What If Life Was a Formula?

What_If_Life_Was_a_Formula?I just don’t get it. I did the research. I planned appropriately. I was so excited to make this event happen. Yet here I sit with my day in shambles and confusion filling my mind. Some days, no matter how hard I try, things go awry. It’s enough to make me wish life were a formula and all I needed to do was plug in the right building blocks. Then I’d always get the results I’m looking for. Wouldn’t I?

Instead of a geometry formula – one which never changes and can be depended upon – I am often faced with daily problems which rival any algebra equation. There are a multitude of operations, the order of which is important, and unseen variables which keep popping up. To make matters more confusing, even when I think I might have solved things correctly, something pops up which throws me right back into the thick of things. It doesn’t help that some of those factors in my equation have freewill. They bounce around my equation at whim, constantly causing me to re-evaluate where I stand and what my final outcome might be. Sometimes they clump together, making my eyes cross. Other times, they hide until the last-minute. Just when I think I’ve gotten it figured out, they jump out and like to watch me scramble. Other times, other times, no matter how hard I try, I just can’t figure it out.

Yet even as I sit here thinking on life’s uncertainty and wondering where I keep going wrong, I have to wonder.

What if those pesky variables are really a blessing in disguise? It’s those little unexpected surprises which often lead to something beautiful. Things I never would have planned and yet they fill me with goodness as I marvel at God’s work. The bouncing variables keep me flexible and growing. Through these circumstances I am forced to grow and become more than I would have if left with a rigid formula.

What if this equation called today is God’s mercy and grace? The Father knows in His infinite wisdom that I have a tendency toward a desire to be in control. If left to my own devices and my rigid formula, I might grow to depend upon my own strength and work. Perhaps forgetting God’s goodness all together. As He carefully places these changes in my perfect plan, He is reminding me He is boss and not me. He gently causes me to remember that without Him this is not possible and I need Him. He forces me to abandon my plan and gaze upon His own. His plan is always far better than mine.

Looking back on the day, I still shake my head. No, it’s not what I had in mind. I am tired and a little empty. My idea of what the day should have looked like is in shambles. But I am no longer confused. No matter how hard I try, life is not a formula. I do not have the ability to rearrange variables nor adjust freewill to fit my desires. Instead, I rejoice in what the Lord gave us and trust He is in control.

“So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”
~ Isaiah 41:10

Your Turn!: What helps you refocus and relax after an unplanned, crazy day?

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5 thoughts on “What If Life Was a Formula?

  1. My approach: create a time margin – plan for there to be unplanned days. 🙂 We’ll catch up on the work, or we’ll do something completely different. As long as we achieve some learning outcomes/are productive.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Great advice!

      How do you handle changes which are not scheduling issues, but unforeseen issues such as character training or lack of interest on your children’s behalf? I find these issues to be hardest. I can more easily adapt my schedule, but allowing time for God to work in my child’s heart can be a personal battle. One the Lord is working in me. It feels as if I should immediately be able to say, or do, something which will pop them back in line and get us moving with our day. What I cannot always plan for is the time the Lord needs to work in them and for them. My job at that point is to wait Him out.

      Liked by 1 person

      • I wrestle with unexpected character training. You’re right, it’s super hard to plan for. I’ll go with the tone – play it by ear {looking for where the Holy Spirit might be leading and walking in that inspiration}.

        Along with listening for God in the situation, I try listen to what the real issue is. Seeking to find out why and what has upset them so much? My response will either be a stern correcting, adding consequences, comfort or mediation. This may require a time out, creating distance from whatever is causing the disruption. If it’s something that can be better discussed in detail later, it’s something that will be addressed in more depth when the timing is better.

        Time and effort has to be applied to succeed in that, which will mean rescheduling or letting go of whatever plan I had for the day.

        If it’s something we can push through, I’ll keep everyone on track, if not, I’ll shift to another subject, and return to the original task at another time. We can then approach it with fresh eyes.

        In those situations, I also try to lighten the mood, by adding music, a quick snack, or randomly quoting some movie like Major Payne. Humour is a good icebreaker. I’ve found that in distracting the kids from how overwhelmed or frustrated they might be about the task or hiccup, helps me lead them through it.

        Take away the magnified emotion and ask: is it really as bad as it seems?

        Lack of interest is usually something I’d compensate with incentives and honesty. For instance, no work, no pay/play. I give them a choice. It either gets done now or in the afternoon after we all finish for the day, which means no PS4, or electronics for the afternoon.

        I’ll also be open about whether or not I find the subject interesting. If I do, I’ll give reasons. If I don’t, I’ll tell them I’m no fan of the subject and show solidarity. Showing them that I am on their side (which I genuinely am) inspires them enough to apply themselves to the task at hand.

        Most of the time, if they aren’t interested, I’ll encourage them to give the topic 20 minutes. If it’s still an issue, we can then discuss/negotiate a different approach.

        One recent example: Sex Education, with the included sub topics of the internet, drug use etc. It’s a tough topic to read and discuss, but we’ve worked hard building up to this by reading and discussing the contents of both of Lacey Sturm’s books. At first, the two older girls were not interested, but I wasn’t about to drop it. So starting with prayer, we faced chapter one together. Then chapter two… and so on.

        Now we’re moving through Teen Sex, by Dr. Patricia Weerakoon. The material is awkward, and difficult. However, both of our older girls are finding it better than they expected it to be.

        (sorry for the essay response :P)

        Liked by 1 person

      • Please don’t apologize, I appreciate your long responses and thoughtful answers.

        “I’ll go with the tone – play it by ear {looking for where the Holy Spirit might be leading and walking in that inspiration.”… It seems – not surprisingly – we’re on the same page. Once I move past my own human emotion and allow the Lord to help me see what’s really going on, true progress is made. It’s just not always in the direction I anticipated.

        Liked by 1 person

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