Our most favorite times as a family are our unstructured, unplugged downtime - our margin. These times, we believe, are the reason our little ones have experienced such healing and the reason our teenagers love being at home. We sit squeezed on the couch and talk, laugh, think and pray or sit around the table well after dinner is over and plan, laugh or play World Championship Indoor Chickenfoot Tourneys. The common denominator in those cherished moments is that we have taken the time to unplug from the world, turn everything off and laugh a lot!
So often we are too busy and distracted to see what is sitting right in front of us. It's so easy to become sinfully distracted and busy. A while back we realized we were stretched too thin and repented of busyness, constant noise, and distractions. What we needed was a strict regimen of lifestyle changes which helped us cultivate margin in our bodies, our souls, our calendars, and our budgets. This called for discipline and intentionality. What a blessing it has been to just engage our kids, and each other. We unplug - phones off - TV off - computer off - so that we can be fully where we are.
One of the problems we found was that with all these new, wonderful instant modes of communication comes as expectation of instant responses. As most of you know, oftentimes, we don't respond immediately to text, emails, or voice mails. :) Now you know what we are probably doing.......nothing. As adults we are expected to work, raise godly kids, do Bible studies, be successful, maintain our home, relationships, social engagements, laundry, and a good marriage. And do all with excellence. We are expected to be omni-competent but being spread too thin we wind up doing very little with excellence. Jesus didn't heal everyone. We've accepted that we probably won't answer every voicemail. If we get to it we get to it.
We desperately needed margin. In the book Margin: Restoring Emotional, Physical, Financial, and Time Reserves to Overloaded Lives author Richard Swenson M.D. says, "Margin is the space between our load and our limits. It is the amount allowed beyond that which is needed. It is something held in reserve for contingencies or unanticipated situations. The space between breathing freely and suffocating."
Jesus could have preached one more sermon, or healed one more person but in Matthew 26 he stops and retreats to be with the Father. Do you always need a distraction? Background noise? If you feel like your soul is suffocating, you need space. You need margin.
This is our margin.