We’re a piled-on, stretched-to-the limit society; chronically rushed, chronically late, chronically exhausted. Many of us feel like Job did when he said, “I have no peace! I have no quiet! I have no rest! And trouble keeps coming” (Job 3:26 GWT).
I am concerned about our church family. Many who mean well, serve hard and long, will burn out all the while doing good things for the Lord to serve in His Church. I have even seen spiritual busyness used as a mark of maturity. “I am involved in 5 ministries, go to 3 different small groups and Bible studies, cleaned the church, and went to 3 planning meetings.” That is not spirituality…that is ludicrous! To make matters more complicated, we add work, family, kids, sports, and the list goes on and we have left NO MARGIN in our lives!
Margin is the space you leave around the events in your life. That space must be allotted purposely in order to prevent your being maxed out physically, emotionally, mentally and spiritually. In other words, schedule extra time into your day in between commitments. Leave yourself some margin. Leave some quiet time for you and for God! Margin is the space we create in our lives where God shows up and ministers peace and comfort in the middle of our hectic lives.
Overload comes when we have too much activity in our lives, too much change, too many choices, too much work, too much debt, too much media exposure.
Dr. Richard Swenson says, “The conditions of modern day living devour margin. If you’re homeless we direct you to a shelter. If you’re penniless we offer you food stamps. If you’re breathless we connect you to oxygen. But if you’re marginless we give you one more thing to do. Marginless is being thirty minutes late to the doctor’s office because you were twenty minutes late getting out of the hairdresser because you were ten minutes late dropping the children off at school because the car ran out of gas two blocks from a gas station and you forgot your purse. That’s marginless.”
You need margin in your life. When you’re not hurrying and worrying all the time, you have time to think. Time to relax. Time to enjoy life. Time to be still and know that God is God (Psalm 46:10).
Bill Hybels once told me, “You lead on 3 levels: 1. You lead those above you (for me that is my Directional Team); 2. You lead those under you (A vast volunteer army) and then he stunned me! He said, 3. You lead yourself – and he qualified that by saying YOU are the ONLY one that can lead yourself.”
Are you saying Yes to the right things? Are you saying No to the right things? Take the time to arrange for MARGIN in your life! You need it!