Tuesday, November 23, 2010

A Numbers Game & Soli Deo Gloria Link-up

I'm so glad you are back.  All through the week, I so look forward to this day, to catching up with you and seeing your sweet faces on my blog!  If you are new to Soli Deo Gloria, please click "here" to read about the heart behind this meme and to get the guidelines.   Don't forget to grab the button so that people who visit your blog will know where to find us in case they would like to share their hearts, too.

My life.  Seems it is ruled by numbers and has been for a very long time.

Numbers on the scale.
Numbers in the checkbook.
Numbers on my report cards.
Numbers on my jeans.
Numbers of followers.
Numbers on my watch, telling how fast I've run.
Numbers on the clock, telling me how little time I have left.
Numbers on my paycheck.
Numbers of comments.
Numbers of children.
Numbers on the mortgage statement.
Numbers of birthdays.
Numbers of kids who attended the Sunday school class.

I've used them to decide if I've done a good job, if I've shown restraint, if I've pushed myself, if I'm competent, if I'm an athlete, if I'm balanced, if I'm fruitful, if I'm...worthy.

There should have been a commandment:  Thou shalt not live thy life by numbers.  

I cannot live life by these figures anymore.  Simply put, if I go by them, I will never fully measure up. I will never live up to my own expectations because there is always a number higher or a number lower.  As long as I can push the envelope, as long as I can strive, as long as I can achieve more, place higher, go lower, I will.  That is, if I continue to live by sums, paces, pounds, stats.

There is more to life than this.  There is something so much better than measuring, than comparing, than achieving.  All of those things make life about me.

Life is not about me.

So, maybe there is a commandment about this.

Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God's mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God - this is your spiritual act of worship. Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is - his good, pleasing and perfect will.  Romans 12: 1-2

The world is all about numbers.  I cannot live by the numbers while trying to live a life of sacrifice.  Numbers make me hungry, not for the spiritual fruits, but the poisoned ones.  I don't think worship entails trying to be the best, to achieve the most, to sit on top of the world.  Being pleasing to God often means taking the "other" path, the one that is not about my glory, but His.

I'm making a concerted effort to lay down these numbers, to stop playing the game, and to just live.  Some numbers are harder to surrender than others, honestly. Even as I ponder which ones to consider, I get a little knot in my stomach.  Tangibly, this is what I am going to do right now so to lessen my focus on the numbers and sharpen my focus on Him:

1.  I'm banning myself from the "Stats" tab on Blogger.  Because I write for Him.  Because I don't need glory.  Because the site-o-meter makes me think about me and I don't want to think about me so much.

2.  When my daughter comes home from school and tells me that there is a pajama drive at school for the needy children, I will not tell her that I have to check the balance of the "Giving envelope" before we head to Target.  I will tell her that we might have to sacrifice in some other areas but giving to people who have a real need is more important than us eating out at a restaurant, getting our car washed, or buying a new pair of shoes when clearly we have enough already.

3.  I'm going to spend less time trying to micro-manage my time and allow God to direct my day.  I'm going to be open to plan-changes instead of getting my panties in a wad.  I'm going to have faith that if He needs me here, whatever is happening over there will be good until I can make it.

What numbers control you?


  1. Many of the same numbers consume me. But numbers are not the source of our worth or identity.

    Another great post, thank you.


  2. this is gospel and it speaks grace and keeps giving away...until we're bankrupt and broken and beautiful...i wrote about that first line "Gospel speaks grace..." and you are speaking it here...so wonderful to link again:):):)

  3. I am SO guilty of this...especially living by the clock. I like to know what time it is and plan things accordingly. There if goes with the perfection thing again. Sigh. I am slowly learning to give up control...and number...well that is going to be a big one.

  4. Those stats....when did that get added and who told me about it. Admittedly on the days I post, I'm continually running to the computer. Today, I'm with you I will not run to the computer. When I have time, after spending it with God, my husband and my children all in that order, will I sit down and commune with the world.

  5. Good for you! I am SO not a numbers girl - never liked math. But like you, I do have some numbers that get in the way of my life as well. The numbers on the scale are big right now and yes, I look at the numbers of my blog. I will say that I feel much better about this after attending the Relevant Conference because they really hit home what I know in my heart - writing is a ministry, a gift given to glorify Him.

    Ann Voskamp said in her closing keynote at the conference, "Jesus only had 12 followers. And he lost one." :)

    Thanks for revealing your heart and for doing this meme - I'm really enjoying it!

    Natalie at Mommy on Fire

  6. i lived in the trap of the scale for so long. awesome post - thank for sharing your heart.

  7. Jen, I love the imagery of the poisoned fruit. Also, the pajama drive has given me food for thought...thanks!

  8. Oh Jen, I am not even a numbers person, I don't even like numbers but I am ADDICTED to numbers!I am so with you!!! I have got to take the time to figure out how to get 'linked' up. Next week, I am going to work on this, I love this so much!

  9. Resolving to see things, including time, as God sees them is to daily choose the Cross and to walk in new, resurrected life in Him. It's a battle, but it's worth the fight every time! :) I always end up regretting the days that I followed my own flesh instead of being obedient to Him. God bless you as you walk in this! :)

  10. Yes, I allow numbers too much control in my life.

    My current worry- the numbers that will be displayed telling me if I passed some "important" test, or what I translate those numbers to mean... if I'm worthy or not.

  11. Those darn tricky numbers. I get trapped by them in even the silliest of ways. I've had to ban myself from reading my stats everywhere. I just want to be ok without numbers for awhile. (Thus my unplugging over the next few weeks!) Thanks for this reminder!

  12. Wow! The numbers on the scale control me along with the numbers that say how long Ive worked out, how many push ups, crunches, laps, etc.

    The numbers that have consumed me most here lately involve counting how much (or how little) my now ex contacted me, how many times he said "I love you," how many days it had been since I had seen him, how many times we were intimate and how long it had been since the last time... These numbers epitomize my idolotry for him. Thank you for the new perspective. Thank you for your obedience to God because He is using you and the other lovely hearts I have been connected with since.

  13. Once again, you've blessed my heart! Oh, I think our world is consumed by numbers and I've never thought about it quite the way you presented it. Well stated and well received my dear!

    Hugs to you this day!

  14. I hope you find freedom and FUN released from new orientation--you have boldly chosen what is better. :)

    Ann Kroeker, Content Editor

  15. Wow, I left out some words there, but you get the idea.

  16. I'm late for the link up (life hasn't been going according to schedule lately)
    But here's my link!
    Blessings to you all.


  17. Thanks, Jen!
    Oh, the numbers, the numbers.... I appreciate that God has a whole book in the biblical canon about Numbers, but I'm glad we need not be ruled by numbers.

  18. Staggering by from SITS...thank you so much for this post today. It came at just the right time in my life.

  19. Read this post when it was first published. Still ruminating on my "numbers." Its hard to extend oneself grace sometimes.


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