Repetition creates retention.

I had a college professor who lived by that motto. She would talk. All the time. Tell these crazy stories that seemed to have nothing to do with the subject she taught. And she would repeat them each class. Oh. My. Word. I’m sure we all rolled our eyes at some point at her ramblings about how she had the last name of a rodent, about Shrek’s relationship with Donkey, and more randomness. Sometimes her lesson plan was clear, but I was left wondering what in the world she meant to

Then came the first test. It was fill-in-the-blank. And there were questions about interpersonal communication and how it related to an onion. Two things dawned on me, (1) the reason for her Shrek references, and (2) the fact I’d tuned her explanation out). I got that question wrong. I did spell her last name correctly, though, which was another “part” of the test. Most of the class didn’t perform well on that test.

But the next time, we were ready.

That professor taught me how to listen. She became one of my favorites at school, for many other reasons, but her repetition/retention mantra stuck with me. Now when I notice a theme in my life, I try to stop and pay attention. It could be that God is reminding me for a big reason or a small one. All I know for sure is when there’s something that pops up in life over and over, I know to get ready. A situation will soon arise when I need to be keyed in on that pattern.

For example, this week a theme has been putting others first. At several points this week, we have had opportunities open up for us to do this. And this provides us the opportunity to make sure our response is one of joy and enthusiasm to help, since when we are there for others, we become a part of something bigger than ourselves.

Have you had a theme resonate in your life this week? How do you respond when there are repeated opportunities in your life that keep coming up for no reason?

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