Thursday, January 31, 2013

I really hate formulas...

... but some equations have been proven.  And algebra is fun - you get to arrive at one correct answer, and vague ambiguity has no place there.

When it comes to spiritual, emotional, or relational formulas though ... they often rub me the wrong way. Like sandpaper.  Two reasons come to mind:

1. I have a unique, individual, [sometimes rebellious] heart that refuses to be put into a box. What works for you might not work for me.  Everyone is different, and trying to squish us into the same mold can get ... well, squished.  My heart will not often be reduced to an equation.

2. I need to prove the formula works before I'll accept it.  Which is allowed, thankfully.  If you have this equation:  2x - 4 = y, you can plot a line using a method my math teacher called "plug and chug."  Choose three numbers for x, solve for y, plot on the graph and connect the dots.  There's the picture for that line. Simple. So I need to TRY a few times, and see if I get the same line as some one else.  When it comes to my faith walk, this is how that works:

  •            I listen to your suggestion of a formula that works for your life
  •            I look for Scriptural confirmation that this really could be Jesus's formula too
  •            I "plug and chug" my own circumstances and efforts to see if I get the same results
Then, and only then, am I able to accept a life formula.  Sometimes it works.  Sometimes it doesn't. I read other blogs.  Christian authors and spiritual leaders.  You might read my Thursday blog over time and think: "She's just taking someone else's formula and repeating it, but that won't work for me. I refuse to be squished."  And I get that.  But maybe, just maybe ... more gratitude DOES equal more joy, and more strength to hold onto it.  

Choosing thankfulness = a joy-filled life

Please, Dear Friend - try it and tell me I'm wrong.  I'm humble enough to admit that I could be.  Maybe this isn't a universal formula.  I tried. And I know.  For me it works.

Today I count again and someday I'll get to my goal of 5,000.  On that day I'll write and tell you even more about how deliberate gratitude to the Giver of all these gifts of grace has changed me.  Until then, here are a few more.  All glory to Him.  Every ounce to the Father of Lights and Giver of Good.  As HE defines good.

- practice and memorization of Romans 1:1-6 on ScriptureTyper ... I'm getting this

- Your strength to get out of bed on a gloomy morning

- sweet little voices in my home as they wake and emerge from a Saturday "sleep-over"

- playing catch with my red-head cutie.  I'm totally smitten with this little guy at J's Ju Jitsu

- the privilege of sharing advice and encouragement with my Guy over Skype

- oatmeal, cinnamon, and a second chance when I accidentally dumped the entire salt shaker into the first batch

- an encouraging song from J, and hope for the broken because of Your love

- an eerily thick fog, and the break-through of Your sun (SON)-light, a symbol to my heart of hope's power

- for saving J's head and face when he fell off the scooter, and for Your healing touch over his elbows, hips, and hands

- for all You've done ALREADY through our team in India, and the way You give them the privilege of broken hearts: just like Yours for these people

- Your power, demonstrated in the wind, and shelter from the storm

- the way You've protected and shielded my life from so much horror

- S's boldness to bring Christ into the school, and the lovely way she ties You into "Black History" lesson, and for my privilege to witness it

"God will strengthen you with his own great power so that you will not give up when troubles come, but you will be patient.  And you will joyfully give thanks to the Father who has made you able to have a share in all that he has prepared for his people in the kingdom of light. God has freed us from the power of darkness, and he brought us into the kingdom of his dear Son." -Colossians 1:11-13 (NCV)

Lord, once again today I give you thanks.  My life has been the proven evidence that this formula does work.  Since I started counting, my joy has been more obvious, more prevalent, more tangible.  I see You at work in me and around me because I'm looking for it so that I can thank You for it.  Thank you for growing my trust, for granting me gifts every day that I could never earn or deserve.  Thank You for mercy.  Thank You for Grace.  Thank You for the happy and the deep and the sad and the difficult.  They are all gifts for my good, and I'm so in love with You because You first loved me.

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