Monday, April 19, 2010


Whenever I start a new document on my word processor, I notice how much margin is automatically set around the edges of the document. Margin - the empty space round the words. Usually, in order to save paper and "get it all on one page" I shrink the font and reduce the margin.


Dr. Richard Swenson, MD, wrote a couple of books about margin. I have benefited from them. Margin is the space we leave around our lives in order to have room to breathe, to live. 21st century North America believes that margin is bad and that all life must be crammed full. We need to do everything, miss no opportunity or experience and be busy all the time in order to really matter. We even wear as a badge of honor the answer to the question, "How are you?" "Busy." We overbook ourselves out of fear (I'll lose my job, You won't love me) or guilt (It's all up to me.) Marginlessness is a sickness unto death (literally, per Swenson.)


When Jesus says he wants us to have life in abundance, he means it. Regaining the margins in our life (if we truly do want to) requires listening to the Lord of our life. God tells us in Isaiah that, despite what we may think, he would never crush us. Any sailor knows that if we have 2 North Stars upon which to navigate life, we will always be lost. We can have but one. Jesus. Today, we probably are navigating by 20 North Stars. Dizzying. Rather than skipping church, prayer and scripture time (which is where we often vainly start in regaining margin,) we need to listen to the Master and follow him.


  • Take time for God each day, including church on Sunday. God is the only presence in your daily life that does not have mixed motives. He's for you!
  • Jesus shows us that it is all about healthy, deep relationships. Tend them first.
  • Meaningful work - find who you are and do it. A hobby, ministry or vocation. Work for satisfaction and not money. Trim your lifestyle if that has created a problem.
  • Take care of your body. Move around. Rest. Sleep. Cook a real meal.
  • Turn off the cell phone. Unplug the computer. We do not need to be accessible all the time. This is a recent phenomenon.

One great outcome of doing the above is that you will know when to say "No." Rather than saying "No" to those closest to you (we do this when we are marginless,) we will say it to the "margin eaters." Peace ensues.


Basically, Christ is calling us to be counter cultural, just as he was. And he's alive today. I pray you will be as well.


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