I’m so excited to have my friend and fellow blogger Bobi Ann Allen guest post today. And I love this post! It’s so refreshing and I SO NEED MARGIN right now. Find her work at http://bobiann.com/.
Even as you read this post, you are experiencing margin.
Margin is the space on either side of the print with nothing–nothing but white. Space where you might add an occasional note or pause to absorb what you read. Margin isn’t necessary only in publishing, margin is necessary for contentment in our lives.
Are you experiencing an angst for something more? Are you longing for room for your soul to rest yet nothing about your schedule is relaxing? The ache you feel isn’t there by coincidence.
God is drawing you in. He placed a yearning within you for a life lived with meaning and purpose. Yet, many of us have overfilled our lives to the point we don’t have time to experience purposeful living.
We need empty space, room for God to move, and time to process what we’re experiencing and learning. Those who live without margin are overwhelmed, maxed out and usually in need of therapy!
Creating margin when your life seems to be running off the page doesn’t happen without intentionality and deliberate choices.
Here are 3 effective ways to create margin:
- Prioritize Effectively
Run on the treadmill, read my Bible, a night out with the girls, clean the house, feed the dog, volunteer at my child’s school, date my husband … so many choices on how to spend my time, and all of them good! But I can’t do them all … so how do I choose? How do I prioritize my life without losing my mind?
Here’s the definition of priority:
plural noun: priorities
a thing that is regarded as more important than another.
I could not love that definition more! In my all-consuming world of conflicting demands, how do I decide what to tackle first, second and third? I need to think about the importance of each demand and opportunity.
What are your priorities?
Our priorities are usually apparent in two ways: our schedule and our spending. Look at your calendar and your bank account for the last month. Does it reflect the priorities you long to live.
Take a minute to consider what your priorities look like and how you would like them to be different. After pinpointing your present priorities, you might consider checking out these 3 questions to ask when setting priorities.
- Intentionally Decline
What is it that moves you? You know the deep-down passion wrenching your soul? When you discover your passion, you find a resting place for your “yes.”
Every “yes” not aligned with your priorities and passions is a “no” to the most vital use of your time and energy.
Has an overused “yes” led to an overcrowded life?
Guard your “yes.” Reserve your “yes” for what stirs your heart and fuels your priorities. A misaligned “yes” clutters your margin and distracts you from your purpose.
Choose NO. You have permission to not do it all. Reality says, it may not get done if you don’t do it. However, if you are faithfully walking with God and running your “yes’s” and your “no’s” by Him, take a deep breath and enjoy a new rhythm of rest. Not everything has to be done BY YOU.
- Simplify Expertly
An oversaturated life comes as a result of an overwhelming number of choices. From the shelves of the grocery store to the channels on the television. We live lives inundated with options.
Because of the enormity of options available (and sometimes even the means to obtain all the options), we have overstuffed our shelves, our closets, our schedules and our hearts.
Over-indulgence does not create margin.
It is counter to the norm of our western culture to choose less when we can have more.
However, consider for a moment the condition of our culture. Does excess work? Has over-indulgence satisfied our society?
Choose to live simply. Reject the false promise of fulfillment brought on by a lack of restraint. Make a conscious decision to purge what you don’t need and filter your consumption through your priorities. Don’t forget to check out the 3 Questions To Ask When Setting Priorities.
Creating margin isn’t normal. It sets you apart. Living set apart and in agreement with God’s purpose and assignment for your life honors God and satisfies your deepest longings.