Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Pick a Number…Any Number

ideas of what I wanted to be when I grew up (a handful to a now certain one)

math scores (pick any number between 50-100)

high school fundraiser “popularity gauge” candy canes (one year, one, another year, twenty)

invites to attend Homecoming in high school (one year, nine, one year, none)

people I could call close friends (a roomful of rockin’ moms from a church mom’s group I led in Ohio, one old neighbor lady in Georgia)

digits on a scale (in my adulthood, a 30lb spread)

social networking stats on any given site on any given day (changing every day)

moments I’ve trusted in God’s love above what any number could reveal (hoping for an exponential increase on this one)

Numbers are concrete. I’m a novelist. I create imaginary worlds and make believe characters.

Numbers are concrete. More often than not they scare me because they don’t speak to me. They aren’t words. I adore words. Words fill the playground in my brain. I tend to kick numbers to the curb.

However, I’m aware numbers can be valuable at times. In publishing, for example, I’ll want to keep close tabs on how my books are selling. If I notice a lull, I’ll work harder to sell more books. I’ll pay attention to the numbers. I’m not blind to them. I pay attention now, too (sometimes more than I’d like). But numbers also tend mess with me. (Scale anyone?)

There are days I’ll see a number on one of my social networking sites and I’ll feel the lure to compare, but then I remember how much more gratifying it is to compete against myself (and my own current numbers). I remember how passionate I am about uplifting other women, even if that means their numbers get elevated and mine do not. I recall my deep desire to move forward in this industry with integrity, establishing genuine relationships based on something more than a notch on a computer screen. I remember why I’m here and the One whose opinion I care about most.

There will always be someone out there with more significant numbers, whether it’s more candy canes stacked on their desk or more pounds stacked on their hips. Someone with more friends or better scores. We are all created and gifted uniquely. I get so tired of all that weird competitive stuff that goes on between women. So what will I do, the rebel I am…I plan to celebrate the gifts I notice in other women, as I grow in confidence and strength whilst doing my own thang.

Who’s with me on this (because sometimes there really is power in numbers)?

*photo by flickr


  1. Amen! Your words this morning are just what I needed to hear. I agree with you whole-heartedly! Keep on doing what you do, you're reaching many people and I know God's blessings will return to you in many ways:)

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  3. I'm SO with you! I can identify with everything you've said. Numbers boggle my brain too, btw. lol And sometimes I give them more attention they deserve. Other times, not enough attention.
    Have a great week, Miss Wendy!

  4. Nine invites to Homecoming?? wow! Ok,I'm officially jealous.
    I hear you about the numbers. Just read a post where as writers we should care--I don't as much as I should and I know that. I care about the people not that my blog post might get a ton or NOT of hits. I need balance cause I know publishers care.

  5. Terri, The big fat 0 was my senior year though. ;)

  6. Yep, all that matters is the One. Thanks Wendy, and no you are not alone in caring and calculating. But where I count most is in God's stats:)

    Love your moving thoughts!

  7. My whole life is about numbers. I actually love escaping into my writing and leaving the numbers behind - leaving the numbers for the business world. However, I'm afraid that's easier said than done. Numbers are embedded into my brain.

  8. Numbers. :) I have a love/hate relationship.

    Though I will forever and always love the number eleven. You can write it forwards and backwards, upside down and right side up and it looks the same. :) Kinda like 88.

    Okay, quirky moment over...for now. :D

  9. Wendy,

    It can definitely be so easy to compare ourselves with other women (especially when it comes to the scale!). Instead, we should focus on who God made us to be and what He's asked us to do for Him. Thanks for the reminder!

  10. Love this post! Can I just say I needed it today:) Most times I can handle the numbers, but then there are those days...and lately there's been too many of them. Throwing out the numbers today and reminding myself of what God's called me to.

  11. Love this! There is great freedom and peace of mind that comes from taking ourselves out of the competitive race.

  12. I'm so with you here, girl! So with you!

    Which is why I'm weary of the whole Klout phenomenon. Klout's all about slapping a number on something that can't honestly be measured.

    To me (and this could totally change since I don't know much about it), Klout turns social media into a competition, when it's supposed to be about community.

    Okay, I'll get off my soapbox now. :)

  13. Ooooo . . . numbers don't usually scare me. But when it comes to being an author--yikes!

    But--who's in control???

    Thanks, Wendy, for your post.

  14. Kara, Thanks for the encouraging feedback. Kind of fun your comment showed up on my FB page when I linked this.

    Jessica, Great point, when finances and words like budget come up, I hide, but then I pay too much attention to things that are changing every day. Go figure (ha...figure!).

    Terri, I care, but I'm learning to care in ways I hope will help me both sell and be of sound mind. Make sense?

    Wendy, It all turned okay in the end though (yes, I did just respond to my own comment).

    Tamika, Thanks. I think we were in sync with our thoughts today! Appreciated the tweet.

    Heather, Wow, are you right & left-brained?

    Erica, Loved your quirky comment. And yep, I'd say it's pretty love/hate here too.

    Lindsay, I think there are so many ways we can fall into that comparison trap and as I was thinking about it, I realized many of these ways can be calculated...and are found in concrete numeric forms.

    Susan, I say we have a tossing numbers to the wind party! Thanks for the feedback!

    Stacy, Or just viewing it different. I'm not ignorant that my books will be competing with others, but I just choose to go about this whole deal with a "who can I uplift and serve" attitude. I'll be curious to see where I end up.

    Sarah, Thanks. I appreciate you dialoguing with me about this over the phone. Love your friendship.

    Katie, So far, I agree completely. I'm about ready to jump up on that soapbox with you. I thought to post entirely on that subject, but realized as women, we find all kinds of ways to measure ourselves against one another. We don't need any more help in that department. One of the reasons your friendship has been so dang meaningful to me is that I've constantly wanted to cheer you on (no matter my standing at the time).

    Cheryl, Absolutely...who is? Great question. And thanks for chiming in.

    Thought of a few things. That 30lb spread doesn't include pregnancies. Also, as you probably presumed, there are stories behind all those numbers plopped up there at the top of this post. The idea was just to communicate how much numbers can fluctuate in our lives and how reliance on them can be dangerous.

    Thanks for adding to the numbers convo.
    May it continue...
    ~ Wendy

  15. Oh, I'm with you!! Competitiveness is another form of jealousy to me. Both I strive to avoid at all cost, though I'm human so I need to reminded from time to time!

  16. I worked as a bookkeeper for eleven years, but my passion is words. Numbers have their place, but I don't like it when they hurt people or when they're used to elevate one person over another. I realize that the comparative use of numbers in sports competitions, businesses, etc. is inevitable, but when relationships fall prey to such number machinations, I don't like it.

  17. I'm in! (I never thought I'd say that about numbers! lol!)

    I love what you said about integrity in this process. That's what I want to have, too. Comparing myself with myself, not with other people. Such good words, Wendy! Now, Lord, give me the grace to live it!


  18. I blogged about this very thing not too long ago--getting lost in the numbers. Sometimes they scream at me, but I like to keep in mind that numbers have never been my friend. Words yes, numbers no. :) Keep doing what you're doing, chica. You rock.

  19. A BIG yes to this: "I plan to celebrate the gifts I notice in other women."

    That's the beginning of the end of comparing. Good work, friend.


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