Can you remember the phone number you had as a child, yet you cannot recall what you had for breakfast by the time dinner rolls around? For all of the data that has managed to escape my memory bank throughout the years, I can never forget four numbers: 985, 935, 940, and 970.

They will forever be etched into my memory as long as I live.

I was 16 years old when I started my Senior year in high school. In hindsight, that seems young. But at the time, it seemed completely normal. It wasn’t that I was the smartest one in the room.

My parents decided to put me (and my twin brother) in kindergarten at four years old. And not because we were fluent in French or any other language. She would never admit it, but I think my mom was ready for some time alone after having four kids under the age of five.

So, at 16, I was preparing for the SAT exam and hoping for a possible academic scholarship. How hard could the SAT be? My dad walked into my room the night before the exam and said, “Jill, if you get above 1000 on this exam, then you can get a $1000 scholarship to ORU. So, please give it your all!”
That’s exactly what I did.
I gave it my all.
Four times.
985, 935, 940, 970.

Those were the four scores.

Yes, my dad made me take the SAT four times. He probably spent close to 1000 dollars just trying to get that scholarship. At that point, allowing a number to define my future would have been very easy. However, I remember very clearly, after the 4th failed attempt to score over 1000, my math teacher said something that forever changed my perspective on exam scoring and the association of having a number or letter grade attached to your name.

He looked at me and said, “No number or letter can ever tell you WHO you are. The secret is to find the thing you are good at and learn to do it with excellence. Discover and develop your God-given gift and the world won’t be able to ignore it.”

And that was ALL I needed to put those four numbers in their proper place. They wouldn’t define me nor be able to tell me how my future would unfold.

You are not the salary you earn.
You are not the size of your clothes or the calories you eat.
You are not the number of years you have been married or divorced.
You are not the job you have or the job you lost.
You are not the number of times you gave in to an addiction.
You are not the number of friends you do or don’t have.

You are not the model and make of your car or the value of your home.

YOU ARE loved, NOT for what you do or what you have.
You are loved simply because you are God’s child.
That’s it.

How freeing it is to know we are not any of the things the world may define us to be. I’m glad I decided not to let an SAT number tell me I wasn’t good enough to be used by God to share hope with others.

What number has you stuck?
What numbers are you using as the measuring stick to tell you your potential? It’s time to throw off the weight of the world’s measurements and look at your life through the eyes of the one who created you for a unique and specific purpose.