Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Stuck in statistics

"Everyone can't be good at everything," Mom tells me. I know that's true about me!

I'm ploughing through (no, I don't mean plowing) statistics for 6 years; 1900, 1905, 1910, 1915, 1920, 1925. Yawn. Just writing the years bores me. I'm trying to chart engagement in missions within a few denominations. SO much information, so many places to find it, so little agreement between the data. For one group, I found three different "official" statistics for the same year, same value. Ugh.

Of course, it doesn't help that I get lost when counting. I can count the same info five times with five different answers (and have done so...) My mind zones out; it feels like I'm entering a fog, even when I try to keep track with the computer cursor and pencil marks on paper. In the thicket of slippery numbers, I'm envying the calculator brain of my wonderful d-in-love Rebekah (who is gifted at many things besides math, too.) 

"Not my talent," I tell myself. "Just something I have to crunch through." (ouch! eek! zzzzzzh!) I love information and am excellent at estimates. I can glance at groups of things, sort them easily, and come up with an approximate number or grouping that will be really close to a 100% accurate one -- which would take me ages to muddle toward. I'm also dreadful at making sense of clever license plates and crossword puzzles. Riddles leave me unmoved, though finding out the key to an algebra equation used to give me a thrill like stepping off a roller coaster.

Sadly, my great guess-timates didn't help me much in calculus classes. And the high school business machine teacher used to shake his head that a good typist kept mixing 3 and 9 on the adding machine. "Perfect accuracy, Rosemarie! You have to perfectly accurate or that one stroke puts you six million off!" he'd shout while scanning my papers. Oh, Mr. Williams, it was to little avail, except, "I'm trying! I'm trying!"

At a job interview, I warned a prospective boss that money was not my gift. Well, he'd asked, "What are you NOT good at?" Didn't take a new breath to answer that one!

Money. (Yup, he had an MBA.) "I'll be under budget and hand you back thousands if I can," I promised. "But keeping track? Yuck." Every year in that office, I never needed the full amount allotted to my department, though I asked to keep that amount earmarked, just in case. 

Well, of course I didn't need it all to reach my annual goals ... I am gifted at re-purposing, creating, and finding "just the right thing" to get a job done (though "the right thing" might have been manufactured for another purpose.)

This morning, on my second full day of gathering and reporting numbers on a chart, I'm comforting myself with a word break. That I can do. Thanks be to God for creating writers and artists to complement scientists and accountants in his wide, wide world. 

All he asks us to do is today's work. There is comfort and peace in making sure our tasks are God's assignments, whether we take them upon ourselves or a boss or professor requires them of us. What's on your list today?

Read more:
*When Moses' father-in-law saw all that Moses was doing for the people, he asked, 'What are you really accomplishing here? Why are you trying to do all this alone while everyone stands around you from morning till evening?

Moses replied, 'Because the people come to me to get a ruling from God.'

'This is not good!' Moses' father-in-law exclaimed. 'You're going to wear yourself out—and the people, too. This job is too heavy a burden for you to handle all by yourself.' Exodus 18:14–15, 17–18 NLT

*LORD, you have assigned me my portion and my cup; you have made my lot secure. The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places; surely I have a delightful inheritance. I will praise the LORD, who counsels me; even at night my heart instructs me. I have set the LORD always before me. Because he is at my right hand, I will not be shaken. Psalm 16:5-8 NIV

*Then, surrounded by the Pharisees, Jesus asked them a question: 'What do you think about the Messiah? Whose son is he?' 

They replied, 'He is the son of David.'

Jesus responded, 'Then why does David, speaking under the inspiration of the Spirit, call the Messiah "my Lord"? For David said, "The LORD said to my Lord, Sit in the place of honor at my right hand until I humble your enemies beneath your feet." Since David called the Messiah "my Lord," how can the Messiah be his son?'

No one could answer him. And after that, no one dared to ask him any more questions. Matthew 22:41–46 NLT