Gordon-Conwell Blog

Rule of Thirds

November 28, 2011

Megan Hackman

Photography loves the rule of thirds, which sets up shots like the picture on the right. 

You're encouraged to photograph the object of your focus either at an intersection point or along one of the lines (as illustrated with the skyline, above). The rest of the grid provides the space to help your eye focus on the object of interest, because the human eye naturally is drawn to focus along this one-thirds gridline.

A mentor suggested that we might live focusing unnecessarily on a narrow grid of thirds. We (and especially seminarians, I would argue) spend life focusing one-at-a-time on one of three activities: the first third of life studying for work; the second third working; and the third resting from all that time we spent working.

What if we lived life focusing less on the division of the thirds and more on the intersection points? That is, what if we did not spend 30 years in school, 30 years at work, and 30 years resting? What if we lived with work and study and rest all in one mixed life? What if we let the boundaries cross between work and play and rest? What if we lived life a bit more looking for these intersection points week-to-week and less on the anticipation of a major switch in activity every 30 years?

I’m getting a taste of this by using a similar grid to analyze my life for one of my classes. Every week, I look at a 7 (for the days) x 3 (morning, afternoon, night) grid. I’m looking to include periods of work, study, and rest, all side-by-side with plenty of times where they intersect in order to allow for analysis of study, creativity in work, and depth in rest. I allow a greater focus on rest than I have allowed myself formerly, as I’ve been introduced to Sabbath rest in seminary, which I will return to in the next post.

For now, I encourage you to consider… Are you living in an isolated stratum of study, work, or rest? Where might you find an intersection point? Can you offer any encouragement as to where you’ve found benefit in the times where rest, study, and work meet?

Megan Hackman and her husband, Larry, are M.Div. students at Gordon-Conwell's Hamilton campus.

Tags: Author: Megan Hackman , biblically-grounded , equipping leaders for the church and society , spiritually vital , student life , thoughtfully evangelical

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Good Morning, Megan...from Colorado: A friend from NH sent me your blog post. Most grateful am I that he did. I say...hooray!...keep it up!!...way to go!!! And that was done in thirds. :-) Your post radiates with a thought I've been proposing for years now...live all of your life in all of what I do call the Three 3rds of life. But what you've done so well is invite your reader into living live daily with the thirds you suggest. I like what you've done.......! Fast chasing 70yo, I've come to realize (and much of this realization began in full force when a student at Denver Seminary 38 years ago) that we limit ourselves, our dreams, our hopes, our relationships, our potential of what can be accomplished in our lifetimes if we accept the cultural norm (especially in our Christian circles...for the most part...i know there are exceptions...but not enough of them) of what you state about the 30/30/30 of a life here in our western culture. What if...what if courageously, creatively, daringly, purposefully, intentionally...we did not buy into the cultural norm? What if, no matter our age, we chose to live intentionally, experiencing deep change in each decade of our life? What if, as we grew older, we were not looking for done and finished, but there are more horizons to explore and discover? We could go on and on....... :-) So today, I celebrate what you suggest. May our Triune God further bless you and your husband as you study, work and rest forward...day by day. How do I sign up to keep receiving your life-giving, life-challenging thoughts. You've gained one more fan today from here in the Rockies. Wes Roberts Leadership Mentor/Organizational Designer/Spiritual Friend Leadership Design Group 17053 Hastings Avenue Parker, CO 80134 iPhone: 303-809-6503 Website: http://wesroberts.typepad.com/wes/ You will also find me on Facebook And some of the seminarians I mentor out here finally have me on Twitter @thewesroberts
Wes Roberts 8:11AM 11/29/11

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