I am obsessed with a number. It’s the three digit number that shows up on my scale each morning I decide to weigh myself. I step up onto the scale, hopeful it will deliver some good news. Each day is a new day and I stand there with great hope as the numbers slowly appear in the digital display.
Too often, the number that shows up on the display determines my mood, my worth and my value in life. My name is Scott, I am a follower of Christ, and I’m in recovery for having a co-dependent relationship with a three digit number that shows up on my scale.
This is when you say, “Hi Scott. Thanks for sharing.”
I am sick and tired of being sick and tired, and am exhausted from fighting (and often losing) this battle.
Fortunately, some friends shared some great truths with me a few days ago. Stay tuned…
One of the first verses I learned when I went into full-time vocation ministry was Proverbs 18:17:
“The one who states his case first seems right, until the other comes and examines him.”
I learned this verse within the context of marriage through couples who want to point the finger and blame their spouse for all of their marriage problems. For example, if you get on the phone with the wife, she will tell you all of the horrible things her husband has done, is doing and will do. She will blame, manipulate, deflect and plead her case like she is married to the worst human being ever created. A few minutes later, you get on the phone with the husband and it’s like you’re talking about a completely different marriage. He denies all she has claimed and instead talks about all of the horrendous acts she has done, is doing and will do.
The spouse who shared first with you seems right until you speak to the other spouse and the cross-examination begins.
You need to hear all sides of the story.
The same thing happens when you step onto the scale. You deny yourself dessert after dinner, you eat your burger without the cheese and bun and you even choose to get rid of the egg yolk when you eat your hard-boiled egg. At work, you march right on by the elevator and take the stairs up to the eighth floor, you walk at night to get up to 10,000 steps on your Fitbit every day and you even choose to join your friends in some challenging workouts.
You do the same things over and over while you watch your friends eat their burgers (with the bun and cheese and fries, might I add), take the elevator and choose to sleep in instead of working out.
The end of the month comes around and you have lost one whole pound while they stayed exactly the same. And you ask yourself, “what’s the &#^@@‘ing point?”. We think the number on the scale tells the whole story.
It’s true. The scale does provide an objective measurement that we can look at to see how we’re doing. You can weigh-in at the same time every day, wear the same clothes and consistently track an objective number for days, weeks, months and years.
But, and it’s a big old butt, the scale only tells you one side of the story.
As you might guess or know, the story above is not fictitious. It’s my story. And maybe it’s yours as well.
So back to those friends who shared some great truths with me:
- Yes, the number on the scale is an objective number. But that number does not account for fat weight v. muscle weight v. water weight. The scale gives you a snapshot of how much you weigh in a particular moment of time, but does not give you an accurate/full picture of your physical health and, even more important, of your spiritual health.
- My tendency when I see a number on the scale higher than I hoped for is to just say, “forget this” (in much more colorful words) and move on to my old ways: skipping the stairs, eating the cheeseburger and pounding the candy.
- A friend shared a great principle with me a few days ago. She said, “Regardless of how I feel or what the scale says, I made the decision to treat my body well. Whatever the number on the scale says does not determine what I eat and whether or not I exercise. I will choose to honor God with my body (1 Corinthians 6:19-20) whether I like the number on the scale or not.”
- Another friend reminded me that we all tend to be numbers and performance-based. We often find our value and worth in our performance, and it’s easy to measure value/worth by a number.
- For instance, in ministry I can judge success by the number of couples who show up at a class or event. In business, you might determine your worth by how many sales you make. And as a parent, we buy the subtle lie that says the more activities we do, the better it is for our kids and the better we are as parents.
- Numbers give a side of the story, not the full story. Some churches faithfully labor, pray and serve year after year without much growth numerically. Sometimes we work and work and the sales don’t come in due to factors outside of our control. Sometimes ‘less is more’ when it comes to parenting.
Rather, what if I found my value, worth and identity not in a three digit number, but rather:
- In being faithful (Matthew 25:23, Galatians 5:22-23).
- In choosing to honor God with my body regardless of the number on the scale (1 Corinthians 6:19-20).
- If I encouraged others to keep pressing on instead of wallowing in my own self-pity (Hebrews 3:13).
- If I chose to persevere and commit to the long term, not the short term (Hebrews 12:1-2).
Your issue might not be the co-dependent relationship with the three digit number on the scale. You might struggle with porn, anger, people-pleasing, smoking, same sex attraction, control or any other hurt, habit or addiction. Today I encourage you to be faithful regardless of the result, to open up your life to the encouragement and accountability of others, to find your worth in who Jesus says you are, not by the results of your struggle and to listen to all sides of the story.
- What are the competing voices you hear in your battle with sin?
- Why do you think some voices are louder than others?
- What can you do to better listen to all sides of the story?
- Three Ways I Lost My Battle With Sin
- Confessions From a Bathroom Stall: Lessons Learned in a Battle With Gluttony
- Are You Sick and Tired of Being Sick and Tired?
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