Numbers, Lies, and Identity
I’d like to lose a few pounds. My forty-year-old metabolism is slowing down and shedding holiday weight from 1998 is not an easy thing. I don’t want to do some fad diet or starve myself.
I’m old school. Eat sensible, try to cram some fruits and vegetables in your pie hole, move your sluggish body around, drink water, watch calories from drinks, and keep track. Keep track so you don’t lie to yourself.
Well, I got on the scale and saw a number I didn’t like. I had gained a pound. What? With a little reflection my lunch, dinner, and lack of water was the culprit. But it messed with my head and heart. Why did I care so much about the number staring back at me?
In this moment I wrapped my identity, worth, and value in a stupid number. Been there?
Numbers define so much of our lives. How much money is on our bank statement? What is our grade point average? Do we have a significant amount of likes on our new business page? How many years someone has been married, single, or how many years have passed since the death of a loved one? What was attendance at church, our event, or how many people came for dinner?
Not that all numbers are bad. They can paint a picture of what is, but often they fall short. These seemingly significant numbers that shape and motivate our lives are not always telling the whole story.
Does an extra pound on the scale mean I’m a worthless piece of trash? A fat guy with no hope of ever losing his love handles? No. Do likes, comments, and shares define my worth and love before God and the people I actually care about? They shouldn’t when I’m thinking straight.
I do not find Identity in numbers. Identity must come from somewhere else. Someone speaking to how things truly are. Numbers are lies and based in law not grace.
We deal in grace.
For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother's womb. 14 I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well. -Psalm 139:13-14