Some people would think that the idea of “believing the numbers” is silly. What else is there to believe? Even those that put their faith in the supernatural, if they are numbers people, will talk about the number of ancient scrolls corroborating each other and our modern Bible. They will share with you the dates of various Biblical kingdoms, will quantify–in percentages–the likelihood of special creation vs. the unlikelihood of evolution. Numbers are a language by which the heavens and the earth can be understood.
For others, numbers are inherently untrustworthy. They say figures don’t lie, but liars figure. Statistics are manipulated every day. And how much can you trust cold, hard numbers to quantify the essence of life, anyway? How, really, can you trust the math of aerodynamics? What is to stop a ton of steel from falling straight out of the sky? Numbers are slippery creatures that can take hours to nail down in the right formulas, rows, and columns. And if you’ve forgotten a small decimal point? All is lost.
For much of my life, I have been the person in the second paragraph. And I’m writing this post in case any of you are like me. In case any of you have had to sit there in front of a spreadsheet and bet your future on the accuracy of the numbers in front of you. I’ve had to convince myself to trust the numbers. My gut would be much happier if we were that much closer to paying off our primary residence. But instead, we have taken out a HELOC and taken a chance on our future because of what the spreadsheet says. I’ll let you know how it works out.