Satisfy us in the morning with your unfailing love, that we may sing for joy and be glad all our days.
Careful planning puts you ahead in the long run; hurry and scurry puts you further behind.
“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”
My Dad tells me every so often that I need more “margin” in my life. With a respectful response, I assure him that I am going to try to do better. In fact, my margin scale has been tested this week due to the “Take Our Highways Back” campaign, because I have to drive the speed limit on all roads….ha! That’s right, I have to allow myself ample time between Point A and Point B throughout my day. Do you understand what maintaining an ample “margin” means?
I bought a book at Barnes & Noble at Patton Creek after dinner Friday night that helped me to put into words this difficult task of developing a proper margin.
In A Minute of Margin written by Richard A. Swenson, M.D., I found the answers to why most of the stress and anxiety I experience takes place.
Swenson describes “margin” as follows:
“Margin is like oxygen–everybody needs some. If we have too little, we suffer from shortage. If we have too much the excess will not benefit us additionally. But having the right amount permits us to breathe freely.”
“Margin is a space, specifically the space between our load and our limits. It is the space that enhances vitality and resilience. It is the space that guarantees sustainability. It is the space where healing occurs, where our batteries are recharged, where our relationships are nourished, and where wisdom is found. Without margin, both rest and contemplation are but theoretical concepts, unaffordable, and unrealistic.”
“We do not follow two inches behind the next car on the interstate–that would leave no margin for error. We do not allow only two minutes to change planes in Chicago–that would be foolish in the extreme. We do not load boats until they are nearly submerged–that would invite disaster. Why then do we insist on leaving no buffer, no space, no reserves in our day-to-day?”
If and when we lived this way…..hmmmm….we might find ourselves in a “marginless” lifestyle.
“Marginless is being thirty minutes late to the doctor’s office because you were twenty minutes late getting out of the hair-stylist’s because you were ten minutes late dropping the children off at school because the car ran out of gas two blocks from the gas station–and you forgot your wallet.”
HELLO…the last two paragraphs sound like a day in the life of Susie Mc. Yep, as precise as the airport in, this “marginless” lifestyle rings true. One of the last times I was in the airport, I was preparing to fly to Universal Studios in Orlando with my son Connor over spring break. I pushed my limit to the point I had just a small window of opportunity to make it to boarding a few minutes prior to my departure. The unexpected occurred. I had included in my on-board baggage my shampoo and make-up….In horror after my bag was scanned and rejected at the first security check, I was forced to return to baggage claim. Racing at marathon speed with a forehead of sweat, and a child waiting anxiously in security, I promised myself I would never allow myself such a “marginless” experience ever again while traveling.
Truly, I don’t believe I am the only person who lives beyond the threshold of human limits. I push the envelope with my “Type A” personality and schedule….(some folks call me the cruise director)…and I find myself frantically living by a stopwatch of which I usually beat….. I am too stubborn to accept anything less than a perfectly timed schedule in this time-clock of life. The result at times leaves me physically, emotionally, and spiritually depleted. A night sleep of eight hours or more is a rarity in my life. In fact, I am lucky to sleep a full six hours. There’s just too much to do. Agreeing with Swenson, “We have too much technology, complexity, traffic, information, possessions, debt, expectations, advertisements, and media.”
The good news is that even though I have limits, my Father knows NO limits. His most beautiful expressions are accomplished in the face of our mortal limits. What a wonderful confirmation. Yet, we continue to run this rat race as if our life depended on it.
It’s remarkable to me that the invention of brilliant time-saving devices that have been developed within previous years were designed to make life easier and more efficient. The hurry and tension have only increased…….with no future confidence of diminishing.
In this day of independence, many of us operate in this “out of control” frenzy to complete activities and commitments due to the overwhelming amount of choices and decisions that are at the forefront of each day.
Honestly, there’s only one answer to this chaos. My answer is time with the Savior…. Not just time, but quality time, and time that begins each day. I find that when I carve a few minutes to talk and listen to Jesus at the beginning of each day….when I study the Word without speed-reading….when I take a minute to meditate….to listen….my day runs smoother than I could ever fathom on my own resources in this human tent. It never fails, when I put God off….I am stressed out. Isn’t distraction the Enemy’s most crafty tool in this generation?
Sure…we are all busy….BUT how many of us can be busy–a good busy–and still maintain the peace that transcends all understanding? A peace that transcends all understanding is ours to claim in the presence of God……when we are fully aware of His Sovereign authority in not only the BIG decisions in our lives…but in the day to day choices. Christ is the key to defending ourselves from the anxiety driven lifestyle that only becomes chaos when we give it the power to transform into such madness. The real POWER in Christ sets us free! He is there to direct our every step. And, when He’s in charge, we can have the confidence that all will be well.
He not only wants to partner with us, He wants to carry us from deadline to deadline….because HE IS OUR LIFELINE!! And, He is also our TIME SAVER SAVIOR, because supernaturally–the unorganized becomes beautifully ordered. We can only stay organized, focused, and balanced in the midst of the supernatural force of the Holy Spirit. I am convinced that no matter how many lists I create, no matter how much I think I have it together….it all falls apart without Him as the Manager of my business. Otherwise, I am living in a negative margin…..which leaves me restless, stressed out, and simply miserable.
LET GOD SET YOUR MARGIN!
SEIZE THE DAY…
BY FIRST COMMUNING WITH THE MASTER MINUTE MANAGER!
RESULT ..YOU WILL LOVE LIFE!