Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Day Thir-whatever-teen – I’m going to stop counting now

{Photo courtesy of jetsongreen.com}
I count just about everything.  I consciously and subconsciously keep track of how many steps I take, how many calories I eat, how many times I stir my pancake batter, how many seconds it takes to fill up my cup of water, and basically everything else.

For years and years, I allowed numbers to rule my life.  I constantly tried to be more efficient in everything I did.  I tried to eat fewer calories than the day before, walk to a destination in fewer steps, do things in the least amount of time possible, and so on.  I had to keep doing better and better otherwise I was pretty much a lazy failure.

This practice was/is ridiculous.  First of all, it is exhausting to keep tabs on everything every second.  In addition, I was focusing all my effort on numbers I could control rather than focusing on life itself.

The simple issue was that I was trying to be smaller, or less visible, hence the want of smaller numbers.  I thought that I was taking up too much space.  However, the great paradox, I thought that I was too much because I thought that I was not enough at the same time.  I was “too much” because I thought I was taking more than my share.  And I was “not enough” to deserve good things.  I thought controlling the numbers would help me feel good enough.

Control is a dangerous temptation. A popular example is trying to control your health.  People everywhere are concerned about healthy foods, foods that help you live longer, vitamins that ward off diseases, and so on.  Trying to control your health can be a distraction from your real mission in life.  Sometimes it is easier to use our energy to control our health then use our energy to live out our vocation.  Jesus pretty much flat out tells us this in the Bible:

"Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life? And why do you worry about clothes? See how the lilies of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith?” (Matt 6:25-30)

It is scary to give up control.  You think things are just going to fall apart.  But God is in control.  He is the creator.  He allows us to keep breathing, walking, talking, and living.  I cannot will myself to have life.  But if God stop thinking about me for an instant, I would cease to exist!

Yes, I would agree that, sometimes, trying to be efficient is a good practice.  But you have to know when to shut it off.  Until, you belief that you are good enough the way you are NOW, you will never be good enough, no matter how much you change.  And until you give up the control to God NOW, you will never be free from worry, no matter how much you try.

Challenge of the Day:  Stop counting, stop controlling.  And throw away your bathroom scale.  Don’t even donate it.  Just throw it in the trash.  You are so much more than that number.  If you are unhappy about the way you look and you think that you will be happy if you lose weight or try to control your health, you won’t be happy.  I promise.  If you think that lowering the number on the scale will make you happy, you will actually be quite miserable.  Do you want to spend your life worrying about numbers and health?  It is a dead-end road that will only lead you astray.

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