The Numbers Game

We are all defined in some way by a number.

We are an age. A weight. A height. We get a score. A grade. A seat number. A number of likes on Instagram. A number of followers on Twitter. A rank. A number of dollar bills in the bank.

All of these numbers seek to dictate our worth. Our value. Our importance. Our legacy. This is why we instinctively obsess over them. Numbers have this nasty tendency to take over our minds and drive us into thinking that unless we are defined by a certain satisfactory number, we are not good enough. Not strong enough. Not pretty enough. Not happy enough. Not successful enough. Not loved enough.

This can apply to a lot of different facets of life.

In sports, athletes will spend hours upon hours to improve their scores or rankings. It becomes all about the numbers. In business, the CEO will work overtime and cut paychecks in order to improve profits. It’s all about the numbers. In school, a student will stay up long hours into the night to secure a 4.0 GPA. It’s all about the numbers. At home, a family will do all they can to spend as little as possible in order to pay bills. It’s all about the numbers. In pursuit of being “beautiful” in the mirror, a girl will run long miles and eat little calories to just look at herself and feel “okay” when she steps on the scale or posts a picture. It’s all about the numbers.

But guess what- I have a truth to tell you. It’s NOT all about the numbers. It’s about God. And you want to know something about God that is 100% true yet highly overlooked? He is NOT LIMITED by numbers. God and his power can’t be quantified by numbers, so therefore He doesn’t quantify US in numbers.

This isn’t to say that He doesn’t know how many of us there are- because He does. He also knows how many hairs are on your head, how many thoughts you have per minute, and certainly how many times you accidentally ram your knee into a desk per day (according to the mysterious bruises, I’m pretty sure I do this without realizing it all the time). So I am not saying He does not know the numbers. However, what I am trying to say is that the petty numbers we allow ourselves to get marked or stamped with here on earth are not worth living for. Often because people get so caught up in what place number they are, they forget what they were originally in the line for.

Teenage girls can get so focused on just having a guy in their life that once they get him, they forget why they ever wanted him in the first place. They spent so much time chasing and pushing other girls out of the way that once they reached the goal, it was not exactly what they expected. Another example is in the realm of sports. Runners spend the entire race trying to move up their position. But if they lose their love for running in the process, then what’s the point of winning?

So what do we do instead?

Chase life, not a number.

Chase love, not a number.

This is because a number already exists that carries much more weight in our lives. It’s our expiration date.

This is perhaps the scariest number of all. The reason it scares us so much is that it CANNOT be predetermined or stamped on our foreheads while we are alive. It can’t be chosen. It is not in our knowledge, and there is no way to put it there. It is the only number in this world that is truly concrete and unchanging….yet completely unknown.

With this in mind, we need to figure out what to do with the years before the expiration date arrives. What do you want your life to be about when you expire? You can’t chase and find fulfillment through the amount of “stuff” you have or followers you accumulate. However, if you chase Jesus, you will always get back what you put in- and more. This reminds me of something significant about numbers here on earth. We have to work really hard to get them. It often takes major sacrifice and dedication in order to achieve the desirable grade or score that we want. Now, there’s no problem with working hard and investing time into something we care about. That’s how things get done here. But Jesus works differently. He is the one investment that results in infinite, unquantifiable results. An all encompassing peace that cannot ever be explained or put into words. Yet, all He asks of us to receive this is to believe and trust Him. Follow Him. That’s it. From there, He leads us. It may not always be easy or convenient, but it’s always worth it. Unlike worldly numerical investments, God can’t fail. It’s impossible. An investment in Jesus is a completely perfect and fail proof investment. Plus, here’s another really cool thing about Jesus when you invest in Him:

He makes that concrete number…that daunting expiration date…a starting line instead of a finish line.

Eternity in Heaven isn’t numbered. It’s forever. This blows my mind. Once life ends, a new life in Heaven begins. So forget numbers. They will dissolve with time anyways. God’s love and purpose for us isn’t measurable. It’s incredible.

That said, if you are super math oriented and can’t stand the idea of ditching the numbers game, try focusing on these numbers instead:

A number of years to live.

A number of people to meet.

A number of lives to change.

A number of days to love.

Make them count.

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Why We Can Float Above Calamity

Calamity: an event causing great and often sudden damage or distress; or as I see it, a big crashing together of things that changes everything else.

Sometimes we get so caught up in the hum of our lives that we forget to stop every once in a while and listen to the hum of LIFE overall.
It buzzes. This world is alive.
Our world is not purely based on our own individual perceptions of it. Everything is all happening at once.

What’s in a day?

Hours upon minutes upon seconds upon moments…of LIFE. All separate but all at one time. We are constantly living in this magnificent calamity of time and space with lives colliding and changing at a constant rate. Yet, we get so torn up about our own personal calamities that we forget about the rest.

Not all calamities are bad either.

I thought about this as I walked in the desert that is my school’s gravel parking lot. As the dust swirled in the air around me and the sun beat down on my neck, all was silent. Yet it wasn’t.

The faint sound of the birds chirping presented me with a peace I can’t fully explain. It transported me away from everything in an instant. Away from the stress of senior year. Of college. Of relationships. And back into the awareness of God.

His creation is buzzing around us constantly. We are all buzzing around EACH OTHER constantly. Yet it’s so easy to confine ourselves to just our own calamities and stresses. It is good to strive but we must also consider the fact that this is not the purpose of life- to be chasing the things we see. We are to chase a life of spiritual calamities, not physical calamities. Calamities of the crashing of your heart into the haven of Heaven, not your fist into the heart of someone else.

However, collisions of the heart with others are going to happen in this world. When you feel it damaged or penetrated, do not fear or despair. This is necessary in order for God to repair.

This is because life’s physical calamities are inescapable. We all get tossed, broken and beat up at different points in our lives- even if we are chasing the good things. However, Jesus makes life’s calamities easy to bare. If our hearts are set on Heaven, we are closer to it. When the calamity of a deep valley arrives, it is then, when we are suspended higher towards Heaven, that we are able to float over them with greater ease. The valley isn’t as dark or deep because Jesus holds us higher up atop of it.

We still go through the valley, but the fear is lessened because we have a grip to hold onto keeping us safe. And the other blessing that comes with being suspended above your valleys is the ability to not only feel their impact less, but to see the sunny green fields beyond it MORE. Your perspective is redirected to a greater picture.
A more beautiful and expansive masterpiece than the limit of being trapped in the depths of the valley. It allows you to have hope. It allows you to see that the valley is only a small part of the story, but necessary for the next chapter.

It is true that our calamities make us who we are. But it is also true that when our hearts collide with Heaven, they allow us to view them from afar.