I got a mid-week break away from work this week to go on a course. The paper provided for notes (pictured above!) had the slogan ‘Left blank for your brilliance’

I don’t often exude brilliance but I liked the concept of leaving space- making space & creating margin!

I reflected how just before Easter I’d caused avoidable stress in my life again as I hadn’t left any margins.

With daily work, end of year deadlines & commitments life felt crammed to the edges. With exploding, expanding to-do lists, and all the must-do, & feel-we-should-do things, there was no space,no margins on the page in the book called life!

But, the Author of Life designed our life-pages to have margins- space around the edges, after the gotta-dos! We’re not meant to be crammed full of activity, that runs over the edge (& can drive us to the edge & beyond if we’re not careful!)

Holly Gerth blogged about margin.She spoke of school days when notebook margins were filled with doodles. It brought back memories of doodling swirly lines, flowers & hearts in the margins of school notebooks (especially in French class!)

Holley wrote ‘The margins of life are the playground of the souls’

I love that idea!

Holly continued, ‘In spaces where there is less, we discover more of what we really need for all we are, for all we do’

‘Margin is the space between our load and our limits’ (Richard A Swenson)

We need to manage our load on the daily grind before we reach our limit. We need to lookout for ourselves.

For ‘Self-care means giving the world the best of you instead of what is left of you’ (Katy Reed)

When Tony Horsfall spoke at New Horizons he stressed the importance of building margin into our lives. He mentioned a book by Richard A. Swenson entitled ‘Margin: Restoring emotional,physical, financial & time reserves to overloaded lives’

Overloaded lives’- I’m sure that phrase strikes a chord with more than just me! A review of the book on Amazon, describes it as a book that ‘teaches you to live life as Jesus lived’ Certainly, Jesus lived life at an unhurried pace-despite all He knew He had to accomplish. He desires that same serenity for us too.

Jesus said “Come to Me, all you who are weary and burdened and I will give you rest.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”(Matt 11:28-30-MSG)

Read those soothing verses again, slowly!

In the middle of our rush and busyness, what is God trying to say? If we can pause long enough to hear His voice in our hectic schedule, He says, “Be still” (Psalm 46:10) – or as the Message puts it- “Step out of the traffic!” Get off the motorway, onto the B road, the scenic route, the road less travelled. Stop and look around! Smell the roses! Watch the sunset! Gaze at the stars! Kick some leaves! Have a mellow coffee with a friend! Take the kids to the beach! Seize the day! Celebrate the moment! This is your life- not a dress rehearsal!

No-one is going to get to the end of their life and wish that they had sent more e-mails, attended more meetings, made more phone calls. So, take a deep breath and slow down– don’t let what seems urgent rob you of what is really important.

God says, “Be still and know that I am God”. It’s in the quiet space, the margins of life that we can connect with God.The Psalms are punctuated by the word ‘Selah’, or ‘Interlude’ as the Message translates it. We need to punctuate our life with interludes,margins & new paragraphs, of quiet pauses with God.

‘Step out of the traffic! Take a long, loving look at Me, your High God above everything’ (Psalm 46:10 – The Message)

‘We have to slow the rhythm of rush in our lives so that the best of who are can emerge.’ (Lysa Terkeurst)

‘Make time for the quiet moments as God whispers & the world is loud’ (Jennifer Rothschild)

‘Creating space for my soul to breathe is about respecting the daily pauses I need to be fully myself so that I can be present with God and faithful in my home, my work, and my community.’ (Emily P Freeman)

Maybe at the start of another new week, we need to do something we may not have done since primary school- take out a (metaphorical) ruler & pencil to create a margin on the pages of this week!

How do we create space & make margin?

For me,

*Getting up early in the morning creates space.

*Aiming to be efficient rather than just busy

*Creating boundaries between home & work. My work laptop no longer comes home with me

* Making personal decisions- for ‘All change begins with a choice’ (Michael Hyatt) We can’t do everything- we can choose what’s important to us. ‘Every time we say NO to something that is not important, we are saying YES to something that is.’
(Michael Hyatt)

*Planning ahead- making margin in the week for family time. Margin each week to rest. The idea of Sabbath – the weekly rhythm of rest is as old as the world itself. The Designer of life knew His creatures need margin.

What does margin create space for me?

*Chair time – engaging with God in His Word

*Coffee time with Rob – making time to chat about the day

*Reading – even a few pages- especially fiction

*Watching the sunset

*Running- to clear my mind.

*Writing – Contemplate et contemplata aliis tradere ie time to contemplate & pass on the things contemplated.

The Cambridge dictionary defines margin as the amount by which one thing is different from another. We are all created to be unique. Each of our margins will be different.

What will your margin look like?

The white space in our life is where the magic happens. (No sidebar)

Read more at ‘10 things I do to add margin to my life’ & ‘Reclaiming margin: Why it’s important’


Ruth x

PS you may also like:

Empty cup

Frazzled All The Time?

Memos to myself

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