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“Reading, writing and arithmetic,” have been the basics of education for years, and for us writers, the first two are our favorites. What a surprise then, to discover how much arithmetic is part of the writing world.

It seems everywhere I turn, there is a focus on numbers. First, it’s about the actual act of writing. How many words did you write today? (especially during National Novel Writing Month) How many words are in the book? How many chapters? How many Points of View?

Then, there’s the marketing. How many books should a book sell for a publisher to consider it successful? How many platforms does the writer have? How many books have you written/published?

At the writers conferences. How many classes are you taking? How many appointments do you have? How many proposals or manuscripts have you been asked for?

Now we have to account for our social media presence which is validated by how many types of social media we use – do we facebook, blog, twitter, pinterest, etc.? And if we do, how many friends and followers do we have to determine our audience.

When I made the commitment to start a blog, I knew there would be a cost of my time and effort involved, and I wanted to make sure that the results would show it was worthwhile. Therefore, I had a report set up to give me the weekly results of my blog – how many hits, how they found it, where the readers were located – nationally and internationally. How exciting it’s been to track these numbers, and I’ve looked forward to each week’s report. Of course, I need to know if the readership is growing, don’t I? So I’ve been told. However, there have been a few weeks when the report didn’t come through, and I was anxious and disappointed that I couldn’t see the results. It was then that God started speaking to me about those reports, those numbers.

The story of King David in 1 Chronicles 27 came to mind. In the story, David sets out to take a census to determine just how powerful he was based on what he had. God became very angry with David for doing this, and in the commentaries I’ve read, it was because David was focused on trusting in his own resources, rather than trusting God to provide what he needed when he needed it.

And so, I’ve come to believe that while it’s nice to know how many people read my blog, it isn’t determined by me, nor is the success of my blog a determination of my success as a writer. Only God determines the outcome, and I need to trust him for the results.

There are appropriate times to count, however, and these times are pleasing to God. The old hymn “Count Your Blessings” has been running through my head all day on this Thanksgiving Eve. So, no matter how my writing numbers stack up, I have more blessings to count than I could ever think of. And I’m thankful for that.

“Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” 1 Thess. 5:18