It is funny that I am taking about margin when this week I have felt that I have had none. What is margin? Margin is leaving a little bit of room all around your paper or in the case of life living a bit of room to just be. Our culture would have us running from one thing to another with barely time to breathe. This weekend was one of those for us. So much so that my DH suggest we create margin and not go to our class tonight. Now our class is really good and I am sure we will miss some good stuff but tonight we needed margin. It is nice. I have clean clothes, papers graded, and a clean kitchen to start off the week.
This year I have enjoyed listening to different podcasts when I am walking or driving. One preacher I like to listen to is Andy Stanley from Northpoint in Atlanta. Two challenges that he has talked about in his sermons I have been working on this year. I am not successful in either but am see progress periodically. The first is margin in relation to work. His challenge is to see what are you good at and what does your work specifically need you to do and be good at. Also what are you doing that you don't need to be doing? This semester I have not been as stressed as last semester. 1. I do all my planning at school and it is helping I am now able to reuse material from last year. 2. I am making my papers easier to grade so I am more efficient in grading. 3. I am setting boundaries with my students and am not accepting late work like I did before. I still bring work home but not as much which has given me more time for my family and getting our family ready for our new adventure in the coming future. It is not a perfect system but getting better.
The other challenge is taken from Nehemiah. He was asked by Sanballet, the bad guy of the story, and his friends to met them in a field to discuss some things. Nehemiah 6:3 is his response. He says "I am doing a great work and I cannot come down." Right now my great work is my family and our preparation for missions. It gives me a standard to help me say no to those things that are not good for our family at this time. Some weeks we do a good job and other weeks like this past one not so good.
Right now I need margin more than ever. It is in margin that I have time to sit at Jesus' feet. It is in margin that you have time to cuddle and read with your kids. It is in margin where we are still enough to hear God's voice. It is in margin where relationships grow. Even Jesus had margin when he went away to pray and or withdrew with just his disciples.
Dear God, Thank you for the time you have given me each day. Thank you that you have given me enough time to do the things I need to do. Help me to make wise choices on what to do and what not to do. May time with you be a priority. Amen