Wednesday, January 8, 2014


My life has been dictated by numbers.  Forever.

- The age marker.  At 7, I wanted to be 10.  At 10, I wanted to be 13.  At 13, I wanted to be 16.... it continued until I grasped that the age I am now is all that I'm promised.  I love 38, even though I've only been it for 1 month... because it's all I'm promised.

- The number on my scale.  Contradictory to EVERY person I've ever known who's talked to me about weight loss vs. healthy living, I check my scale often.  My friend Renee used to talk about her weight being "one blank 4", or whatever it was at that moment.  Once I crossed into the triple digits (which was way before my peers did), the number immediately after the "one" was what took up much space in my mind.  If I was at 1_4, I wanted to be 1[ _ - one]4.  Times in my life, that numbers have easily gone down.  Other times they have shamefully gone up.  And the shame is all mine- I guilt myself into thinking I'm measured by that number.  I.  Am.  Not.

- My GPA.  Hallmark created a wonderful card a few years back that said something like "True Life Fact #513... No one cares what your GPA is."  Truth.  No one does... but me.  I struggled for those college years because the number on my transcript wasn't as high as I'd imagined it would be.  I allowed it to convince my mind that I was "less than."  That somehow my worth was tied up in those numbers... and somehow I told myself I wasn't the person I knew myself to be.  Lies.

- The number of things on my to-do list.  I will never, ever, ever have an empty list.  I imagine that on my deathbed I will feel guilty for the things still there... and likely some of those will be thank you notes I've not yet sent.  (I blame my thank you note aversion to my wedding.  True story.)  I have recently allowed myself some grace on my to-do list... and that was only after living through tragedies that gave us clarity about what really matters.

- The number in my bank account.  I have never been one of those people who is a natural saver.  Neither am I constantly concerned about how much money we have- it's not a source of pride for either Dan or myself.  But after our rocky financial road in the first few years of marriage... that number says to me whether or not I am doing something "right".  When our checking account dips low, it brings back deep seeded anxiety that I have failed.  Guilt and shame creep back up over issues that are years behind us.  Ridiculous.

None of the numbers I noted above matter.  NONE OF THEM.  If my to-do list is crazy long and we don't have money for our "wants" and I gain weight... IT IS NOT ETERNAL.  "Ain't no mountain gonna fall" because I send thank you notes late, or because it took me 10 years to graduate, or because I can no longer eat whatever I want (could I ever do that?).  I am a smart woman- and not because my GPA reflected that.  I am wealthy beyond most of the world's population... and I am blessed to never have known the other side.  Some of the numbers above are important- I want to be healthy, I need to keep on top of my list because some of the tasks affect other people, and I want to be a good steward- yet none of them determine my true worth.

And yet there are other numbers that are critical.  Some of our friends are in crisis as one of Dan's oldest friends has had a stroke.  As her husband watches the numbers on her monitors and hears the numbers her physicians report... that matters.  A key number in their life is 5- the number of young children they have and now have to provide for all while sitting bedside with their beloved mother.  Those numbers matter.

In this New Year, I pray that I keep my numbers in check.  Focus on the ones that matter, give grace to the ones that aren't big rocks, and let go of the rest.  I'll pray that for you, too.  And I ask that you keep our sweet friend Cristi and her number one fan, Hoke, in your prayers.  They truly are some of the best people we know and need all of our prayers.  While I don't fully know or understand how prayer works, I know that when we petition God in great number, our hearts are knit together.  And those numbers, indeed, do matter.

(You can keep up with Cristi's progress on her Caring Bridge site here.)

1 comment:

Renee said...

Oh my goodness - I got a shout out in the blog! Thank you for reminding me that it doesn't matter that I am 1_4!