“Suppose our failures occur, not in spite of what we are doing, but precisely because of it.”
Margin. Have you ever thought that maybe you’re doing too much?
Everyday I get up, pack the kids lunches, get ready for work, drive to work, work-work-work, and then come home. If you are a parent, you may, like me, have your kids in activities like sports, music, or something else. Driven by the need to feel like I’m being a good parent and having a genuine heart of love for my kids, we take them to these activities that take up an additional couple hours every evening and then we come home, eat, watch tv, and go to bed.
Does this sound like the routine that you are on? Your weekends are packed with more stuff to do, kids sporting activities, football and baseball games to watch, house projects to complete, and even church or some other social institution to attend. In the midst of all this activity, you find yourself feeling lost, weary, overly burdened with work and responsibility, and little time to play.
This week I asked some friends of mine to keep me accountable to play more. I will not tell you some of the comments I got after I sent out that text message to a group of guys. But I do believe we live caught in a two way conundrum. On the one hand we have obligations, responsibilities, and needs that we have to take care of. On the other hand we have to let go of our incessant need to control and arrange for ourselves the kind of life that we feel we are entitled to.
This failure to realize that we are not ultimate, that all things in our life are not dependent upon our ability to keep things together, and that we are not “God” is what I want to challenge you with today.
As in everything, you really have to make changes in your life if you want a different life.
Here are four changes you can make to hit the pause button and begin creating margin in your life.
- Get serious about your inner dialogue. Everything begins with leading yourself first. We are, spiritually, mentally, emotionally, and physically, who we decide to become and who we decide to tell ourselves we are. What you tell yourself about yourself will affect the way you live. I like to read an excerpt from “The Message” Bible everyday. Following the stories of Jesus in the Gospels is a great way to get an idea of how to live your own life. Remember, Jesus is the model. We are the apprentices.
- Get up earlier. Disciplining yourself to begin your day earlier will do two things. First it will give you a couple of extra hours to plan out and prepare mentally for your day. Second, it will serve to calibrate your soul for the onslaught of emails, phone calls, conversations, and activities that fill your day up. Set your alarm a little earlier each day until you reach your target time. But do it so you can begin creating something better for your life.
- Buy a day planner. You can get a good day planner from Target for about $10-15. Write down your daily activities. Plan out your week in advance. Create margin in your planner for yourself.
- Take a day off. There is more to be written about “Sabbath” rest and what it does for your soul. But remember that you are not the one spinning the world around each day. You aren’t God, nor were you created to act like him in this manner. Take one day a week to recharge, pray, and play. This is built into the fabric of who you are as a human being. If you can’t take off a whole day at the start, at least shoot for 1/2 a day. It will be the start of something you won’t regret. And you just might live a little longer because of it!
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What other ways can you hit the pause button on your life and begin creating margin? I’d love to hear from you! We need ideas and inspiration to get ourselves out of being soulstuck.
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