This morning as I was laying in bed sipping on my coffee, feeling the spring breeze blow through the window, listening to a morning dove, I found myself again savoring what I call the “margin” in my life.
Margin: To live in a rhythm that includes periods of productivity and periods of restoration and refreshment. Not to live with margin means you’re denying your God-given design to get regular rest.”
Discipleship Journal May/June 2009
It has not always been that way…
I (DM) grew up on 120 acre dairy farm, milked 18 Holstein dairy cows, twice a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. I am also a first-born. I got married when I was 21. Three years later we had two daughters. When I was 29, I decided to go back to school to pursue some classes in marriage and family counseling. Along came another daughter…and then a son. (In case you were not counting that made 4.) Working full time, going to school part-time, life was a blur. One day the high school youth group leader approached me with an offer….
“Doug, I think you would make a great high school leader.“ It was a 2 evening a week commitment minimum. I joined.
In addition, the church we were then attending had weekly Saturday work day construction projects. I went to every one.
Did I mention, I was also a hard-core people pleas-er? There was such a strong craving for people’s approval, I rarely said “NO” except to my wife.
Three years later (I was 31) things started to unravel….
Here’s the picture I posted in front of my desk :
You can be busy going nowhere….fast
My wife said to me something had to change. Through tears she told me she could no longer keep up the harried pace of our lives.
For a people pleaser like me, I did the hardest thing I could ever remember doing. I had to look several people in the eye and tell them I could no longer participate in those “good activities”
I stepped out of every commitment, everything!!!!!!!!!!
It was the best decision of my life.
A water shed moment, even though I didn’t realize it at the time.
As I attempted to point my life in a new and different direction, I felt like the captain of a large oil tanker, trying to make a u turn.
God used two books @ the time to help me get my bearings…
Would highly recommend both.
Flash forward 25 years…
I’m still busy… there is still a “people pleasing bent in my life, but it does not control me. There is one person in particular in my life who don’t like me too much because I don’t cave in to his manipulative ways.
My life has margin.
I have to think long and hard before I add another “good thing” to my life.
So to my fellow, driven, tired, frustrated, and harried travelers on this journey called life here are some words, I regularly ponder.
They were written over 3000 years ago by a farmer/poet named David:
” It is vain that you rise up early, going late to bed, eating the bread of anxious toil…for the Lord gives to his beloved sleep (can also be translated, gives to his beloved even in his sleep”)
Update 3-8-2015 I wrote this last year for my farm blog. Long time reader/friends may remember it there. I’ve decided to move my more introspective stuff to this site. 😉 DM