Lisa Santelli, GFC Lutz
A few months ago, I hit a wall. From work, travel, ministry, and fun, it was jam-packed goodness. Running full throttle with little breathing room. But, months before, a couple friends reached out to let me know they would be in the area during one of my busiest weeks. Knowing my calendar was already planned to the max, adding them in wasn’t leaving any recovery time. Fast forward to the day we were supposed to get together and complete exhaustion struck. Talking to one of my besties that morning, she sensed my fast fading, convincing me to cancel with my friends. My soul felt sad tension. At that moment of disappointment, I realized, I left no room for margin.
In the printing and graphics world, we deal with margins and bleeds. The margin references the border around the design. The bleed refers to the design going to the full perimeter of the page. Increase the margin and you get a larger border. And, if it “bleeds”, the design runs all the way to the edge.
Too many of us are living on the edge…and possibly bleeding out. We have decreased our border by reducing the marginal space in our lives. We think we can do it all. We are pouring into everything and everyone around us, filling up all the spaces, but forgetting to fill ourselves back up.
Creating margin in our lives is different than practicing Sabbath rest and different than our daily time in God’s word. A Sabbath is sacred time surrendered to God with the intent of drawing closer in relationship to Him. Adding margin sets up boundaries focused on our relationship with ourselves and others. It could be creative space, reading a book, exercise, or coffee with a friend. Or, maybe, just a really long nap. This is not selfish. It is self-care, which is both healing and refreshing. Both Sabbath and margins should be scheduled and protected times.
Just a couple weeks ago, still in a busy season, I was presented with multiple opportunities to serve, and I needed to make decisions. I wanted to help with it all but, I felt God pulling me back. One opportunity was a two-day event. As I showed up for the second day only, a sweet, spiritual mama gave me a hug and said, “I missed you yesterday. Where were you?” My response, “I needed some margin.” God showed up that day both to minister to me and through me. Leaning into His “yes” and “no” always brings spiritual blessings. We undervalue the right to say “no”, but it makes our “yes” so much more impactful when it’s guided by the Spirit.
Proverbs 4:23 says, Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it. By adding margin to our lives, we are creating a boundaries around our hearts. We are declaring our time is sacred, allowing ourselves to rest, reset, and reevaluate all that flows through it. Inviting the Holy Spirit into these moments provides greater peace and strength so we are equipped for all God has for us.
Last, it would be amiss not to address the opposite which is having too much margin. Some may have a lot of extra time and are hesitant to step out. Maybe through the pandemic, what started out as some hibernation has turned into full-blown isolation. I want to challenge you to step out of your comfort zone. Sign up for something new. Show up to serve. Invite a friend to coffee. We aren’t made to do this life alone.
Lord, release the pressure of this world that makes us feel we must show up and do it all. Give us wisdom and clarity in the assignments You have planned for us. May we lean in and be obedient to both the “yes” and the “no” of Your will for us. Order our steps. Remove any guilt from the things we are willing to do and think we should do. Instead, fill us with Your peace and strength. Create boundaries around our hearts, our time, and our relationships. Refresh us mentally, physically, and spiritually. Let Your beautiful light shine brightly on us and through us. Let us feel Your love and grace. In Jesus name, Amen.