#3GoodThings – #1

#3GoodThings – #1

I’m one of the most negative people I know… Surprised?

This may come as a shocker … but it’s something that bothers me greatly. When in public, I try to keep it under wraps. It’s a particularly cumbersome piece of baggage to carry when you are a person of faith because we aren’t supposed to worry, fret or experience long-term negativity.


It was something that always bothered me about my dad as well. He seemed well able to zero in on the negative… on dangers… on risks, etc. faster than on the positives. When I showed him our very first house – before purchasing it – he had a lot of concerns. Later, after we sold it, he waxed poetic about the great little house it had been for our family.

Now I see that same propensity in me and I think it bothers me even more because: (a) I think “I should know better” … having made a solemn vow to “never be like that when I grow older” and (b) I remember the cold-shower effect it had on me so I feel guilty for inflicting the same on my family.


Maybe there’s an element of mid-life crisis that comes to play (I’m approaching 50) but thankfully there’s no need to envision man-perms, gold chains & open collar shirts or flashy little open-top sports cars (the quintessential ‘mid-life crisis’ image from the 70s and 80s).

Maybe it’s the fact that we’ve never been as financially strapped or felt so lonely (a lousy combination) as we have the last 2 years while being involved in what’s perceived to be a highly valued, benevolent and self-sacrificing endeavor – or calling – as Christians: foreign missions.

It’s a bit of a “which came first, the chicken or the egg” scenario – are we struggling because of the seeming lack of progress & hardship or are we experiencing lack of progress & hardship because we’ve let the struggle get to us?

I’d say that both are at play and, coming back to the issue of faith, it’s easy for an element of guilt to creep in as well. We’re not supposed to feel this way.

Enter ‘3 Good Things’

Back in January, while preparing for an English course I’m teaching, I came across a Ted Talk by author Shawn Achor on “The Happiness Advantage” and in a nutshell, he posits the following:

If, at some point, whether by profession or propensity, we find ourselves in a pattern of negativity, the longer we stay there or nourish that, the more we train our brain to look for and find negativity – He calls it the Tetris Effect.

His solution… make a conscious effort to direct your brain in the opposite direction – essentially re-train it – by making a daily habit of the following:

  • journaling about 3 good things that happened to you in the last 24 hours… and/or something you’re grateful for.
  • Meditation (sounds like prayer to me & isn’t it interesting that ever secular professionals recommend the value of prayer)
  • Exercise (whoa boy… not sure I can do that one! 🙂

So… while this won’t publish until later, I’m beginning this on Saturday, January 19th and will, every day for the next 30 days, quickly catalogue three good things that I’m grateful for.

I won’t publish until March because I want there to be a little distance between baring my soul and the actual publishing.

First 3… January 19th

  1. Today I got to put my hands in the earth. Last year I began rooting some lavender cuttings that I recouped when I trimmed the existing plants. It’s a good time to transplant them because the cool temps will still allow them to grow roots without hot sun baking them. More plants for free is like a gift that keeps on giving because they’ll bring enjoyment this summer. Digging in the earth lets me breathe and I’m grateful for that.
  2. Call me crazy, but the Christmas Tree is still up and we’re still enjoying the soft glow of the white lights and reminiscing over memories that accompany many of the ornaments. The tree didn’t go up until quite late (our first year with an artificial tree here) so we’re milking it – Hey, if people can put it up in early November, surely we’re not being unreasonable. I’m grateful for quiet, dimly lit mornings & evenings in front of the tree.
  3. Had a good discussion with Liz tonight. It’s rare that we’re both at home alone without the kids being with us and not consumed with various tasks & responsibilities. Sometimes we all just “get into a groove”. If it wasn’t for her, I have serious doubts as to whether or not we’d still be in France. She’s a good one. She taught me something about submitting to the Lord’s will, even when that’s not always comfortable.

(Note: Future #3GoodThings posts won’t be as long since I won’t have the whole intro info to include.)

68 responses

  1. Pingback: #3GoodThings – #2 « AIM Long

  2. Pingback: #3GoodThings – #3 « AIM Long

  3. Pingback: #3GoodThings – #4 « AIM Long

  4. Pingback: #3GoodThings – #5 « AIM Long

  5. I so enjoyed this post. I understand with all of my heart, such a predicament. Lack of money, loss and change too. It is so human to fall in to despair – then to feel guilt on top of everything. I do think some of it may be connected with getting older, too, All of the suggestions were good. I am putting your name in my prayer journal. It is good to remember that our God is compassionate and understanding of our weaknesses and does not hold it against us. Best wishes friend!

    • Aw, thanks so much Michele. I appreciate it as prayer always makes a difference. I guess that to a certain extent, this series is an attempt to get back a bit more toward center where prayer can be filled more with “Thank you Lord for….. ” as opposed to “Lord, you know we need ….. “. There is a time for both, but balance – as always – is the key! Hugs from France!!

      • yes Mile, I cringe at the prayers I used to pray-giving God all sorts of advice on what He needed to do! haha! Now, my prayers are thank you and help me. U bet He id glad! Best wishes friend! and in Christian love to you and your family . . .all the way to France!

  6. Pingback: #3GoodThings – #6 « AIM Long

  7. Pingback: #3GoodThings – #7 « AIM Long

  8. Pingback: #3GoodThings – #8 « AIM Long

  9. Pingback: #3GoodThings – #9 « AIM Long

  10. Pingback: #3GoodThings – #10 « AIM Long

  11. Pingback: #3GoodThings – #11 « AIM Long

  12. Pingback: #3GoodThings – #12 « AIM Long

  13. Pingback: #3GoodThings – #13 « AIM Long

  14. Pingback: #3GoodThings – #14 « AIM Long

  15. Pingback: #3GoodThings – #15 « AIM Long

  16. Pingback: #3GoodThings – #16 « AIM Long

  17. Pingback: #3GoodThings – #17 « AIM Long

  18. Pingback: #3GoodThings – #18 « AIM Long

  19. Pingback: #3GoodThings – #19 « AIM Long

  20. Pingback: #3GoodThings – #20 « AIM Long

  21. Pingback: #3GoodThings – #21 « AIM Long

  22. Pingback: #3GoodThings – #22 « AIM Long

  23. Pingback: #3GoodThings – #23 « AIM Long

  24. Pingback: #3GoodThings – #24 « AIM Long

  25. Pingback: #3GoodThings – #25 « AIM Long

  26. Pingback: #3GoodThings – #26 « AIM Long

  27. Pingback: #3GoodThings – #27 « AIM Long

  28. Pingback: #3GoodThings – #28 « AIM Long

  29. Pingback: #3GoodThings – #29 « AIM Long

  30. Pingback: #3GoodThings – #30 « AIM Long

  31. Pingback: #3GoodThings – #31 « AIM Long

  32. Pingback: #3GoodThings – #32 « AIM Long

  33. Pingback: #3GoodThings – #33 « AIM Long

  34. Pingback: #3GoodThings – #34 « AIM Long

  35. Pingback: #3GoodThings – #35 « AIM Long

  36. Pingback: #3GoodThings – #36 « AIM Long

  37. Pingback: #3GoodThings – #37 « AIM Long

  38. Pingback: #3GoodThings – #38 « AIM Long

  39. Pingback: #3GoodThings – #39 « AIM Long

  40. Pingback: #3GoodThings – #40 « AIM Long

  41. Pingback: #3GoodThings – #41 « AIM Long

  42. Pingback: #3GoodThings – #42 « AIM Long

  43. Pingback: #3GoodThings – #43 « AIM Long

  44. Pingback: #3GoodThings – #44 « AIM Long

  45. Pingback: #3GoodThings – #45 « AIM Long

  46. Pingback: STM: It’s all about Control… « AIM Long

  47. Pingback: #3GoodThings – #46 « AIM Long

  48. Pingback: #3GoodThings – #47 « AIM Long

  49. Pingback: #3GoodThings – #48 « AIM Long

  50. Pingback: #3GoodThings – #49 « AIM Long

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: