By: Rick Warren
“God, listen to me shout, bend an ear to my prayer… You’ve always given me breathing room, a place to get away from it all.” Psalm 61:1, 3 (MSG)
A lot of people are on overload and headed for a crash. Consider these statistics:
· People now sleep 2½ fewer hours each night than people did a hundred years ago.
·The average work week is longer now than it was in the 1960s.
·The average office worker has 36 hours of work piled up on his or her desk. It takes us three hours a week just to sort through it and find what we need.
·We spend eight months of our lives opening junk mail, two years of our lives playing phone tag with people, and five years waiting for people who are late for meetings.
At least in the U.S., we’re a piled-on, stretched-to-the limit society that is chronically rushed, chronically late, and chronically exhausted. Many of us feel like Job did when he said, “I have no peace! I have no quiet! I have no rest! And trouble keeps coming” (Job 3:26 GWT).
Overload comes when we have too much activity in our lives, too much change, too many choices, too much work, too much debt, too much media exposure.
We’re stressed by information overload; we’re stressed by accessibility overload – we’re connected all the time. Simply put, we’re stressed by the pace of life.
Is there a solution? Yes. The solution is to put some margin into your life. Margin is breathing room. It’s keeping a little reserve that you’re not using up. It’s not going from one meeting to the next to the next with no space in between.
Margin is the space between your load and your limit. But most of us are far more overloaded than we can handle, and there is no margin for error in our lives.
Dr. Richard Swenson, MD says this: “The conditions of modern day living devour margin. If you’re homeless we direct you to a shelter. If you’re penniless we offer you food stamps. If you’re breathless we connect you to oxygen. But if you’re marginless we give you one more thing to do.
Marginless is being 30 minutes late to the doctor’s office because you were 20 minutes late getting out of the hairdresser because you were 10 minutes late dropping the children off at school because the car ran out of gas two blocks from a gas station and you forgot your purse. That’s
“Margin, on the other hand, is having breath at the top of the staircase, money at the end of the month, and sanity left over at the end of adolescence.
Margin is grandma taking the baby for the afternoon. Margin is having a friend help carry the burden.
“Marginless is not having time to finish the book you’re reading on stress. Margin is having the time to read it twice.
Marginless is our culture. Margin is counter-culture, having some space in your life and schedule. Marginless is the disease of our decade and margin is the cure.”
Rick Warren is author of the New York Times bestseller The Purpose Driven Life and The Purpose Driven Church, which was named one of the 100 Christian books that changed the 20th Century