Tuesday, June 14, 2016


anyone that is in the christian realm and has been to church for any amount of time has probably heard the word 'margin'. it's a cool, hip churchy way to say 'hey, take a load off!' unfortunately, i believe just like any other consistently used church word, the meaning slowly wears off and we begin to hear it with jaded, worn ears and nod in agreement without any thought.

at least that's what i do.


for those of you that aren't as familiar with the term, or those that may need a refresher, margin is basically the space between- much like the margins in your word doc, or (for you old school peeps like me), the extra wide space on the left side of your college-ruled note paper (yes, once upon a time people took notes on paper with pencils. can you believe it? of course, i'm not that old to remember that, i've just heard the myths)


an intentional building of space and time in between your life things.
a scheduled or blocked off time to do 'nothing'.


if you're anything like me, you're basically having a panic attack by now just reading the description of margin and considering people do this intentionally. um, what? that is SO inefficient and such a waste of time! the type a and go-go-go part of my personality cannot fathom the idea of this concept at all. and while i know it's actually biblical (the unhip, uncool churchy way of describing it is 'sabbath'), i still can't wrap my head around the actual PURPOSE of it all. and if we're super honest, i think i'm way too good for a rest. i've got things to do, such important things, like run a household and raise boys and clean sheets and make dinner and pick up spilled toys for the 3487th time today and run errands and cut up watermelon and apply sunscreen and write notes for work and email my accountant and.. i mean, guys, SERIOUS things. who has time or NEEDS a sabbath? if i were to take a break, it would be silly. right?


in true 'me' form, i decided that raising two young men under the age of 3, having a job three long days a week, running a home, caretaking a husband, training for a new counseling modality, keeping my social calendar, and working out and getting sleep wasn't enough, so i decided to paint my cabinets. for any of those that think that's a simple paint job, let me 'paint' the picture (haha, get it? i'm so punny. i crack myself up). painting cabinets entails all of the following: labeling each cabinet door and corresponding hardware; cleaning each and every square millimeter with a degreaser; taking off all doors and drawer faces and keeping them labeled and somewhat organized; caulking and wood-filling, then sanding each millimeter of surface; washing each millimeter of surface; priming each millimeter of surface with an oil-based primer; sanding and cleaning said surfaces; finding fancy, expensive paint from a specialty store; painting first coat on each aforementioned surface, sanding and cleaning each freakin' surface again; painting the last coat FINALLY; letting everything dry and cure (5-7 days), and then reassembling your whole life again, one labeled hinge and screw at a time. this does NOT account for any time and energy needed to re-arrange your cabinets and their belongings to maintain whatever 'babyproofing' system you had in place; nor does it account for any cleaning and shelf-paper lining that may need to occur once your face to face with each nasty-ass surface inSIDE of your cabinets not once but like, 56 times.

so, like i said, easy peasy. right?


during one night of this project, i listened to some sermons (yes' some'. it's not like you have this project in front of you and listen to a 20 minute talk and say 'whew. that was a lot of work!'), and they were about building in time and intentional rest and margin with God. it wasn't like i hadn't heard any of it before, but it was good to hear again. because i am straight up, plain ol' BAD at margin.

the thing that struck me was considering that margin is actually part of God's master plan- he commanded it, actually took rest himself, and set up the rhythm of the world to follow this pattern of working and resting- and how selfish and prideful i was being in acting like i didn't need what God had planned for me.

it's easy as pie to say that i don't need rest. i feel better about myself (read: my insecurities and fear of incompetency is satiated when i am packed to the gills with to-dos), and i am good at multi-tasking and doing a ton of projects. sometimes i even amaze myself in a day with all that i can do.

that in itself isn't inherently bad. where that gets dangerous for me is when i want other people to notice how much i work. how awesome i am for not needing a break. when i want sympathy or empathy or people to be on my side because how HARD i work, how OFTEN i work, how much i have GOING ON and can manage to stay on top of it. in short, when my worth comes from foregoing my margin, and ultimately God's plan for my life, that's when it gets sort of dangerous.

and guess what? that's silly. that's me looking to others to fulfill me, to validate me, to define my worth and purpose. it's blatantly looking God in the face and saying, 'i don't need you or your stinkin' plan. i have my own! i'm gonna look tired and awesome and people will praise me, so i actually won't need you to feel good. i'll just work so, so hard for approval, ignore your grace, and feel like i'm never quite there yet. that's way better.'


margin is a time that you set aside to spend with God, sure. but it's also time to just stop. to stop conforming to the world and it's now-ridiculous norms, and to just be still. to say, 'yep. i have crap to do. tons! but guess what? so does everyone. and God commanded me to sit. so i'm gonna rest and i'll pick the crap back up later and in the mean time, it will all be ok'.


guys, it's a form of worship!!

and if we're honest, it can be super enjoyable worship. like today, for example: instead of staying home to work on this completely overwhelming project, i met some family for a lake swim. it was awesome. and tonight- i 'should' totally be working on those stupid oak-not-white-colored cabinets but guess what? i am so stinkin' tired from all the work i've been doing and all the kid raising and lunch making and fun-having i've done, i'm sitting on my patio with a drink in hand, writing a blog. it's glorious.

and also so hard! i want to work. i feel burdened to work. i feel lazy to not! but guess what?


the cabinets will get done. in the long run i'm only postponing by a few days, so it's not like i'll really regret the one night i could have spent doing it. and i'm refreshing, refueling and checking in with myself by taking time to listen to what i need (rest) instead of what i should be doing (working). i sort of hate taking margin when i stop and think about what there is to do (cabinets, laundry, mopping, showering, all of it!) but i also know that if i concentrate on the moment of margin and rest, i feel good. rested. like i'm where i'm supposed to be.

i hope you can find some of your own rest. and in that, connection. peace. time with your connecting spiritual ju-ju or God or whatever. you won't regret it. i promise.

and, if it's too hard to fathom, try our tried and true recipe: dance parties. seriously one of the best stress relieving, fun activities we do. it's hard to not love a dance party. i record the ones with my kids sometimes, but honestly, my favorite ones are the ones i do when i'm alone or with husband and i'm being silly and myself. in other words: you don't need kids to dance. 


open cabinets and drawers....

this gives me SUCH anxiety. does it you?

door and drawer factory. on a good day.

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