This is not a post about the evils of standardized testing. I realize there are complex issues surrounding them these days, but as a kid I can honestly say I enjoyed standardized test days. No lectures, hours of quiet, and extra snacks. An introverted, average student’s dream school day.

No, no, no – this post is about the forms we used to complete the tests. Scantron. Go back with me…

#2 pencil required

fill in the box completely not partially

only fill in one box per question

zip through machine ***remember the noise?

Grade – even your grade as it relates to everyone else’s grade – in the whole STATE!! Talk about knowing where you stand!

Alas, there is nearly nothing in my life that resembles those beloved Scantron forms anymore. All my answers are only ever partially filled in or worse, every question definitely has several possible boxes I might color in.

Today I met with a girl working through some painful issues. I listened a lot. I prayed a lot. I said a lot. And I walked away in the wonder and fear of doing this for a living. There will be no grade. There may not even be any affirmation of anything I said or did having helped her. I will most likely not get to see what God ultimately does or see any fruitfulness that comes from our season together.

One of my kids and I were in the ring a few days ago, each of us in our corners, fists up. I listened a lot. I prayed a lot. I said a lot. And I walked away in the wonder and fear of this phenomenon too.

God, it would be helpful if every now and again, like in school days, I could sit down with my #2 pencil and you and just get some kind of sense.




This parsing through your Word, listening to the Holy Spirit, and trying to decipher my ugly prejudiced thoughts from your Shepherd voice is taxing, and feels very unreliable.

I mean, I don’t really want a Spiritual Standardized Test- but actually I do. I really do.

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