Home Youth Leaders Articles for Youth Leaders Why a Life Formula Won’t Work

Why a Life Formula Won’t Work

Knowing this, there are a few options from here:

IGNORE IT AND DESPERATELY SEARCH TO PROVE THE FORMULA WORKS. These people will do anything and everything to try and convince you that the reason your business didn’t work, that you didn’t get into that college or that your marriage failed was because you didn’t play the formula right. They know what’s wrong and they are out to prove the formula. They will use the formula to get you to change your behavior, buy their product or invest in some service. All of it based on statistics and facts that “prove” the formula works. It’s the tongue-in-cheek truth behind all the DirecTV commercials these days.

GIVE UP AND DO WHATEVER YOU WANT, IGNORING BOTH THE FORMULA RULES AND THE WISDOM BEHIND THEM. These people are the embodiment of the proverbial “throwing the baby out with the bathwater.” They agree that formulas don’t work and live by the wisdom of whatever feels right to them. They often cite examples of those exceptions to the rules who managed to find extreme financial success without formal training, make their marriage work for 50 happy years even though they got married three weeks after meeting each other, and do all kinds of stuff in the face of the “proverbs.” They essentially play the lottery of life every day saying, “Someone’s gotta win against all odds. Might as well be me.”

LIVE WITH WISDOM, BUT KEEP FAITH IN GOD’S WILL, NOT THE FORMULA EVERYONE MAKES IT INTO. There is a third option. In this case, these people refuse to buy the formula but also refuse to bet the farm on foolishness. They walk a daily dance between what is wise and what is living by faith, at times living in the face of conventional wisdom for sure. These are people who know the formulas are about likelihood, not guarantees. If they go to college, they don’t believe the lies of what it will surely produce in four years. Instead, they enjoy the journey, invest their life as wisely as they can and leave some mystery in the process.

So BE WARNED: A lot of lies masquerade as a wisdom formula. The wise learn to discern the difference.  

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Brian Berry is a proven veteran of student ministry. He serves as the generation ministries pastor at Journey Community Church near San Diego, California, where he works directly with the high school ministry and oversees a staff that is responsible for infants through teens. Brian is also a frequent blogger, writes and teaches for youth workers, and is the author of both As for Me and My Crazy House and Criticism Bites. He speaks at various conferences, camps, and retreats for a variety of audiences. He is married to Shannon, and they have five kids.