The Formula for REAL life.
Over our twenty-two-plus years of ministry, we have talked to countless men and women about the various cycles they seem to go through at various seasons of life.
Right now, as you are reading this blog, chances are there are events and circumstances that have placed you in a season
a season of
a season of … you fill in the blank
(leave us a comment below so we can know how to pray for you!)
“There is a time for everything,
and a season for every activity under the heavens.”
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For sure, seasons and events stir up all kinds of emotions. Regardless of the season you are in right now, or the season you may find yourself in one day, there is a formula for life that really works. This formula will help settle down the emotional roller coaster that seems to happen throughout these cycles and seasons of life.
Before we get there, let us lay some groundwork first.
If we’ve learned anything through the Covid-19 pandemic, the up and down stock market, home sales being at an all-time high, interest rates increasing while IRA’s and 401K’s decrease, it is this:
We are in control of very little, including the events that happen to us.
This is why it is critical that you not focus on the event or season but on your response, especially your emotional response to the event or season. Emotions (while we need them) should never ultimately lead us or make decisions for us. It’s not that we are not to have emotions, but they have to remain as indicators and followers, not leaders.
Allow us to share a personal example.
Back in 2004, we were going through a tough season with a job loss, ministry uncertainty, two young children, a church plant, homeschooling, and much more. All of these events were impacting us in various emotional and significant ways. Honestly, there were days when the emotional response to the stress, the uncertainty, and the unknown would wear on us. Somedays, we just didn’t handle it in the best way possible.
It was during this season that we discovered a formula.
And while we are typically not formula people, we believe this formula will help you in your various seasons and events of life. The formula is -
E + R = O
- The letter E stands for events -
We will experience all kinds of events as we walk this journey called life. Good events and bad events. Events like the birth of a child, unexpected sickness or disease, a job loss or a job promotion, a new car or a car wreck, a warm embrace from someone or the cold shoulder of rejection from someone else. Life is full of events, and as we have already pointed out, many of the events that happen to us are outside our control. This is why scripture commands us (regardless of good or bad events ) to bear the fruit of “self-control” Galatians 5:23.
- The letter R stands for response -
This is the most critical letter in the entire formula. As we have mentioned, our emotions are going to respond to the events that we experience in life. The response that we are talking about here is actually our response to our emotions response. It's a bit of a difficult idea, maybe a better way to put it is this. How we respond to the promptings of our emotional indicators is what is important. Our response - partnering with anger, joy, love, fear, distrust, etc - is the factor that produces the letter O.
- The letter O stands for outcome -
Your emotional response to every event, situation, and season of life will produce an emotional outcome. Again, this is why the letter R is the most critical letter.
Let us add one extra note here:
We know that you can’t control someone else’s response to a situation, event, or season. However, you can control yours.
Honestly, this is what God is after in every event in your life anyway. He longs for you to respond to Him and not emotionally react to your circumstance. He longs for your outcome to be His outcome.
Do you see it?
Right in the middle of the formula, or better yet, right in the middle of your event
is where God wants to be.
He wants to use every event and season in your life to be for you what you cannot be for yourself. After all, apart from Him, you can do nothing. John 15:5.
The Holy Spirit longs to develop His fruit in your life
and He often uses seasons, situations, and events to do so.
Truthfully, the greatest seasons of growth in our lives have come through seasons of challenge, not success. We have learned that the Holy Spirit uses these events to develop His fruit in us. In fact, we probably would not experience this devlopment, unless we were going through this event or season.
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.
Against such things, there is no law.
Take a moment and think about the events that you are going through right now
Who do you need God to be for you?
How can you respond to God and not respond to your emotions?
How can you settle into the truth that God is either doing something in you or through you in this event or season?
As Jena writes in her Love Bible Study,
“When you discover more of who God is, you recover more of who you are!”
The E + R = O is a formula for real life that really works.
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Here are five ways you can make the most of this formula and apply it to every season of life:
1. Pause before you respond
(Examine your emotional response to the event)
2. Ask the Holy Spirit to help you
(What are God's emotions about the event)
3. Rest in the love and grace of your Heavenly Father
(Take a second to breathe)
4. Trust in God’s sovereignty
(Adjust your emotions to match His emotions)
5. Walk by faith as you wait for Him to work.
(Allow Him to bring about His perfect outcome)
We’re not sure what event or season you are facing right now. However, regardless of what it might be, why not ask the Lord today to develop the fruit of His Spirit in your life for the event you are facing right now?
Matthew 6:33 tells us to seek the Lord first.
So seek the Lord, as your first response, and not your last resort!
Dale and Jena Forehand are the founders of Stained Glass Ministries. They offer conferences and resources to build real relationships. To find out more about their amazing grace story of marriage, divorce, and re-marriage to one another visit their website www.daleandjena.com. You can also find them on Facebook and Instagram as @daleandjena