Numbers & the Pressure to Perform

I’ve always loved numbers.

They’re concrete, I understand how to manipulate them, and I’m pretty good at telling you what they mean.

I was that girl in high school that got excited about solving a homework problem and did my assignments twice sometimes for fun. I know, I’m a geek.

While math problems are innocent fun (for me), sometimes I use numbers to measure and grade and place value on myself.

Maybe you do this, too?

Although it’s a tad embarrassing (here’s me being completely vulnerable), I do this with my GPA, likes on Insta, views on this blog, the amount of texts from friends when I’m feeling lonely, the number of times people say I’ve done well on something, and maybe even the number of comments in the comment box.

It hit me yesterday as I was driving back home from working on my internship. For those who don’t know, I am a marketing intern for a local church and am currently in charge of their social media channels. And I love it. So much. There have been a few things that have surprised me so far about the work that I’m doing, but one is that I’ve placed so much of the value in what I’m doing on the numbers that I’m seeing.

And it’s discouraging. And it wears on me a bit.

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Maybe for you it’s not about social media numbers. Maybe for you it’s the number of students that make an A on your test, or the score on the scoreboard at the end of the game, or the number of dates you’ve been on, or the number of dollars in your bank account.

Yesterday I realized this was going on in me and had to remind myself over and over that the value of who I am and the value of what I do can’t be measured by the numbers. The true and eternal value isn’t placed on me or my work by the number of likes on a post. It’s determined by Christ alone.

Let’s face it, we can’t always see the work He’s doing through us. The good that He’s doing in the lives we’re touching because of Him is not measured by things we can see. We have to trust that as long as we’re doing that which He’s called us to do, He’ll use it. He’ll use us.

When the numbers are low, give Him praise for what He’s doing through you that you can’t see. When the numbers are high, give Him thanks for allowing you to see some of what He’s doing through you. Let’s face the pressure to perform by praising the Provider.

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Keep going, friend. Keep teaching and writing and creating and speaking and loving. Keep doing what He’s called you to do. He honors the obedient’s work. We aren’t working toward nothing. How could we? We are Children of God.

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This week I read Simply Tuesday by Emily P. Freeman. I had already written this post before digging into the book, so I laughed when I read the following out of Emily’s fourth chapter, named “Effort and Outcomes”:

“Sometimes I feel like I’m walking through a battlefield and my enemy is an army of numbers.”

As a response to this feeling, Emily explains the importance of smallness in our every day lives. The small-moment living in a fast-moving world.

Her words are written with grace, understanding, and wisdom. I would suggest it to anyone who’s seeking more on the concept of stillness and smallness amidst the craziness of life.

You can purchase Emily’s book here.

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