The Formula
Lysa TerKeurst

"Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind…" Romans 12:2a (NIV)

When I was a young mom, I was desperate for a formula. I truly thought there must be a formula I could plug my family into that would yield great kids. And there were plenty of moms that tried to convince me they had the formula.

"Bottle feed and never let them sleep in your bed."

"Breastfeed until they are 3 and give them the security of sleeping between you and your husband every night."

"Don't ever send them to pre-school. It will be detrimental to their social development."

"Send them to pre-school right away - it's crucial for their social development."

"TV is good."

"TV is bad."

"They must read by age 5."

"Let them take their time learning to read. You'll ruin their love for books if you force them."

"Step in and model healthy conflict resolution when they argue with their siblings."

"Let them handle things on their own."

"Be there 24/7 for your kids."

"Don't be a helicopter mom. Give your kids room to discover who they are without you hovering over them."

Seriously, it's a wonder we moms figure anything out with all the conflicting information and advice we get. I spent the first five years of motherhood convinced I was messing my kids up beyond repair. And it wasn't for lack of trying. Heavens no. I was serious about gathering every morsel of information I could and trying with all my might to decode "the formula."

Well, here's the deal. I now have kids ranging in ages from 22 to 11 and this is my very best advice in regards to the formula. There isn't one.

There is no perfect parenting formula. What works for one kid may not work for another. The seemingly perfect algorithm one family follows could be disastrous for another.

We weren't made to follow formulas. We were made to follow Jesus. Period.

This is true with parenting but it's also true with every other aspect of our lives as well. We were made to follow Jesus' lead in our marriages, our jobs, our ministries, our churches, our friendships, our everything.

In Romans 12:2 Paul so powerfully reminds us, "Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is - his good, pleasing, and perfect will."

We weren't made to be robotic followers of this world's formulas. We were made to be transformed into the unique person God appointed to fulfill the assignments set before us. So, on a practical level what does this look like?

It's a simple woman who humbly acknowledges how much she doesn't know about life and readily admits how much she needs Jesus. Not just in spiritual sense…this woman needs Jesus in every way. All throughout her day, she can be heard whispering heart-felt pleas to her Jesus saying, "Show me the way, show me the way, show me the way."

And as she does this, she loosens her grip on all the formulas thrown at her and courageously embraces His gentle voice behind her saying, "This is the way, now walk in it" (Isaiah 30:21).

Dear Lord, help me to follow You and You alone - not a pre-planned formula. Help me to see that I need You more than anything today. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

Related Resources:
Visit Lysa’s blog for a list of Bible verses every mom should have.

For more wise advice on becoming the mom you want to be click here to order Lysa’s book: Am I Messing Up My Kids? (This is an updated and expanded version of her book “The Bathtub is Overflowing but I Feel Drained.”)

Becoming More Than a Good Bible Study Girl by Lysa TerKeurst. The best gift you can give your family is the gift of becoming a godly woman.

Becoming More Than a Good Bible Study Girl DVD set

Lysa will be speaking in over 40 cities this year and she’d love to meet you! To check for a city near you, click here.

When you purchase resources through Proverbs 31 Ministries, you touch eternity because your purchase supports the many areas of hope-giving ministry we provide at no cost. We wish we could, but we simply can't compete with prices offered by huge online warehouses. Therefore, we are extremely grateful for each and every purchase you make with us. Thank you! ________________________________________

Application Steps:
We weren't made to be robotic followers of this world's formulas. We were made to be transformed into the unique person God appointed to fulfill the assignments set before us. So, on a practical level what does this look like for you?

What formulas (if any) have you been following or holding onto?

Please pray over each of them to discern if they are in accordance with God's plan for you and your family.

Power Verses:
Matthew 4:19, "'Come, follow me," Jesus said, "and I will make you fishers of men.'" (NIV)

Romans 8:5, "Those who live according to the sinful nature have their minds set on what that nature desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires." (NIV)

John 10:27, "My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me." (NIV)

© 2010 by Lysa TerKeurst. All rights reserved.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Great formulas...

I've heard it all too...and struggle against feeling like a miserable failure.

I need Jesus...every moment...every day...always...

Anonymous Charlotte said...

Wow! Great words for me to ponder as I start my day. As the song states, "I need you Jesus to come to my rescue, where else can I go?"

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Awesome!! Well written. May I add, do not the neglect that the Godly counsel of many is still wise. Digest and see what parts of the counsel with God's word and voice apply to you personally. Blessings and Gratitude!

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you for your wise and encouraging words. I remind myself everyday that my 4 kids are on this Earth not for my will to be done, but for God's will to be done. He will guide us parents to get that goal accomplished if we will just follow His perfect formula.

Blogger Alissa Peppley said...

I needed this affirmation today. My baby boy is almost 8 months old, and I have been overwhelmed by varying opinions on baby care. I know it will only get more complex as he grows. Thank God for encouragement such as today's devotional, and wise words from my mom that God chose me to be his mommy, and will guide my husband and I as to what is best for him. I daily need that reminder, and to put my trust in His wisdom and grace. Even if the world's advice doesn't necessarily seem "bad", it can disrupt our peace simply by the pressure it creates to conform. Thank God for His perfect plan - for all of creation as a whole, and for my little one.

Blogger Unknown said...

Thank you! This is what I've needed lately.

Blogger Jo Wright said...

I have 3 (18; 13; 11) sons and this was right on time for me today. I contemplated the advice I was given as they grew up, some good and some not so good. I drove myself crazy trying to live up to the ideals of others. I would feel or be made to feel guilty if my sons didn't live up to these insane ideals. I needed to give up my need for control of what type of young men they would grow up to be. Once I let go and let God handle it, then I could concentrate on following Him and doing my best for Him. He had and still has control over it all no matter what happens. He has a purpose for each of them and I need to trust that He knows what is best.

Blogger young wife&mom said...

thank you for sharing. i have 3 young ones and am learning myself...that no formula works for all kids, mothers or families. and wouldn't that be silly anyway? where in the bible is everyone trained the same way? where is everyones marriage exactly the same or purpose or plan etc. God loves variety, so of course these illusive formulas would never be found in His word. But what we do find (and has been an encouragement to me lately) is a bunch of people who accomplished his purpose for them by being FAITHFUL to do what he called them to do. for me--that means following my convictions--not constantly comparing my decisions to others. thanks again!

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have seven children and seven grandchildren. My experience has been that each one comes with their own set of instructions if we listen to the spirit of Christ. God has a personal plan for each person's life and there are no set of instructions that fulfill how we should raise them excepting that which we receive from Christ daily.

It's all very personal.

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