Saturday, July 23, 2011

You know what happens when I get busy? Things slip. Between extra things to do at work (we are building a new building), trips across the ocean, moving a daughter to Iowa; life has been a bit full. And things slip (like writing, ha!).

I read a book a while ago called “Margin”. The basic thrust of the book was to provide space in your life so that the urgent doesn’t crowd out the important. Notice that I said I read the book - I have found myself over the past three weeks without margin. I guess I still have some learning to do! (Over the years I have come to understand that when I get to the point that I am writing things or wanting to write things, my mind is rested and I have had time to think and meditate about things; I am living with some margin.)

The other problem is that I find that when I live in the urgent, when I live without margin, I have a way of just spiritually “snacking”. I still read the scriptures, I still pray (a bit), I still serve, but as I review my soul during these periods in my life, I am just grazing the surface of spirituality. I am not feasting, I am not drinking deep; I am not filling my soul.

The collateral damage of living in the urgent is that I don't act out of the fulness of my soul; I act out of emptiness. Because we have a deep, deep desire to fill our soul, when I am empty, I look for something to fill me: other people and other things. The problem is that I begin to USE people and these things to fill me, instead of serving them. I become more demanding, more focused on me, more of a sinner.

The other problem I have is that have a propensity toward activity, doing things – maybe it is a guy thing, maybe it is a character thing; not sure. But I like to be busy, to do things, to complete things. This propensity toward filling my life with activity and being busy is a dangerous threat to margin in my life. It robs me of fullness of life because it robs me of the time to connect deep in my soul with my creator. (I probably should not use the word "rob" because it connotes that it was stolen from me; the reality is that I give it away; I am plan the activities; I make the commitment. I am not innocent in this process.) I don’t really live, I just exist. I don’t thrive, I survive. Not that way I want to live.

Watch your schedule. Do you have space in your life where your mind has time to wind down; where you have time to focus on the eternal; where you are not thinking and wondering about the things of life, but a place where you are still, waiting for the Spirit of God to talk to you; a place where your mind has been filled with the thoughts of God (most likely through reading through scripture) and where you can list.

Try it sometime; it really is filling! (By the way, this is the first day of vacation and I had margin this morning.)