Wednesday, July 1, 2009


Formulas are helpful. For those of us who like absolutes, they're comforting, because they guarantee the right answer. Although I can't recall them today, I remember memorizing countless formulas in high school and college for Algebra, Physics and Chemistry. When I'd take a test and plug the numbers into the correct formula, I'd come up with the right answers. Although formulas are needful in some areas of life, when I try to come up with a formula for how God should act, I get myself into big trouble.

I have to be honest - change is hard for me. I like familiarity and thrive when I have a set routine. But when I get into the mind-set that everything has to be a certain way, I'm easily derailed when things turn out differently than expected.

The teens from my daughter, Riley's, Sunday School class were scheduled to go to Six Flags Amusement Park, yesterday. I didn't even consider it an option for her to go, since she had just had her wisdom teeth removed four days ago. Although it was true, that she had done phenomenally well with the entire prodecure, I was convinced that roller coasters and wild rides would somehow cause dry sockets. My initial response was a resounding, "NO!" In an attempt to be fair, I told her I'd call the oral surgeon and get his input before I gave in to my gut reaction. You can imagine my surprise and irritation when Dr. Meaders said it should be fine. His only concern was that with the heat, she may get dehydrated; something that could easily be remedied by drinking water consistently thoughout the day.

My formula went something like this: wisdom teeth extraction + Six Flags = painful dry sockets. When the doctor shot down my formula with the facts, I had to swallow my pride and admit that it wouldn't be a bad thing for Riley to go to Six Flags. Needless to say, she was ecstatic when I told her she could go.

I tend to do the same thing with God. I know how He has worked in a certain situation in my life, so I come up with a formula that has Him working in the same exact way in someone else's life. Instead, I need to let God be God, use my experiences to empathize with others, and then let Him do what only He can do in that person's life. I am so much better off when I exercise faith in God and don't restrict Him to working within my formulas. Are you willing to step out in faith, let go of the formulas and let God be God?

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