This is a longer post than usual. Not really about simplifying, although all about Jesus…and you know that’s what matters most. So here we go…
As long as I can remember they have been a source of false comfort for me.
As a child, having even amounts of things always made me feel secure. I liked the numbers 2 and 4 and 16. I guess because they were easily divided. I just found comfort in those numbers.
As a teenager struggling with extreme emotional difficulty, I turned to numbers to try and find some control. They provided me a false sense of security and the idea that if I stayed within certain numbers, I would find peace and security.
What started as a normal growth spurt freshman year, when my small frame reached triple digits in weight, all of a sudden I was uncomfortable. 100 lbs. was scary. But 99 lbs. was better. Months later, 84 lbs. was even better. Even if it ended in two long-term hospital stays.
The numbers on the scale ruled my mood and next it became the numbers of calories I ate. I was diagnosed as anorexic but looking back I didn’t have the typical patterns. I wasn’t a perfectionist (still am not 😉 )and I wasn’t striving for some ideal. But I was obsessed with those numbers.
I have journals and journals that I kept those few years- all filled with numbers. I recorded every single calorie. And pored over those counts over and over all day long. And the closer to 200 per day, the more in control I felt. Because at that time, my life felt very out of control and I was looking for any way I could to control it.
My mood, my security, my life, depended on numbers.
Praise the Lord, I was completely redeemed from that bondage. I rarely ever talk about it, let alone write about it(!) because it is nothing at all who I am today. Not even one tiny iota. And once you tell people about that past, they look at you differently. And I don’t want that. I don’t want to be labeled.
I don’t have any ounce of that tendency anymore and never think about food in that unhealthy manner. I enjoy food and have a very healthy relationship with food. I don’t count calories or lbs. or anything at all anymore. And I know people say you are never really cured of that disorder, but I truly was and my heart aches for anyone in that bondage.
A Transfer of Numbers
Yet, as an adult, I still have had that false security about numbers. You all know the struggle Steve and I have had over the years with job losses. That set me up early in our marriage for a new dependence on numbers. I used to be the one who handled all of the bills back then, and I was the one who saw our account go down to the penny each month.
So, my new obsession became with those financial numbers. It wasn’t calories or pounds, but it was now dollars and cents.
We didn’t have internet banking back then, but I did have the bank on speed dial and remember checking the balance in the account multiple times a day. Just because. ALL for a false sense of security.
I would constantly add up bills on scraps of paper. I was constantly looking for peace and control in those numbers.
Over the years, thankfully, times have not been so tight and God has provided through Steve’s self-employment and my own work. And eventually, Steve took over the bills. We no longer are scraping by and God has given us margin. Praise Him.
Several years back though I realized that the unhealthy obsession I had with numbers in high school transferred to that same unhealthy obsession with financial numbers in adulthood. I was constantly looking for security in something I felt that I could somewhat control. Something that felt tangible.
I still have to fight that tendency to put my faith in numbers, and Steve and I often joke because I don’t want to have anything to do with our financials anymore– I am happy to let him handle it, so the anxiety doesn’t come back. Because even though we aren’t living with pennies in the account anymore, for some reason no matter what the numbers, I have a tendency to get fixated on them and let them control me.
Numbers as a Comfort
It has also happened to me with health issues. Another place I have struggled with anxiety. Last year when I had a health scare following routine bloodwork, I was obsessed with those numbers. Each round of bloodwork came back and it spiraled me into that same obsession. Focused on numbers.
Or sometimes, if I see statistics about diseases, I can fix on them. I have found myself searching out numbers to comfort myself.
When all along, I have all I need in the One who comforts. The One who is really in control.
Recently I came to a revelation that blew me away.
My 7th grader has been learning math this year from a Biblical perspective. Many of the lessons have focused on how math points to God. And how you can see Him in numbers because 1) God is the author of math and 2) it shows an attribute of God- His absoluteness!!
You see 2+2 is always 4. Right? We can’t change it. No matter what we believe, it is ALWAYS going to be 4. We can’t say we believe 2+2=3 and make it true. We just can’t. It will NEVER change. EVER!
And that is an attribute of God. No matter what we believe or don’t believe, there is Absolute Truth. And HE is Truth! And we can’t change it. He can not change. He is ALWAYS the same. And that is the ultimate comfort!
Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever. Hebrews 13:8 (ESV)
I realized- what unhealthy faith I was placing in numbers can now be transferred to a very healthy and real faith. You see I was placing my faith in numbers before I knew the one true God. But I was looking for security in that very thing.
And now, knowing God, I no longer have to have a false sense of security in a “number” but in HIM– who IS absolute!
“…and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free.”
I was looking for security in the number, but I have found it in Him who encompasses all the absoluteness of those very things.
Isn’t God amazing? I don’t know if I have explained it well, but I do hope it makes some sense. In my heart, I have seen that what I was searching for was there all along, but it was my view of it that was skewed.
I am so thankful God has opened my eyes.
I don’t need to have a false security in anything anymore. I have true security in Christ. I have true freedom in Him. I have absolute and 100% faith in the God who created not only numbers but who IS absolute! He is the One and Only One I will put trust in. Not in things. Not in ideas in my head.
And He is the One who controls the numbers.
“Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the LORD our God.” Psalm 20:7 (ESV)
I trust in the God who created not only numbers but every single thing. He knit me together into this world and He has a perfect plan for my life. He is in control.
No matter what the bank account says, or the scale says, or even the bloodwork says, God is sovereign and in control of all. He ordains all of those things. I look to Him in light of those things. I look to Him to walk with me no matter what swirls around me. I ultimately can’t control anything, but I can find peace knowing He is in control.
I am no longer searching for things to control, but surrendering to the One who controls the universe.
I am no longer a slave to the numbers, but a slave to the One who created them.
And that I exactly where I want to be.
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This summer, I am hosting a women’s retreat in Gettysburg, PA. In a world of excess, we are going to focus on that fact that Jesus is enough. The world will tell you YOU are enough. But truly, HE is enough. He is all we need. We don’t rely on ourselves, or earthly comforts, but on Him alone. I have lived with it all stripped away, and I have seen that yes, Jesus is enough. In fact, Jesus is MORE than enough.
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