You shouldn’t have to wait to hear it until I reach perfection in my own life. That’s not going to happen this side of heaven.
So, for the next few posts, I’m going to share about the importance of margins. They are important in every area of life, for our health and well being. Our society and human nature doesn’t teach us these things, but God’s Word is full of the wisdom of margins – what they are, why we need them, and how to put them in place.
When you hear the word margins (not margarine, which would be a substitute for butter), you probably picture a piece of notebook paper. The pink line on the left and white spaces at the top, right, and bottom are visual parameters for writing. These margins are guides. On paper, as well as in life, some people welcome these cues and others refuse to acknowledge or submit to them.
Why do we need margins?
Beauty and Clarity
From my years as a home school and private school teacher, I can tell you, margins are important for several reasons. School papers with words neatly contained within the margins are attractive, easy to read, and allow space for the teacher to make comments and corrections. It doesn’t matter how impressive the writing is, if the words span from edge to edge with added thoughts scribbled in all directions. Especially if there are no paragraph breaks. Reading a paper like this is like trying to listen to a person who talks at lightning speed without ever pausing for breath.
Margins are a beautiful thing.
People who live within healthy margins are beautiful too. Their lives are attractive, uncluttered, and have space to receive compliments, as well as correction and ideas for improvement. They give themselves room to breathe. When I’m around people like this, I feel like I have space to breathe too.
There’s another reason for margins as well.
Health and Safety
Margins are not only beautiful, many times they’re critical. I love walking the little back roads around our house, but I have to be vigilant, because in most places there are no sidewalks or shoulders for pedestrians. The road simply drops off into the ditch, a tangle of blackberry bushes, or an electric fence holding fields of curious milk cows. I remember the day I heard a car speed around a blind corner toward me. The driver swerved too far when he saw me, hit the gravel on the other side, over corrected, then headed back to the ditch where I had leaped for safety. I felt the wind from his car just inches away as he sped past me down the road.
Many of us, and I’m preaching to myself first here, are like this car – careening down the road with no margins, over correcting, endangering ourselves and others in the process. Every time I get sick, and it’s been more often than I want to admit in recent years, my husband, family members, and best friends ask, “Do you think God’s trying to get you to slow down?” The answer, of course, is yes. So I’ve been asking Him what changes I need to make in life to establish better margins and He’s given me a lot to think about…and put into practice.
I hope you’ll join me for this series on margins and see what God might say to you too. Then, as we listen and apply what He tells us, we can begin to add more breathing space in the following areas of our lives.
· Money Matters
· Family Life
· Physical Wellness
· Thoughts and Emotions
· Spiritual Vitality and Ministry