Living A Three Strand Life

Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. 

A cord of three strands is not quickly broken. (Ecc 4:12)

What if this verse says far more than we limit it to mean?

What if three strand lives are not quickly broken? What if part of the good news of the gospel is that we don’t have to be all things to all people? But we do need to be a few things? I know I’m invigorated when part of what I’m doing is purposeful.rope

What if a three strand life consists of these strands: the macro, the micro, and the daily details.

1. Macro Level

Macro refers to parts of our lives where we are investing in “many.” Notice I put the word many in quotes because it’s not about size. The macro looks beyond ourselves to others and this is the beautiful part, it will look different for each of us. And this is the frustrating part. The enemy of our souls will whisper what we are doing is not really macro, not like what she or he is doing. When you start to hear those whispers, recognize them for what they are: lies.

At this season of life, my macro is online. I lead a book club for women who are serving cross-culturally. Already I find myself wanting to say, “I know it might not sound like much …” {LIES! See how sticky that lie is?! Be gone!}. To the women who participate in nooks and crannies around the world, it matters. Period. Full stop.


What if a three strand life consists of these strands: the macro, the micro, and the daily details.


I also coordinate Connection Groups for the same on-line gathering. We find mentors for the groups, organize a discussion guide, and then create a sign-up for the groups to have no more than six women. Again, it might not sound all Mother Theresa, but it’s a way for me to invest beyond myself and make a difference in the world.

Your macro strand may involve soup kitchens, or volunteering at your kids school, or gathering presents at Christmas for kids around the world. This is the beauty of the macro, it can take on many faces.

2. Micro Level

If the macro is having one strand of life pouring into the multitudes, this strand is pouring into one or few.

Often it’s not glamorous and can be boring. As I’ve been leaning hard into this strand– I’ll be honest, the macro calls to me because it is about D-O-I-N-G and splashing about in the pond of life –this strand has been challenging me to drill down on what “meaningful” means. Let’s just say it’s not synonymous with size.

My longest running co-worker was diagnosed in late August with breast cancer and days later her mom was diagnosed with liver and pancreatic cancer. Since then, just two weeks after receiving the news, her mom died.


No one but God will know and sometimes that’s the point


When my dad was dying, I said to someone, “Crap, I have really misplayed my life cards. It’s too late to have children! Who will care for me when I’m old and dying?” Not the holiest of thoughts, but it is what pierced my heart. Thankfully, God doesn’t provide only through blood relatives for us in our times of need.

I spent two weeks in China caring for and advocating for my friend, as she had surgery and began the recovery process.

It might not matter to the masses, yet this trip is significant on the micro level. And to the One who knows even the hairs on our heads, God does not only focus on the Big Picture. Amen? Amen.

Your micro might look like one caring for a sick family member, shoveling snow for a neighbor, providing a meal for someone who is overwhelmed, giving a gift card when a need arises, or listening to a friend when they need to debrief. No one but God will know and sometimes that’s the point of this strand. {tweet this}

3. Daily Details 

If only life were about ideas and relationships and connecting! But equally important are the pieces that allow the machine of life to function. Less stirring of the heart than the macro or micro level involvement, yet I am grateful for food, water, electricity, insurance, cars, clothes, and other daily details!

A Three-Stranded Life

A chord of three strands is not easily broken we read in Ecclesiastes. A life woven together of macro level, micro level, and daily details also is not easily broken, eh?! It helps us to look to the sky, walk on the ground, and tend to the resources in between.

Which of these strands is God stirring within you to beef up in this season of life?


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Image Credit: Wouter de Brujin, Creative Commons

Amy Young


Amy Young is readjusting to messy middle of life in the US after more than twenty years in China and the recent death of her dad. When she first moved to China she knew three Chinese words: hello, thank you and watermelon. Often the only words really needed in life. She is known to jump in without all the facts and blogs regularly at and tweets as @amyinbj and is the most unbeautiful pinner Pinterest has ever seen (but she's having fun!).

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