Breathing Room

I tend to run in the red zone. This means that I try to squeeze the most out of my time, energy, money, talents & attention. Generally, I’ve thought this has been a good way to do life. If a person wants to achieve a lot, suck out the marrow of life & choke on the bone, maybe even burn out, then FULL CHARGE ON!!!

But I’m beginning to see the importance of margin, or breathing room. Margin gives us space to think, recover, listen & be with the Holy Spirit. If you think about it, Adam’s first day of existence was God’s day of rest. Perhaps it’s in the margins & rest where we can experience the deepest intimacy & fellowship with the Holy Spirit, just maybe 🙂

margin

I’m writing this post as a total hypocrite on this topic because I’m currently the absolute WORST at this, but the topic of margin is nevertheless really important.  When my kids write out a long paragraph, it helps me heaps when they leave some space around their writing so my eyes can get a break from the deciphering exercise 🙂

I think this is also true with our daily living.  When we pack each day to the uttmost with events, activities, appointments, responsibilities, demands, etc then it gets difficult to:

  • see where we’re going & ultimately achieve goals that are genuinely important
  • rest – even our sleep becomes fitful
  • listen – the clutter of an overfull life can easily drown out the still small voice from God that we so desperately need
  • be present & our relationships move into shallow mode – sometimes necessary but not healthy for the longterm
  • remain healthy

Dear Sarah, please keep some margins in your life 🙂

pause

When I was growing up, we used the Big Chief red note pads to learn how to write.  I still remember that dingy paper & the giant lines in which I was supposed to keep my writing (good luck).  When I started using the regular white lined paper, I remember thinking that it seemed like they wasted alot of space on the sides because the Big Chief paper didn’t have the red line on the left – margin.  As I continued to refine my writing skills, I started writing smaller & smaller so that I could get more stuff on the page – at one point, my teacher probably needed a microscope to read my writing.

So here are some thoughts on space & time:

  • margins create clarity – when we try to squeeze everything into a small space or time, everything can get blurry and confusing really fast
  • while we are designed to be productive and to achieve things, it’s important to maintain balance between workload and breathing room
  • rest and escape aren’t the same thing
  • rest can be a form of trusting God 🙂

This post is hypocritical

I’m presently riding home from a brief but very nice mini-vacation in the mountains with my husband. We had a lovely time relaxing, reading & hiking. This get-away has reminded me of the importance of having margins in our lives. My problem is that I tend to run my life in the red zone & squeeze in just “one more thing.”.
So here’s my “do as I say & not as I do” advice for those of us who do life in the red zone: there’s lots of good wisdom with God’s commandment to remember the Sabbath. Making intentional time each week to pause, listen & re-group can help create those essential margins we need to keep from the general engine failure that happens from red zone living 🙂

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