are, so that no one may boast before him. It is because of him that you are in Christ Jesus, who has become for us wisdom from God—that is, our righteousness, holiness and redemption. Therefore, as it is written: “Let the one who boasts boast in the Lord.” 1 Corinthians 1:29-31