Who Needs Formulas?
Our society is driven by formulas, self-help steps, and quick-fix methods. But in reality, do formulas resolve our weaknesses, problems, and ailments? Okay, other than math and particular sciences. Do they really hold the key to answers and life transformation? Or are they simply a mirage tempting us with hope and an easy way forward only to leave us once again empty and hopeless.
Life is jam packed with questions of why, where, when, and how long. However, answers to life’s difficulties and heartbreak rarely arrive neatly packaged. Instead, they tend to meander alongside our path --- intersecting at just the right time and with just the amount of information we are prepared to digest. There is a mystery to this life that cannot be adequately explained and involves a lifetime journey of discovery. Life is meant to be experienced and radically lived, and within this endeavor we bump up against life’s questions. Questions will always be; problems will always present themselves; sickness and heartache will accompany our steps. But these are not meant to leave us in despair. In fact, it may be the motivation needed to spur us to seek our Lord, authentically pursuing thankfulness, relationship, and direction.
Formulas are objective, short-lived, and often empty of substance. Relationships, even with our Creator/Redeemer are messy, subjective, and lifelong but full of meaning and purpose. The greatest blessings in life do not come in gift wrap from Nordstrom’s and an exquisite bow on top. They come “out of sorts”, mysterious, unexplainable, faith-based, and full of surprises.
Let me offer an illustration --- AKA --- my children. There were no formulas; what worked with one didn’t the other --- who knew?! They literally exploded out of both ends of their body and kept me up in the middle of the night for undefined reasons. But oh, the mystery of the joy that flooded my being when they smiled and cooed at me. There was neither method nor blueprint to parenting; no perfect way forward was available. Instead, in its place, was a desire to ask questions, pursue relationship, and a willingness to travel the winding road riddled with ups and downs, detours, graveled paths, and harrowing bridges with my two little ones. And I was richer for the adventure.
You see, formulas and easy answers never satisfy because they are deceptive; promising us easy fixes, shortcuts, and pat answers that don’t exist in our daily narratives. Life’s questions are often resolved in the heat of battle, in the daily writing of our story through trial and error, in our determination to not quit but persevere. And guess what you won’t find your purpose or passion in a formula either. You build your passion and purpose right where you are… in the present (Shout out to Liz Forkin Bohannon for her book Beginner’s Pluck that led me to this discovery). So… the next time you are tempted to break life down into a formula --- Don’t! Allow yourself to experience life --- all of it! Stop, breathe deeply, listen intently, radically seek, and always ask! For in the messy, the less than perfect, the unknown, you just may discover beauty, fulfillment, and abundance.