Definition: The edge or border of something. An amount by which a thing is won or falls short. Provide with an edge or border. A limit in a condition or process, beyond or below which something is no longer possible or acceptable. An amount that is allowed but that is beyond what is needed.
Whew…sipping on a delicious cup of warm herbal tea…I am soooooo excited and are in hopes you will find this week’s topic of interest! As I was “Takin Time Out”, I recently found an amazing discovery in my daily life and can’t wait to share. I am not sure if it is because I have gotten older or the fact technology has brought a new dimension to my daily routine but these conditions are devouring my MARGIN.
Being raised by a very loving, organized Type “A” mother she has passed some traits on to me, one of which is being a list maker. I remember the little once red desk now stripped down to its beautiful oak finish positioned on a wall of our kitchen. This was my Mom’s command center. She had her calendar with activities, times and location listed on each appropriate day as well as a pad with her weekly and daily reminder of a “To Do List”, in her immaculate penmanship she used a checkmark to mark off each one she had completed. When I go home even today she incorporated everything in her “Franklin Day Timer” binder with her calendar of events and a list. Personally I have moved to an 8½ by 11 spiral notepad, my handwriting is not as precise so I print and I use a yellow highlighter to cross my items off. I love living by my lists…What about you are you a list maker?
This past week I was visiting with a very dear friend and I was sharing all the things I had recently accomplished in my adventure this year of “Lightening My Load” and how refreshing and a sense of renewal was being brought into my daily life…yet I seemed to get frustrated with the timing issue. I was explaining I used to be able to get so much more done in a day than I do now. I was asking her why is this…what is different…I no longer have small children and added responsibility, it really should be easier. My friend quickly responded by saying I hadn’t created enough MARGIN in my daily activity. WOW…BAM…she sure knows how to hit me right upside the head for sure! Yes she nailed it!!
She said there was a great book written by Richard A. Swenson entitled “MARGIN”…so yes I started reading it the next day. I haven’t finished it yet but it definitely has some unique and important lessons to be learned. In the opening chapter he states “if you are homeless we send you to a shelter, if you are penniless we offer you food stamps, if you are breathless we connect you to oxygen but if you are marginless, we give you yet one more thing to do. Margin, on the other hand is having breath left at the top of the staircase.” I am always seeking a more improved way of doing things, getting more things done yet I really need to enjoy the journey while doing it. This is where I think MARGIN can be so important. Do you remember notebook paper? Maybe you have some and if so please take a look at it very closely. There is at least one inch blank space before the lines begin from the top, now look on the left side there is another one inch before a solid red line goes down the page vertically and maybe another one inch on the right side. These are the margins. While in school the margins are where teacher’s would make notes or corrections.
This might take a little effort but hang with me for a minute. Let’s take our daily lives and compare to a piece of notebook paper. What happens if we write all the way across the page including the margins and leave no space? We are on the go from sun up to sun down and sometimes burning the midnight oil. Some of these activities are important or a necessity of life but really how many of these “To Do’s” are not necessary and are inflicted by guilt or pride? There is absolutely no room for important messages, corrections or encouragement to fit in if we take up all the space with stuff, running ourselves ragged. If we are so busy running past life we can miss critical opportunities to speak into our lives and ultimately this trickles down into the lives of our loved ones. If I am so busy chasing my crazy busy schedule then in reality I have no time to take notice of what could happen in those margins. I am not enjoying the journey either…
Creating margin is counter culture. It isn’t what we see encouraged or modeled in our culture…especially if you are climbing the ladder of success. In reality margin isn’t something that happens without effort. It requires a great deal of self-conscious effort to sustain. Margin is about living life to the fullest just like Jesus promised us.
Luke 12:15-21 (NIV) I a perfect example:
“Then he said to them, Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; life does not consist in an abundance of possessions. And he told them this parable: The ground of a certain rich man yielded an abundant harvest. He thought to himself, ‘What shall I do? I have no place to store my crops.’ Then he said, ‘This is what I’ll do. I will tear down my barns and build bigger ones, and there I will store my surplus grain. And I’ll say to myself, You have plenty of grain laid up for many years. Take life easy; eat, drink and be merry. But God said to him, ‘You fool! This very night your life will be demanded from you. Then who will get what you have prepared for yourself?’ This is how it will be with whoever stores up things for themselves but is not rich toward God.”
These verses are all about greed and filling your notebook paper from top to bottom, side to side. A big part of managing the overload of modern life is changing our expectations and our definition of what constitutes success and then truly determining what is enough! The worldly view is placed on material things, beauty, wealth and success but maybe it is time to redefine success and leave some space in the margin.
If we live life with margin it does not guarantee a life free of problems but it can give us many richly rewards like peace, nurturing relationships, less anxiety, mental space for creativity and time to reflect on what really matters so we can practice awareness and gratitude which is what God truly wants for each one of us.
This is one reason I started this blog and entitled it “Takin Time Out!” This is where I can let important messages take root in my margin, add creativity, nurture my soul and become more how God intended me to be. What about you? Are you filling up your margins with unnecessary “To Do’s”? I encourage you to leave some space…create a margin in your day and let’s enjoy life to fullest until next time my friends…