I’ll never forget my 9th grade Bible teacher. He will probably read this, but I think he realizes his long-term impact on my life but how his guidelines drove us crazy back then. On the first day of class, he gave us rules no other teacher had given. We were told we could only use black pen, write only on the front side of the paper, and stay within the margins. I resented it initially, but I realized he was teaching us some important things about order.
Margin is about so much more than paper. God gives us margins in life. Boundaries. When God gives these, it’s because he cares for us. God is not the cosmic killjoy who wants to burden us with rules. He knows we need guidelines so we can fully enjoy the abundant life without burdening ourselves when we go outside the lines.
I am learning a lot about this these days. Life was much easier when I was serving full-time in a church, and that was my only job. I only had 3 kids at the time, and I wasn’t stretched nearly as thin. I am now bivocational. I work a full-time job for a non-profit ministry plus serve as an interim worship leader. I have over double the kids, and time management is a lot harder. I spend a lot of time on the road now, and “exhausted” seems to be the theme of my life.
What do I need? Margin! Some things need to be excluded from my life. Rather than allowing stress to motivate all my choices like a strong diet of caffeine and sugar, I must make healthier choices. Exercise, quiet time with God, and lighthearted things I enjoy are better choices than mindlessly scrolling through my phone. At the end of the day, it’s about stewardship – properly managing the time, talents, and treasures God has allowed me to use. It takes work, but it’s better to do the work on the front end than burn at both ends.
Are you like me, pushing through life, trying to keep your head above water? What actions steps do you plan to take to change your situation? After a very exhausting week, I am choosing to rest today. I am focusing on some things I enjoy. I am choosing to hydrate myself with water and back off some on the caffeine. I will enjoy celebrating my son’s 5th birthday. At the end of the day, I want to smile and say, “Thank You, Lord” before I enjoy a good night of sleep. Here’s to the beginning of a better chapter of my life, staying within the lines!
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