The Essence of Margin

Right now, I feel like I live in a world of no margin. The cold I caught last week left me bedridden. Going to a friend’s house for dinner two weeks ago took a week to recover from. Walking once around the block yesterday meant I was in so much pain I had trouble sleeping last night. This is not a pity-party nor is it a bid for a pep talk. I’m just stating the reality of my life at this point. My husband and I often find ourselves frantically trying to find a way to make some margin in our lives. Margin enough that I could go to church would be amazing. Or even just visit with friends occasionally. It’s amazing how small one’s world gets when one is chronically ill.

The irony is that margin is often like happiness–the more you chase it, the less you have.

I’m working my way through Kelly Minter’s “What Love Is: The Letters of 1, 2, 3 John” Bible study right now, and this morning this question caught my eye: “How would your social media presence change if what you posted was meant to love others versus promoting your pride, position, accomplishments?” That question reminded me of what I think true margin is–being full enough with God that you can overflow love.

It’s easy to think that my life would have more margin if I were physically healthier (and I probably would in many ways), but that’s because I so often forget what true margin looks like. I forget to start with the “big rocks” in my life: Am I abiding in Christ? Am so full of God’s love that it overflows out of me?

It’d be nice to be healthy enough that I could stop feeling exhausted all the time. I can’t tell you how Shangri-La that sounds right now! However, even if I were healthy, I would still feel like I didn’t have margin if I’m not working on the important things. Basically, I was reminded to stop pining after the things that won’t matter long-term and to refocus on finding margin in the things that are eternal.

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