Numerical Focus


I've noticed recently that I focus a lot on numbers. The amount of money (or lack thereof) in the bank account. The number on the scale. The size of the paycheck. The number of calories on my preferred snack. Numbers everywhere!

As a student, one of my least favorite subjects was math. It wasn't that I didn't understand it. It was just that I didn't like dealing with numbers. It was confusing, but more than that, it was always so time-consuming. Algebra completely drained me of strength and energy. To this day, I still prefer almost any other subject over math (even though it's my husband's favorite subject).

So you can imagine my surprise when I realized how much of my life revolved around numbers. Not only are numbers constantly on my mind, but they seem to rule my life. They dictate my actions and attitudes. And worst of all, in a sense, they have become my god. What am I talking about? Let me explain.

The dwindling number that represents my bank account is a constant source of stress and worry. Will there be enough money to pay the bills? What about unexpected emergencies? Why do all the big bills occur at the same time? These questions (and many more) create in me a sense of urgency to do something to try to earn more money. So instead of spending my time doing what the Lord has called me to do, I scheme and plan to find extra ways to earn some dough. These attempts always result in disaster, leaving me stressed which brings about problems of its own.

At this point, I usually notice the number on the scale. Unlike the one in the bank account, this number seems to be on a constant rise. In an effort to fix the problem, I pour over diet books and exercise programs. I weigh my food and count my calories. I perform the required sets of repetitions. Is this bad? No, not at all. But when I don't see immediate results, I again become stressed which leads to mood swings and excessive eating, not to mention headaches, body aches, etc.

Do you see how dangerous numbers can become? But the worst of all is that I've found myself placing my trust in these numbers. If there is money in the bank account, I can rest at ease. If not, I feel the need to stress or do something to make it right. If the weight on the scale is right, I feel happy and deserving of God's love. If not, I feel like a failure and totally unworthy of His attention. I place my trust in these things and find my comfort in them. Little by little, I have been allowing these numbers to take over my life and to become my god, and I didn't even realize it.

But I've realized it now, and I know I must make a change. I cannot continue to allow numbers to rule me. I cannot allow them to dictate my moods and actions. I cannot allow them to take God's place as my strength and my comfort. I have begun a new journey. It is a journey of renewal. The road will be long, and there will be obstacles to overcome, but I am willing to take the journey. Why? Because I must prove to myself that He is all I need. I don't need riches. I don't need the perfect body. I don't need chocolate (that's not to say I don't want it). I need Him. Nothing more. Nothing less.