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Excerpt from Leadership Bytes by Debbie DeVirgillio
Do you have margin in your life? I know margin is something that I must continually fight for, as it doesn’t come naturally to me. Margin allows us to be more creative, more productive, and less stressed.
What in the world do I mean when I say margin? Think about a print book….there is margin along the sides of the pages. When we were children, the margins were really big, almost as big as the area where the words were written, and the pictures placed. As we grew older and became better readers, the margins got smaller and smaller. Remember in high school and college, the textbook margins were tiny. Every time you opened that book you groaned inwardly (or maybe even outwardly) and everything about reading it seemed difficult?
Even now when you pick a book to read for professional development or enjoyment and the margins are really small, the book seems more difficult to read…it probably takes you a long time to get through it.
It all comes down to margin.
Without margin, life feels hard. Far too many of us leave no margin in our lives. Instead, we fill every empty space with a meeting, a task, or something. Without margin, we leave no opportunity for “God moments,” relaxation, or creativity. You see, God is a gentleman and he is not going to push his way into your life. I wonder how often God wants to use us during the day, but our calendar leaves no room for Him to move!
After operating without margin for too long, we begin to feel that life is difficult, we get tired, and become resentful about the things that take our time. Life without margin leads us on the road to exhaustion and illness. Going full speed ahead, rarely giving yourself permission to rest is a sure recipe for illness. Our bodies were not made to live without margin.
Jesus said, “Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.” ~Matthew 11:28-30 (MSG)
Reading these verses, it seems to me that margin is exactly what Jesus is talking about — unforced rhythms of grace…. learn to live freely and lightly.
Take some time each week to look at your schedule and build in some margin. Mark your margin time in your calendar so that it is there…so that nothing can supersede it. Watch and see what God can do when you leave time for Him to do it. Live freely and lightly!