In my post last week about plans becoming formulas and possibly idols, I so appreciated the comments that were made which ask for your input to this “formula:”  Because living moment by moment is scary. Formulas are safe.Living moment by moment is confusing. Formulas are clear.

Living moment by moment is ______________. Formulas are _____________. 

The insights that were shared were powerful and warrant their own post. I also have some further comments at the end. So, in case you‘d like to reflect upon the answers, or didn’t take the time to read the comments section, and since I also received some responses by email, here’s what was shared.

Karen wrote, “I say, I trust you, God but then I too often have a P.S., which can be a list of conditions, wishes, do’s and don’ts. It is so hard sometimes to just let God work through me. So for me, living moment by moment is HARD. Formulas are OFTEN FALSE INSTRUCTION.”

Jeanne wrote, “This message touched a chord today, Kathy. I have just left my job to pursue writing and speaking full-time…never finished my last week at the job because I broke my foot. So, I think the Lord is slowing me down to consider some of these things…and His path; where should I go next? He has my attention and I want to listen–yet I fall into the planning thing again. It’s a day by day struggle and a day by day relationship. So for me, living moment by moment is a CHALLENGE. Formulas are PREDICTABLE.

Shellie wrote, “Moment by moment is Trusting. Formulas are Betrayal Proof. I see by not opening myself to friendship and that means leaving myself available to be possibly hurt, I am taking charge to fool proof myself, for those bullets that hit so hard when it’s coming from someone you love and don’t expect it from. But I’m not perfect, I am sure I must hurt others including friends, too, and I would hope to be forgiven and loved in return. OUCH! Open my eyes, Lord, so that I may see people with YOUR eyes, not mine.”

Betty wrote, “Living moment by moment is EXCITING. Formulas are CONFINING.”   

Cathy wrote, “Here is a twist: Living moment by moment can be exciting and adventurous, living by formulas boring and predictable.”

Lynnette wrote, “Living moment by moment is a test of faith and obedience to God.  Formulas are a feeling of comfort and self assurance.”

Cyn wrote, “There is a difference between following a ‘formula’ and setting boundaries for the friendships/relationships in one’s life. I have ended friendships because they crossed a line; a boundary I set in place; to keep my focus on the LORD, not my own gain. My own guidelines revolve around His will, not mine. I never thought of using the word ‘formula’; it had not occurred to me. Warrants some thinking..”

I so appreciated Cyn’s comments because she is right. There are “formulas” which are godly: they are the guidelines and boundaries that God wants us to put in place. Jesus Himself set up guidelines and boundaries for being in contact with others. He removed Himself when appropriate (Luke 5:15-16) and He didn’t do everything other people wanted Him to do.

I love the following passage from Matthew 15:12-14:

Then the disciples came and said to Him [Jesus], “Do You know that the Pharisees were offended when they heard this statement?” But He answered and said, “Every plant which My heavenly Father did not plant shall be uprooted. Let them alone; they are blind guides of the blind. And if a blind man guides a blind man, both will fall into a pit.”

Can’t you just feel the tension within the disciples? Their People Pleasing, which caused fear, was out front and center! It seemed scary to them that Jesus would ignore people who had power. But Jesus set a boundary and said, “Let them alone.” Other times He addressed the Pharisees’ sin, but this time He didn’t do anything. Even doing nothing can be a boundary–and sometimes the hardest kind.

So thank you, Cyn, for sharing your insights. And thank you everyone for participating. I’m fascinated by the variety of words you came up.   

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