Do you have time to do the things you really want? Are you living the life you feel you were called to? Who really is? A recent survey of the top 5 regrets people have on their deathbeds reports that their number one regret is that they hadn’t had the courage to live a life true to themselves. They lived the life others expected of them. What a tragedy!
Dr. Richard Swenson, in his book Margin reveals insight into the space that exists between our limits and our self. Imagine it as the space around the edge of the pages of a book. It’s the little bit extra. Margin is a great book for anyone who is looking for: good health, financial stability, fulfilling relationships and God’s purpose.
Swenson outlines the unexamined problem of pain that is prevalent in all of us when we live life at the boundaries of ourselves. Next he discusses the prescription: Margin. He ends by telling us how to achieve all those things through contentment, simplicity, balance and rest.
Sound too good to be true? I have seen it work! Margin offers seventy-five practical ideas for restoring margin in the essential areas of emotional and physical energy, time and finances. Margin gives back what culture is taking away: time to listen, strength to care, and space to love.
How often do you answer the question, “How are you?” with the answer, “Busy!”
If you are a Christian, you know you are in a cosmic battle for the margin in your life. I can’t help but think, busy = “Buried Under Satan’s Yoke.”
What are we so busy doing? Many of us are leading lives dedicated to others without any time or space or “margin.” We are often at our limits with no reserves: physical, emotional, financial or spiritual. We have nothing available for contingencies of any kind and often with no contentment. We are, quite simply, overloaded. Overload is not something we see in the mirror. None of us like to think there are limits to what we can accomplish and most often don’t see ourselves as being overloaded. But overload shows up – disguised as relational, financial and physical crisis.
Take a look at this graph. In ten areas of our life (career, education, family, emotions, church, nutrition, service, exercise, rest, community), it illustrates that for most of us, ‘career’ has reached the highest degree of excellence. This is great until we notice that it comes at a price. Family, Church and Rest are being sacrificed for the successful career! Is it worth the price? I think NOT!
The book doesn’t leave us there. Swenson aptly shows how to bring all ten areas into positive territory by learning how to apply margin into our lives.
Margin is essential if we want to get to the end of our lives with no regrets!
Attitude: Be courageous and accept that we all have limits to live within.
Action: Renew your mind by meditating on Job 14:5
“A person’s days are determined; you have decreed the number of his months and have set limits he cannot exceed.”
Recommended Resource: Dr. Richard Swenson. 2004. Margin: Restoring Emotional, Physical, Financial and Time Reserves to Overloaded Lives. NavPress. (Kindle edition).