Numbers Make a Lousy God

Numbers Make a Lousy God - the idolatry of analytics

Another rejection letter hit the inbox last week. A popular site for women sent out the woohoo’s and thank you’s on the latest round of submissions. Perhaps you received the polite “thanks for playing,” too. Did your heart sink a little?

As I submit my words for approval and receive rejections (or worse, the rejection of silence), my writer heart sometimes sinks low. I question the validity of my calling. God, did I hear You right when you asked me to tell my story? Finding people to read and respond to my writing is tireless and sometimes discouraging work. In the writing world, we call it “platform building.”

 

Numbers make a lousy god.

Click-throughs depend on my ability to craft a clever title, select the right font, and match it with an eye-catching image. Page views rely on algorithms and shares. Analytics rise and fall on my talent and marketing skills.

A lot hinges on my ability to be awesome. I’m not willing to carry that kind of burden right now—or ever.

 

What’s your thing?

Perhaps you don’t aspire to a large platform. Maybe your heart is set on well-behaved children that attest to your amazing parenting skills. You may hang your head in disappointment over your poorly attended Bible study. Perhaps you avoid inviting friends to your modest home because it doesn’t meet the standard of your Pinterest board. Does your paycheck lack the depth to cover your needs and ensure financial security?

We all have that thing. That thing we set on a pedestal and declare it as our symbol of success.

If only had more engaged readers…

If only my children would stay out of the floor at the grocery store…

If only more women wanted to learn about Jesus…

If only I had an updated kitchen and a sofa without jelly stains…

If only I made enough money to save for retirement…

…then I would be content.

then I would be important.

then I wouldn’t have to work so hard to be awesome.

 

Numbers Make a Lousy God - the idolatry of analytics

It is easy to believe the lie that numbers make us legitimate writers. Or well-behaved children make us good mothers. A standing room only small group does not define your worth as a leader. Posh homes and big paychecks do not reflect your value.

You are a writer because God called you to use words to share His message with the world. #amwritingClick To Tweet

You are a writer because God called you to use words to share His message with the world.

You are a mother because God entrusted His children to your care. Are the women in your Bible study there to learn more about you? Should your home and possessions act as a shrine to your success?

I recently spent time in prayer and repentance over the idolatry of analytics. I get tripped up over my own pride when it comes to parenting, leading, homemaking, and earning, too. It’s a dark, personal reality I have to visit from time to time. I sit myself right down on the throne in my heart and look around for signs that I’m worthy.

Numbers make a lousy god. I make a lousy god, too. I don’t have what it takes to sit in that seat. But the One who called me to be a writer, mother, and leader—He is an awesome God.

God calls us to do what we do, whatever that thing is, to make Him known. It all hinges on His ability to be awesome. Let’s let Him carry that burden as we champion His name.

God calls us to do what we do, whatever that thing is, to make Him known.Click To Tweet

 

I am linking up with Suzie Eller this week. She shares powerful thoughts on dreams here.

Photo credit: Luis Llerena and Carlos Muza via Unsplash

22 Comments

  1. I could not have said it better myself! Numbers and analytics are a brutal taskmaster. I don’t want to be bound by the burden of numbers but sometimes it’s so hard to let go. Thank you for this encouragement. It’s just what I needed today.

  2. Thank you for being brave and writing out your heart. I struggle, as a writer with the same thoughts. The numbers seem to tell all…right?! Then when numbers are low I think, “what can I really bring to the table anyway?” It’s really a plot for the enemy to steal or voice. Thanks for writing!

  3. Such a timely post for me to read this morning. I think many will be grateful for these reminders. I’m sharing this on FB and Pinterest 🙂
    Blessings
    Lynn

  4. I can’t even tell you how much I needed to read these words today. I’m right there with you friend and it’s no fun!! Along with this comes the comparison game 🙁 I have been struggling with this so bad lately when it comes to my writing. Thank you for this encouragement!

  5. I’m so sorry about the rejection, Kelly. I know from experience that it’s sometimes hard not to take it personally. I don’t submit my writing anymore. I just concentrate on my blog. This is such an encouraging post for writers, mothers, and anyone. How true that “God calls us to do what we do, whatever that thing is, to make Him known. It all hinges on His ability to be awesome.” It’s not about us; it’s about Him and His awesomeness! 🙂 Blessings and hugs to you!

  6. Love this post!
    Yes, basing our worth on anything short of what God says about us is setting ourselves up for discouragement.

  7. Girl, I will always be a reader of your words. They speak so much life to me as a woman of God, a wife, a mother, and as a writer. Keep on being you, because you are awesome! I {heart} your words.

  8. This is such an encouraging post. I too struggle with the analytics side of things. The tightrope walk of balancing images and headings, with words on the page that first came from the heart. It is so easy for the joy of it all to disappear in those moments. You are so right, this is such a good reminder. Thanks

  9. Thanks for writing this refreshing, vulnerable post. It’s hard sometimes not to slip into the “if only” frame of mind. Thanks for reminding us where our true Hope is.

  10. Kelly you are so spot on with this. It’s difficult to write when we wonder if anyone is reading or parent when it seems like we continually fall short. But God knows and sees us and that truly is all that matters. Great reminders!

  11. Kelly … this is so well said. Numbers will be the death of all of us who have our fingers in social media. They just too quickly have that sneaky ability to define who we think we are, instead of trusting wholly in Christ to do that for us.

    And speaking of rejection letters. I got one of those, too, maybe from that same site. And when I finally published the post myself, it was received by those in my world in ways that left me astounded.

    Go get ’em, girl …

  12. Beautiful from title to closing, Kelly. Champion His name, yes!
    Rejections are only proof you’re submitting. Keep writing, my friend, and bravely hit that “submit” button.
    Thank you for sharing your heart. : )

  13. Thanks for writing this, Kelly. I just got a rejection, too–probably from the same place as yours, considering the timing. That’s okay. Now I have a pre-edited post I can use on my own blog when I have a busy week or maybe I’ll submit it somewhere else. I’m trusting God that He had a reason for me to write those words at that time, and He knows where He’ll use them.
    I get really frustrated with the demand for higher numbers, like many of those who commented above. It’s good to know I’m not alone.

  14. Love this! Following God’s lead means so much more than day to day numbers of any type.

  15. These are truly helpful, inspirational words: “God calls us to do what we do, whatever that thing is, to make Him known. It all hinges on His ability to be awesome. Let’s let Him carry that burden as we champion His name.” Amen – well said, Kelly!
    What a relief to remove ourselves from the stress and pressures of platform building and focus most on building God’s Kingdom via faithful obedience to the specific calling we have on our lives. Blessed to be your neighbour at the #coffeeforyourheart link up. 🙂

  16. God has asked all of us to share His message. Unfortunately, we often read the numbers and believe our sharing is not worth it. I have done this. Yet, God never tells us to give up. And, often He doesn’t tell us if we’re reaching one person or one million people. Even if it’s one, we should persevere because no other time in history has it been so easy to reach the world. Who knows, that one person might be reading your blog in a country where Jesus has never been shared.

    • Thank you so much for this encouragement, Rachel! It’s often said Jesus would die for just one. Surely we can continue to write, even if it is for just one!

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