CORErecovery: Out of the Valley- The Number Games

Two Saturdays ago, I received a gift from a friend.  On the bottom of her note was written- Psalm 90:12.  She didn’t write the verse, just the address.  I suppose, looking back, that was part of her gift to me.

Go find the verse, It’s just for you.

The letters and numbers seemed to say.

As soon as I was able to sit down, I looked up the verse.

Teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom. Psalm 90:12

It was the perfect gift.  It fit just right in the space created by my choice.  You see, my friend was giving me this gift because it was my last day teaching a Saturday morning Pilates class at the YMCA.  For the first time in years, I would not be working out or teaching others to work out on Saturday mornings.  I would be home with my family.

Although I made this decision willingly and was excited about the possibilities of what it would mean to our family for me to be home…for us all to be together, this was not an easy choice for me.

Just a year ago I was teaching 5-7 classes a week and loving every minute of it.  Because I had a past where I misused my body and worked out in ways that only made me weaker, learning to exercise for fun, for strength, for stress-relief was something that I had pursued as part of my recovery.  Being able to share healthy movement for exercise and to offer a class free from triggering language has been a blessing to me…a calling.

Working out wasn’t about numbers on a scale for me anymore…but numbers still plagued me.

How many classes can I teach?

How many people will come?

And numbers, though not from scales or calories, still ran through my head constantly.

How many things can I get done before the kids wake up for school?

How many errands can I run after I teach my class, before I pick them up?

Can I squeeze in a nap?!

How long will it take me to drive from the Y to the ball fields?

How many games will I be late to?  Miss altogether?

How many weeks has it been since all of the family was home at the same time? Ate a meal together? Did something fun—as a family?

When was the last time I did something active with my kids?

Even though I wasn’t obsessing about the food on my plate or the size of my pants, I began to see a pattern…that I knew was leading me toward a slippery slope.  I was counting numbers.  I was placing my worth in these numbers.

More clients = more people reached= I must be a ‘GOOD’ instructor

More errands run, chores done= I am a ‘GOOD’ caregiver

More stuff on my list = busy= not lazy= ‘GOOD’

More blog posts=’GOOD’ writer

More church volunteering= ‘GOOD’ disciple

When I would spend more time with my family, I patted myself on the back.  When I did not get to a game, I would try to “even things out” to avoid guilty feelings (sound familiar).

I began to recognize this was another performance trap for me.  If I did ‘good’ things, I was ‘good’…if I did ‘bad’ things, or even just didn’t do the ‘good’ thing…I was ‘bad’.  All of these number games were adding up…they equaled another perfectionist mindset for me.  I have walked away from the eating disorder mindset that what I way or my clothing size or my body measurements have something to do with my worth, but these new ‘numbers’ were starting to become a way for me to receive praise for my ‘GOOD’-ness, to build myself up, to make myself feel better.

I have many ‘GOOD’ things in my life and I strive to do many ‘GOOD’ things, but that is not where my value is found and it is not where I will find my ‘GOOD’-ness.   Like Martha, just trying to do the GOOD thing and care for those in her home, I run around trying to care for myself, my clients, my family, my church.  But in that great number of responsibilities, have I chosen the BEST thing?

I’ve never been good with numbers…. whether it was ones on a scale, in my checkbook, or even on my to-do list.  I do not always know which thing to choose.  There are so many possibilities in my days, how can I choose the BEST thing.

I think God has been calling me to be more like Mary.  Before I start numbering things on my list each day, I must come and sit at His feet.  I don’t even need to worry about numbers.  At the feet of Jesus there is only the number One, God’s one and only Son.  That is where I will find my goodness; through Christ and In Christ, I am numbered among His people—I am chosen, I am ‘GOOD’.  It’s not about the other things there are to do…there is just the next thing…or not even that—the NOW thing.

As I wake up this Saturday (the 2nd week of my non-working, but who’s counting!) I will sit at the feet of Jesus, thank Him for taking away my numbers game and giving me the chance to be counted with Him.   As I write this I am getting this mental picture which describes why being with my family on Saturdays is the ‘GOOD’ thing ‘NOW’.

I rest, allowing Jesus to number my moments.  We talk, we laugh,  praise, I wait. I listen.  My children see me sitting there and, noticing the joyful anticipation on my face, join me.  “Mommy, can we hear the story too?”  “Yes, I hear it’s a good one,” I say.  “It’s supposed to be the #1…it’s the BEST.”


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