Beyond Blue

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I’m giving up numbers for Lent, yes I am. 

I will not step on the scale first thing in the morning (ranking no. 1). I will not check out my ranking or read any new review of my book, Beyond Blue. I will not find out my rankings for the new one, The Pocket Therapist. I am not going to check out how my posts are ranking on Psychcentral or the Huffington Post. I will not keep track of how many Facebook friends I have, how many people are following me on Twitter, or how many people have, for whatever reason, removed me from their friend list or dropped me from Twitter. I will not look at my weekly statistics for my blog. I will pretend for a few 24 hours that I don’t care which blog post brought me the most traffic, what sites are linking to me, and which gallery piece did best (like, for example, “15 Ways to Stop Obsessing!”).

I am giving up numbers and all ranking systems for 40 days, when I shall, just like Moses, wander aimlessly through the desert, with no clue if I’m going the right way, so that I have to listen extra carefully to what God is telling me.


All the ratings in my life are starting to distract me from my mission: to try to promote peace and hope in this world as best I can. The measuring sticks surrounding me are essentially building a prison in which evaluation after evaluation tell me if I’m worth anything. My self-esteem goes up and down with the rankings for the day, so that I have no steady ground on which to write the stuff in my heart. I don’t want to know which topics bring more clicks, which issues the media like, which headlines to tweet.

I want 40 days to meet myself again, and learn that I’m fine with good Amazon ratings and with crappy ones … because I am loved by God either way. I want a month and a half to dig within myself for the stories only I can write, and to craft the ones that best contribute to my mission of hope. I want to return to the wisdom of the following two passages that I read every morning as part of my prayer session:
All the good that you will do will come not from you but from the fact that you have allowed yourself, in the obedience of faith, to be used by God’s love. Think of this more and gradually you will be free from the need to prove yourself, and you can be more open to the power that will work through you without your knowing it. -Thomas Merton

Somewhere deep in our hearts we already know that success, fame, influence, power, and money do not give us the inner joy and peace we crave. Somewhere we can even sense a certain envy of those who have shed all false ambitions and found a deeper fulfillment in their relationship with God. Yes, somewhere we can even get a taste of that mysterious joy in the smile of those who have nothing to lose. –Henri Nouwen

Wouldn’t it be great if we had a website where God would give us our real ranking each day? Based on how well we were living truth and goodness and love? Where we could base our identify and approval ratings on the stuff that really matters?

My Lenten observation may be the hardest yet, especially given the combustible combination of my OCD and perfectionism.

But here’s hoping for some good results. 

No figure needed.

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