Living By Whose Standards?

My husband and I are a few seasons behind watching House. It's a series we both enjoy, not the least of the reasons being Hugh Laurie's witty and complicated rendering of Dr. Gregory House. When we've been hovering over very sick children in the hospital, we've often joked, "Where's House when you need him?" But he is very, very flawed as a human, no? So am I.

Anyway, recently on the show hospital director Dr. Lisa Cuddy has just passed a home inspection required for her pending adoption of a baby. The house looks like a new baby lives there, with bottles on the table, laundry left unfolded, and a tired mom unready for the unexpected early visit by the social worker. She passes the inspection, but nevertheless she is very disappointed with herself.

"I passed by their meager standards but I failed by my own", she laments. It was at that point that my husband paused the show and turned to look at me. I said, "Rewind that!" That quote could have come straight out of my mouth.

How many times do we set up standards for ourselves that we cannot possibly meet and then feel like total failures? In what areas do you see yourself setting markers that only you are deeming necessary? Ivy-league prep homeschooling for the kids, gourmet meals three times a day, all the laundry done at the end of every day, a perfectly kept home, a bountiful and carefully maintained yard, squeaky clean cars, birthday cards mailed on time, scrapbooks up to date, a checkbook always balanced, the ideal weight, creative date nights, volunteer duties done on time and better than the person who held the position before you... and I could just go on and on.

And then ask, Whose standards matter most?

Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life. Proverbs 4:23