Thinking in Threes: It Makes a Difference

A couple of weeks ago my husband and I attended a couple’s retreat. The theme was “Be Refreshed”. It was a delightful couple of days hearing different speakers share the importance of being refreshed in our souls, marriages, ministries and other areas of our lives. The men and women met together for many of the sessions, but we had two separate breakouts. Mike shared his notes from the men’s session with me. Don’t we all love to hear someone speak whose presentation is full of good “take away’s”. His was.

The topic for this particular breakout session was “Be Refreshed in Your Soul.” Our soul is our mind, our will, our emotions. The speaker for the men, Tony Rankin, had many practical suggestions in the area of mind refreshment. It’s hard to find times of refreshment during the day when we have a list a mile long of things to get done. Tony suggested taking that list, but limiting ourselves to thinking about and only doing three things on the list at a time. When a set of three is done, then take a break, maybe a 5-10 minute break. Then, start on the next three things.

I like this idea. This week I thought I’d give this a try. I tweaked it just a bit for me. I was feeling pretty overwhelmed with life, so on my blank, small piece of paper I wrote down only three things. That made it more manageable. By the end of the day it brought great satisfaction to look at the many “threes” that were completed. The last set of three’s wasn’t completed, but it really didn’t matter since I could look back and see the other “three’s” that were completed.

Thinking in three’s can actually be something quite spiritual. The number three is significant in the Bible. It’s used hundreds of times. It seems to be the number of completion and perfection. My life has been and continues being changed by these “three’s”:

  • The Trinity: God the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Where would I be without having a personal relationship with God the Father through His perfect son, Jesus? Where would I be without the abiding power of the Holy Spirit who is at work in me, through me, and around me?
  • The death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ means I can now live free from the power of sin and death. This is available to all who have put their faith and trust in the One who gave His all so we can truly live. Acts 17:28 says, “In Him we live and move and have our being.”
  • Our design as made by our Creator God – body, soul, and spirit. We are created as image bearers of the one Master Designer. This is who we are. We are His workmanship

The plan of working in “three’s” is quite practical. I may get to the end of the day and find that I’ve checked off most things in those sets of threes. In most cases, if something is left undone, we are gifted with the newness of the next day to complete what was left unfinished.

Additionally, there is an important question I must ask myself when I look at that list. How many things were centered on self and how many on others? If it’s way out of balance, I need to do some re-prioritizing in my life.

Recently I got to the end of the day – much was accomplished. Then I saw a word on one of my lists of three’s that didn’t get done . . . a word I really don’t like very much. I saw the word iron. It hadn’t gotten done.

In reality, I didn’t have to do that ironing. My husband has plenty of clean shirts to wear, but it was something I could do and wanted to do because I love him. It was an opportunity to die to self in a real practical way. Making a deliberate focus on serving others a part of my daily planning will be a huge blessing to me and others. I sense that more will be accomplished, too.

If fullness of life comes from living and moving in a way that honors the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus, then the days that make up our lives will be days that delight the Father. These kinds of days bring us joy, peace, satisfaction and a sense of completeness in Him. They are days of productive fruit-bearing.

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Wisdom from NCIS-Thanksgiving Edition

Team - 2

 

Last night, thanks to our DVR, we were able to get caught up on one of our favorite programs, NCIS. This is one TV program in which I can honestly say I love all of the characters. Each character is incredibly distinct and on occasion we get new insights into what really makes them tick. It’s not just that I love the unique personalities of each, I love the way they demonstrate their care for one another, even in their mess ups.

Holiday episodes are filled with emotion and life lessons – lessons that are worth taking note of. This year’s Thanksgiving Episode was no exception.

This episode is packed with hurts and pain. A young lieutenant will die with leukemia unless a donor is found. Ellie is devastated when she finds out the reason her marriage is falling apart. She leaves her work in D. C. and goes home to Oklahoma. In essence, she tries running away from her problems. Gibbs continues trying to keep everything under control as he continues to recover emotionally from a near death experience from a gunshot. Tim accidentally reveals a silly little secret about Abby to Tony – Abby finds out. Tony has plans to spend Thanksgiving alone working.

Ellie, while running from her problems in Oklahoma, finds that the case of the young lieutenant follows her. What impacts me is that even in her pain, she’s the one that works hardest to find a donor for the dying lieutenant. The potential donor is in military prison serving a life sentence. She makes three emotional visits to this person. He finally says yes

Her boss, Gibbs, quite concerned for her, goes to Oklahoma to check on her. His advice is great. He tells her to stop trying to handle this alone and that she needs someone to share her feelings with. She comes back with: “You don’t talk to anyone about yours.” Gibbs replies,” I do now. I found a friend, my Doc, to talk to.”

Back in D. C. Abby forgives Tim and both celebrate Thanksgiving by serving in a community soup kitchen. FBI special agent, Tobias, who has a great dislike for Tony, suddenly invites Tony to share Thanksgiving dinner at his home. The dislike seems to be mutual. But, in that moment, the look on Tony’s face is priceless. He’s smiling from ear to ear.

What are the life lessons in all of this?

  • Share your burdens with a trusted someone.
  • Forgive ALL things, big and little.
  • Keep pursuing positive solutions to obstacles.
  • Keep serving others in need even when you’re hurting.
  • Be open to opportunities of spending time with someone you make not like very much. Blessings will be found.

As I watched this episode I couldn’t help but think of what our Faith Community, called the Church, is to look like. The characters in this fictitious program form a team who care deeply for one another. It is shown in how they treat one another. It’s true that they don’t always do it perfectly, but by their actions we know how much they care. God wants us to be a people who can help sustain family, friends, neighbors, and coworkers as they go through difficulties. We’re do it with Christ-like grace that is full of comfort, peace and encouragement.