Your Worth is Not Measured in Numbers

This blog has been shrouded in silence because life has offered little to speak of lately. Well, little Big Things anyway. That’s what I’ve been waiting for—something big. Something earth-shaking. I’ve been waiting for words big enough to wrap the whole world in the power of them.

Maybe that’s ridiculous, but it’s what I want. It’s what we all want, really. Every time we post a status online, we are searching for validation.

Let me be completely honest here:

Validation, on a large scale, is a stupid dream. Of course we want approval. Of course we want affirmation that our words and our actions and our lives have value. But you don’t need dozens or hundreds of people for that; you just need one.

Last night, my brother walked out of his bedroom with this big, stupid grin on his face. His eyes were glazed over, his mind somewhere else. I recognized that look because it’s the same one that was on my face when I finished reading Vicious and Cress and Everbound. It was the smile inspired by a story that roused a heart to its feet.

And, in Micah’s case, I put that smile there. It was my manuscript that was still tripping through his mind. My characters that had won his heart and captured his imagination.

In the eight years I’ve spent dreaming of becoming a published author, this was the first time I thought I would be okay if that dream never came true. I could have written this book for Micah, and that would be enough.

We don’t realize often enough that the impact we have on a single life is important.

We want numbers. And the internet has made it easy to put a number on our worth. So many likes on this status. So many hits on this blog. And we’ve given numbers the power to either make or break us.

They break us more often than not, because it will never be enough. There could always be one more. There could always be one thousand more.

We miss the immeasurable moments of our lives because we’re waiting on the big things—publication, promotions, marriage, children… Always looking for the next best thing and failing to realize the value of the small moments.

Because the little things add up. They may not boast the big numbers, but once you collect enough moments, they really add up.

Because your worth is not measured in the status that got seventy likes. It is not measured in the blog post that went viral. That was just one moment. One moment out of many that happened to capture the eye of more people than you may have expected.

I could get published. I could become a New York Times bestseller. And I won’t lie and say that the numbers won’t mean something to me. But numbers—no matter how high they count—could never be as real as the smile on my brother’s face when he first read my words and declared them good.

I’ve been floundering these last few weeks, trying to find my footing in the world again. I’ve been waiting for big events and failing to delight in the small.

Life doesn’t “begin” when I finally get a job again; life has been happening for a long time now.

The important things are not what I’ve often imagined them to be. And the moments in which I find true value are these:

Snuggling on a couch with my sister, laughing at the latest YouTube video we’ve discovered together.

Watching my brother do a happy dance as I print the last two-thirds of my manuscript for him.

Noticing the slight swell of a belly on my sister-in-law.

Being informed by my father that he is selling me to a childhood friend in exchange for goats. (Long, funny story here.)

When my mother comes home from Goodwill with an exact replica of a pan she has possessed all my past… to put back for my future.

These—the things cannot be measured in numbers—are the important things. And it is these moments that hold me when the numbers fluctuate and the world rocks crazy and I don’t know where to stand anymore.