Richard A. Swenson, M.D. wrote a book about Margin, entitled just that, Margin. If you haven’t read the book, I highly recommend it. I read it years ago, and frankly I think it’s time for me to read it again.
The back cover says this:
Overload is not having time to finish the book you are reading on stress. Margin is having time to read it twice. Overload is fatigue. Margin is energy. Overload is red ink. Margin is black ink. Overload is hurry. Margin is calm. Overload is anxiety. Margin is security. Overload is the disease of our time. Margin is the cure. Margin is the space that once existed between ourselves and our limits. It is something held in reserve for contingencies or unanticipated situations.
Can you relate? Do you find yourself living in the “overload” category or in the “margin” category?
If you are stressed, there’s a good chance you find yourself lining up with “overload”. You’re fatigued, rushed, anxious, and depleted. That’s not how we should be living our lives!
We need to live with more margin.
We need room to breathe!
Heidi St. John talks about “white space” in her books, The Busy Homeschool Mom’s Guide to Daylight and The Busy Homeschool Mom’s Guide to Romance.
She defines it as, “a few days in a row of unscheduled time” and says, “If you don’t have at least two days in a row of white space every week, it’s time to make some changes”.
I don’t know about you, but when I read that I think, “Wow, that sounds more like vacation!”
It’s extremely hard for me to have even one day of white space, where I don’t have anything scheduled. Let’s face the facts... For us, Monday through Friday equals homeschooling plus other activities. Saturday is a day of work and sometimes social opportunity, and Sunday is the Lord’s day, when we are at church half the day.
I do admire Heidi St. John’s vision, though, and think she’s onto something good. We DO need white space in our lives - time when we can just be and live somewhat casually and peacefully, even if we are working during that time.
White space helps us appreciate the blessings of life and helps us undo the fight or flight,
rush-around, fast pace of living.
Do you have margin in your life?
Are you filling up every moment with tasks and scheduled activities?
Do you have time just to breathe and enjoy your family?
Do you have time to do something spontaneously with your kids, just for fun?
Are you rushing here and there with little to give?
May God help us create better margin for our lives!
Take Action: Evaluate your life and see what you can do to create more margin. Can you cross something off your “To Do” list for today or for the week?