Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Numbers Fast

I have an obsessive personality. Is there even such a thing? Or does everyone obsess about something?

I started reading Lisa Harper's, Stumbling into Grace about a week ago. If you're not familiar with her, my goodness, check her out on Youtube. She's hilarious...then packs a theological punch. I don't know how I never knew about her until now!



Anyway, for a change, I decided not to blow through the book so that I could check it off my "I read this!" list (if you're counting, that's obsession #1). After reading chapter three, I realized that by skipping over the discussion questions and journaling suggestions at the end of each chapter, I was missing out on something great that God wanted to do. So I started over. I never expected revelation to come simply from journaling, but boy did it come. 

Nothing that wasn't new. Mostly the perfectionism (I refuse to call it mine, thereby owning it), I constantly battle.

But here was something new: I obsess over numbers.

My weight. My triglycerides number (which I can't see, so that magnifies the obsession--which leads to counting the amount of sugar I allow myself to have). My daily caloric intake. My time when I run. The miles I run. The credit card balance. The number of paychecks it will take to pay that balance off. The bank balance. The number of days I run. The number of days I don't run (giving me an excuse for self-flagellation). The amount of library books in my pile to read (leading to anxiety). The amount of time I write should be writing don't write (leading to guilt). What time it is and how much time I have left to_____. Don't even get me started on social media. 

And then I go to work. Did I mention that I'm a bookkeeper?

I wondered why I have this obsession, and what it has to do with perfection. 

Numbers aren't like emotions or people. They don't lie. They don't change. Yes, my weight or run time might change, but that number itself is definitive. Numbers are reliable. The number three is always the number three. 

If I make a mistake with numbers, I can find the error and fix it. Numbers are something I can control. And when I control things in my life, everything is perfect. Until it's not.

So I decided to do a "numbers fast." 

The idea actually came to me after I decided not to turn on "Map My Run" this morning. For the first time in a year, I didn't clock my jog. I just ran. 

At first, it felt wrong. I long for that automated voice to tell me that I've just run one mile (even though I know where that mile is on my route), and I wait expectantly for this robotic woman whom I rely so much on to tell me I've run that mile in less than the time I expect. Sometimes I do. Often I don't. So I push harder, ignoring the praise music in my ear.

As I started my run in the dark this morning, I thought, I should fast numbers altogether. For like three months, since three is the number of perfection. 

Really, those were my exact thoughts. The irony was not lost on me. 

Then I thought, Well, maybe let's try three weeks...how about we start with three days and see where that goes?

Why am I still putting a number on it???

Because of the extreme heat and humidity, I haven't run in a week (yes, I counted), so I immediately felt the burn. Around the half mile mark, I hit my stride, but I was obviously still counting.

A little over the mile mark, I followed the sidewalk instead of continuing on my normal route, which would cut my run short. But something happened when I turned the corner. I followed my feet instead of my head, and I no longer cared how far I would run. And it seemed that in those seconds, the first glimmer of morning light appeared. I settled into my run and actually enjoyed the exercise, the endorphins, and the joy that suddenly filled my heart, breaking the sadness that had engulfed me when I had awoken.


I felt free and unencumbered by the performance perfection that I so frequently place on myself.

Then I encountered something that, had I been "on the clock," I may have ignored. But since I've already written well over the suggested 500 words for a blog post, you'll just have to wait until tomorrow. (Sorry...it's hard to break those habits). Until tomorrow...

Blessings Along the Path,
Mare

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