My husband's schedule was full of travel, meetings, and rehearsals. Our daughters were experiencing the same busyness. Our youngest was moving to a new house, helping her fiance get ready for a long deployment, along with treating cancer patients. Our oldest was on the run, juggling motherhood, a demanding sales job, and marriage.
I suspect that your week may have been similar. It seems our days are crammed with activity, which in the end isn't great for our health or quality of life. Symptoms of overload include: irritabililty, forgetfulness, inability to focus on a task, headaches, and the knot in the back of your neck.
We weren't designed to live this way. Our physical health suffers, as does our emotional and spiritual health. Richard Swenson, M.D. in his book, "Margin: Restoring Emotional, Physical, Financial, and Time Reserves to Overloaded Lives" says, "Marginless is fatigue; margin is energy. Marginless is red ink; margin is black ink. Marginless is hurry; margin is calm. Marginless is anxiety; margin is security. Marginless is culture; margin is counterculture."
All of us will experience overload at some time in our lives. It could be a health issue, work schedule, or a host of other things. However overload shouldn't be where we live. We need to build in reserves or margin in our lives. That way we'll be ready for those marginless times of life. But if we live marginless, we'll have no reserves to draw from when we really need them. Swenson's diagnosis and prescription are as follows:
- Symptom: Pain
- Diagnosis: Overload
- Prescription: Margin
- Prognosis: Health
"Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls." (Matthew 11:28-29)
Much of restoring margin and sanity to our lives has to do with priorities. Jesus has much to say on that topic and you'll find it all in The Sermon on the Mount in Matthew 5 and 6. Building margin has much more to do with trusting God and much less on our own efforts.
"So don't worry about these things, saying, 'What will we eat? What will we drink? What will we wear?' These things dominate the thoughts of unbelievers, but your heavenly Father already knows all your needs. Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need." (Matthew 6:31-33)Be countercultural this week. Get yourself some margin--some breathing space. May He give you everything you need, and give you rest.