(Preface:  This is not a post pertaining to the straight up truth of the Bible.  The Bible truth doesn’t change no matter who you are. I am also not condoning unethical behavior or immoral attitudes/actions).

There is something about formulas that I just love.  Mathematical formulas (not baby formula).

I remember being in Calculus class (would you believe it just took me 3 tries to spell Calculus right?) in high school and not understanding a blessed thing but when the teacher gave a formula, I was good to go.   Put in some numbers, plug them in where the letters were and BAM I had an answer and an answer was all I cared about.  Wrong or right, an answer was better than nothing.  I didn’t want to over-think it because I really did believe that it would not be something I would care about as an adult (and I was right!).  I don’t remember anything from that class except that we read the Count of Monte Cristo and I learned a whole lot about revenge, wealth, and power.

(And if you are a high school student reading this, please disregard my opinion about calculus having no value in everyday life.)

Who doesn’t want a formula?  A formula for success, wealth, everlasting love, breaking addictions, getting healthy and losing weight, living until 100 years old?

If you eat all organic food and never drink (except 8oz of red wine per week) and eat dark chocolate and never smoke, and take multivitamins, then you will live to be 100 years old and never have any chronic diseases.

So, if I do steps 1-12, then my life will work out, I will reach perfection and everyone will love me?  If I invest in this stock with this amount of money at this time, then I will become a millionaire?  If I say this line, to this person, they will want to be with me for the rest of my life?  If I give this much time to this activity, I will become professional and never have to worry about anything again?  If you get 2 massages per month, your quality of life will dramatically improve?

The funny thing about people giving you “advice”  that worked for them is that you aren’t them.  Their “formula” for success isn’t a formula, it’s strategy for sure, but it’s not a formula or it would work for everyone.

We aren’t letters or number and life isn’t math problems.  We are people-humans with brains who all have different stories, pasts, lifestyles, habits, insecurities, hardships, hangups, pet-peeves, and expectations.

One person quits smoking cold turkey, another needs Nicorette gum, another uses Chantix, one person eats jolly ranchers, one person just needs to move out of their current living situation—And what worked the first time to quit, might not work the 2nd time for the same person.

Seriously, I counsel people to quit smoking and yet, I haven’t found a good way to help 100% of the people.  I have general strategies I give them but let them know that I have never smoked (except in my dreams, and boy, did I love it!).  First, you have to get some good reasons about why you want to quit.  Next, practice saying, “Oh, I don’t smoke”.  Then, tell everyone you are quitting.  Get rid of your ash trays.  Remind yourself why you are quitting.  Set a “quit date”.  Stop buying cigarettes.  Distract yourself when you get a craving and the craving goes away in a few minutes.  Stop hanging out with people who smoke.  Do something else with your hands and your mouth.

I have no formula—just strategies.  I have no idea what will work to help you quit smoking but here’s what some people have tried that has helped.

It’s interesting when people give advice like “formulas” and not like “strategies”.

“Oh I had that exact problem and I did this and that, and I got out of that rut I was in.  You just need to do “this and that” and I guarantee you will be different and everything will change.”

Life isn’t a vending machine.  God isn’t a vending machine.  Even vending machines sometimes don’t work the way you want them to and give you something totally different from the Grandma’s Cookies in C3.

I like formulas so I don’t have to think much, don’t have to try very hard, don’t have to worry about taking any blame, don’t have to take responsibility. Just plug in those number and BAM, get results.

One person gets married because she had an arranged marriage in India, another went to Starbucks, another met the guy when she was 10, another did eHarmony, another chased a guy until he surrendered, another laid at his feet on the threshing floor (Ruth), another was formed out of the dude’s rib, one finally just stopped thinking about it, one met her guy in a Christian commune, one went to Northwest College and found her man, one sat in pew 3, seat 4 for 3 years straight, one simply struck up a conversation with a stranger on the bus, one had a grandma who set her up with someone else’s grandson, one fasted and prayed for 30 days straight, one went out with a blind date.

One person gets rich by gambling, another by stealing, another by saving every penny, another by short sales, another by investments, another by trading, one by inheritance, another by finding an oil supply in the middle of nowhere, one by playing the lottery, one person gets rich by having 1000 rental properties.

One person gets rid of cancer by praying, another by dying, another by eating certain foods, one by going to a certain doctor, taking certain pills.

One person has a baby by in vitro, one by rape, one by adoption, one by the Holy Spirit, one by surrogate mother.

One person makes orange chicken by orange extract, one by orange juice, one by apple cider vinegar and ketchup, one just goes to Panda Express.

One person stays awake while driving by eating tictacs, one by eating ice chips, one by rolling down all the windows, one by pulling over to take a nap, one by blasting rap music.

One person uses WordPress for blogging, some use Blogspot, other use Blogger or thoughts.com or blog.com or livejournal.com.

One person loses weight by only drinking water, another by stapling the stomach, another by losing a limb, one by doing crossfit, one by joining the Marines, one by having a parasite.

My point?  I’ll let you decide.

I just ate 3 popcorn balls and I’m ready for bed.