The Mystery of Margins

ephesians-1-cambridge-wide-margin-kjv-by-j-mark-bertrand1I can fill up my day to the edges too easily and am prone to do so. My husband has been a counterweight to my “yes” habit. “Are you sure you have time for that, too?” he’ll ask when he sees me formatting the margins to ½ inch or less.

Since March of this past year, I’ve created extra time and space in my life. The word to everyone when they asked me to do something was, “No, I can’t.” I felt led to do this. Some people might think I fell off the page, but if anything, God has kept me from falling off the page with the margins I created—1 ½ inch margins.

Most of my life I’ve been ruled by lists, goals, strategies for success, and resolutions. Sometimes they work. I’d be lying if I didn’t find my calendar, goals, and lists helpful. I will always keep track of appointments. It’s wise and kind to others, and I’m forgetful. The problem comes for me when I fill my day to the edges, push God out, and erase the possibility that God might want to rearrange my day in some way. It comes when I don’t leave room for the mystery that happens in margins.

Jesus created margin in his life. He arose early to be alone. He went off by himself for forty days to fast before he began his three and a half year, world-changing ministry. His effectiveness in many ways was grounded in his margin. Margin created time to hear from his Father and room to respond when traveling the daily path of obedience. “I only say and do what the Father tells me to do and say,” he said. (John 5:19, John 8:28)

The disciples witnessed him rising early to be with his Father in the mornings or walking off at the end of a busy day for reflection and prayer. There was an assumption that his powerful ministry flowed from his time alone with God in prayer. “Teach us to pray,” the disciples asked him.

Margin (not booking every waking minute with something to do) allows me to be more flexible, too. I can maneuver with the extra space. I can go visit a sick friend, spend thirty minutes on the phone with someone facing a crisis, or if I’m Jesus, stop to heal a blind man on the side of the road or take a detour to raise a young woman from the dead.

There is mystery in margin, especially if I spend part of it waiting for God in prayer to direct and teach me throughout the day. It replenishes, changes my rhythm, gives space in which to see and hear, and I believe it makes me more effective than if I try to organize my life to the edges.

“Be still and know that I am God (Psalm 146:10).”  “In repentance and rest you will be saved, in quietness and trust is your strength. But you were not willing (Isaiah 30:15).” “I rise before dawn and cry for help; I wait for Your words (Psalm 119:147).”

With margin, I can wait with expectation for the mystery of divine grace to show up: in Scripture, divine appointments, direction, answered prayers and a growing relationship with God.

This entry was posted in Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to The Mystery of Margins

  1. Cindy Ragland says:

    Thank you for reminding me about margins in my own life….the mystery of margins…I love it! Am so glad that you’re experiencing His presence daily!!!
    Love you, sis!

  2. Oh…this is wonderful! I am constantly needing this reminder…constantly in the process of slowly growing into this at least with more longing if not the outward sings of it. This is so beautifully written…feels like a short publishable reflection/devotional piece…ready for the press!

  3. Jon David says:

    I loved sitting down with you over Christmas and observing some of your reflection as you kicked around your decision to “leave a little more room” for the observance of God at work in you. This season of life, for me, is a little more about trying to hear Him amidst the noise. Isaiah 30:15. I have to begin repeating that passage to myself daily. Thanks for writing this blog. I read every update as soon as I get the e-mail alerts.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s