Pursuing Margin

Lately, I’ve been really busy. Like, really, really busy. I snapchatted a ton of my friends around 7pm one night with this face:

Definitely not one of my better looks. I don't wear exhaustion well.
Definitely not one of my better looks. I don’t wear exhaustion well.

The whole point of that was that I was working hard to get ahead on a few projects. I don’t think that I left the office that night until 10pm, but hey, I made some progress! That’s a good thing.

But as I’ve been working on settling in here, digging back into ministry and all the such (true settling in takes months and months), I’ve been struck by one thing.

I need margin in my life.

You know how books have margins? Yeah – it’s that blank space – with no words. I have a Bible with margins – in fact, these margins have a very dedicated purpose.

What lives in my margins. Also, my journaling Bible is my favorite thing ever.
What lives in my margins. Also, my journaling Bible is the best gift I have ever been given.

When I was reading my Bible this morning, this struck me:

Margins are where we make life application.

We’ve got to process. Life happens, right? It’s like the words on a page. Our busy days are filled with epic things (or mundane, depending on your point of view).

You’ve seen a student’s textbook, notes scribbled around the actual text, from where teachers have shared additional words.

We’ve all seen the well-marked Bible, where the cramped handwriting is hardly legible, yet the writer tends to know exactly what was written and intended. They’ve learned from that.

But margins exist for a reason.

In books, they are the blank spaces that we fill with additional notes. For those of you who wouldn’t dream of marking in books, it’s the battered notebook/note-taking app you’re using instead. In life, it’s the rare unspoken-for moments when we can take a step back. Process. Get silent. You know, actually be still and listen to God. 

I’ve done a terrible time about making margin in my life. I’ve been very quick to sacrifice the best for that which is good. Filling up my time has been easy; making sure that it was what God really intended for me to do has been tricky.

Life is so busy that by the time the end of the week rolls around, I’m exhausted. I’ve not left empty space in my life. No time to take the experiences that I’ve had an make something valuable of them in my life.

Without taking time to process them, my life is a series of events, one after the other. I’m not allowing myself to take time from them; to learn and grow. To become a better person from the experiences I’ve had, and be able to shape the lessons I’ve learned into something that I can pass on to others.

So there’s that. In the next few days, I plan to write another post about creating that margin, and what that looks like for me. What is making the cut; what’s going to the side. How that’s helping me.

Last question before I hit post:

How are you doing with margin in your life?

5 thoughts on “Pursuing Margin”

  1. I needed this today. I need to look at where I have my margins and what I am doing with them. I need to really reevaluate a lot of things I think overall.

  2. At a Bible study recently the leader recommended “Margin” by Richard Swenson. I’ve skimmed it and really it’s expounding Matthew 11:28 “Come unto Me all you who are weary and heavy laden and I will give you rest.” I have a hard time taking time to rest even though it is essential. Not just sleep. But rest. Sit there and reflect, absorb, meditate. Resting is hard. But it re-focuses, re-charges, and re-news me. And I find I can handle life’s curve balls more gracefully. And I enjoy life so much more.

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