• Marnie Hammar

On Measuring Ourselves


As I round the corner, I see my youngest holding a pencil and a cloth tape measure. He is leaning up against the molding that marks the space between our great room and our kitchen. This molding is worth more to me than the listing price of our home, with its six feet of penciled names and dates that capture heights of our three boys. Always a competition, the boys track and claim their heights with pride, as if their progress is somehow linked to effort. ⁠⠀

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On this day, my youngest is struggling to hold the measuring tape up straight against the wood, yet still stand tall and keep his feet together. He’s already struggling and he hasn’t even tried to get the pencil involved yet. I ask if he needs any help. He thinks no, so I step back, watching. ⁠⠀

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After a few minutes, I gently say, “Sometimes it’s sort of hard to measure yourself.”⁠⠀

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Embedded here is a tale I know too well. How many times have I tried to do the same thing? ⁠⠀

How often am I tempted to focus on measuring up?⁠ When have I tried to do what God’s called me to while also evaluating how I’m doing?⁠ And what exactly am I measuring? ⁠⠀

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Like hide and seek, I hunt for and expose the questions—the unspoken measures—that hide in the corners of my mind: Have I done enough for You, God? Do I give enough of my time, heart, and self? What else should I do? ⁠⠀

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As my son is doing, I have tried holding tightly to that tape measure myself. But I know it distracts. It detracts. Subtracts.⁠⠀

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So I take the tape measure from my youngest. I pencil in his newest growth line, date it, and tell him, “You’re still growing, bud.” And he’s happy with that.⁠⠀

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Read the rest at The Joyful Life Magazine.

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