We are often spread thin with the many demands of life. And generally this is manageable if nothing else is added to our plate. But life always stirs things up and we need margin to contain it all.
For the most part, we get use to the late nights and early mornings needed to accomplish our many tasks. Running on little becomes our way of life.
And as long as life remains stable, we can endure this grind for years.
But life rarely remains stable. It’s dynamic and filled with the unexpected.
Traffic jams. Plumbing repairs. Family emergencies. A call from our kid’s school. A friend in need.
It’s much harder to manage life’s unpredictability when our stress level is already filled to the brim.
The key is to build in margin before the stresses of life take us out.
Margin is the space between our load and our capacity – the gap between the water level and the rim of the cup, for example.
The greater the space, the more the cup can move around and the water stirred without spilling over. And when there’s less space, the more likely the water will spill at even the slightest disturbance.
The same is true for us. We can only hold so much stress before our fight or flight responses spill over into our life. One more drop and we find ourselves yelling at the kids, dismissing our wife, or numbing out online.
Building margin increases our capacity to respond to the many twist and turns of life.
Similar to building savings for unforeseen expenses, building margin prepares us for the unforeseen expenses of life and relationships.
Perhaps it’s taking the day off, intentionally doing nothing, or engaging in some necessary pruning to build up our personal reserves. Or maybe we take our wife on a date or call a friend just because to build up relational currency.
However it looks, building margin equips us to deal with the many demands of life without our stress spilling over and impacting our life negatively.
Expect the unexpected and create the margin to love and live well.