Margin, overload and invitation


This past week I was preparing for our 101 class, reading back through “organizing our lives (and our time) around the kingdom of God.”


“Margin is the gap between rest and exhaustion, the space between breathing freely and suffocating.  Margin is the opposite of overload.  If we are overloaded, we have no margin.  If however, we are careful to avoid overloading, margin reappears.”  Dr Richard Swenson, Margin

It hit me, “Wow, I remember that.  That makes sense.  Oh, that’s what I’m experiencing right now, lack of margin…”

Think margin on the side of a page.  Margin is the space in our lives that God uses to bring renewal and refreshing.  Back in the day one aspect of margin was called “Sabbath” and God was quite serious about our need for it.  

Rest 1/7 of a week = happy.  

Anything less isn’t good.  The religious people got pretty uptight about just how it was observed and Jesus clarified (quite remarkably) “the Sabbath was made for man, and not man for the Sabbath.”  In other words it is a gift given by God, just for us.  And it wasn’t meant to be something to beat people up with or argue over what particular day it occurs on.  I think Jesus would be pretty happy if we observed  one of our seven days as a day of rest, more than whether we tried super hard to make sure it was Saturday (or Sunday).

Growing up in Kansas they had what was called the “blue law”  (Yep, back when we were riding horses to school).  Stores would close down on Sundays because of the blue law.  What a frustrating thing when you were trying to get stuff for Sunday dinner.  Thankfully it got repealed. 

Anyway, I’ve studied, taught and encouraged people re: margin and a day of rest. I’ve been pretty strong in guarding a day of rest in my own life.  But just this past week I realized the stress I was feeling was directly connected with lack of margin. It didn’t produce a feeling of guilt.  Actually it felt like an invitation; to pause.  And permission to enjoy Jesus.  Pretty cool!

I’m excited to see what is in store as we explore the teaching of Jesus together– this week we begin our new series on “finding happy” — a study in the Beatitudes.  

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