I absolutely love to read. Books give us the possibility of entering into a conversation with people we will never meet. These authors teach us about life, marriage, faith, and the art of story-telling. Yet a badly designed book can have devastating consequences on the ability of the reader to enjoy it!
On the left, right, top, and bottom of a book is white space. This white space is known as margin. If the text in a book filled up the entire page – which seems as if it would accomplish more – the book would be a nightmare for the reader.
The same way that margin is vital for a book, it is essential for our lives.
Many of us believe that constant activity will produce extraordinary results. This simply isn’t true. Those of us who feel the need to constantly work are slowly eroding our families and destroying our marriages on the false altar of productivity. Our need to work 60-hour weeks says less about our work ethic and more about our desire to be a god. God does not sleep… He doesn’t have to. He is infinite. We are finite.
We get this confused far too often.
One of the greatest ways to build margin into your life is by practicing a regular Sabbath. I have been using Saturday as my Sabbath for the past year and it has been incredibly refreshing and healing.
I want you to pick a day of the week that you can spend time resting with your family. After you select this day you need to guard it with passion! If you do not fight for margin in your life, no one else will. There are not a bunch of legalistic rules you need to keep on your Sabbath; instead, I would encourage you to seek out activities that allow physical, emotional, and spiritual rest (I’d also encourage you to do this with your phone OFF!)
For me it means I spend a lot of time reading fiction. I love being pulled into a good story rather than being occupied with the current stress of my ministry. Fiction allows me to experience exotic places and incredible stories without leaving my home!
I also love nature. As long as it is not -30 outside, I will go for a long walk to breathe in fresh air and slowly watch birds, squirrels, rabbits, and insects enjoy the day. This reminds me that I’m really not that important. If God sustains the creatures of the earth with food and shelter, He will provide me with everything I need.
During my weekly Sabbath I commit much of the time to hanging out with my beautiful bride. Here’s the truth I live by: The Rescue Church in Garretson can have many different pastors, my wife and (soon to be) daughter only get one husband and father. I will willingly lay down formal ministry if it becomes a god which ravages my family through workaholism.
Can you say the same about your career? Or is your family being ripped apart by the incessant demands at work? Anything or anyone other than the Living God is extremely destructive to worship.
I’m afraid many of us are sacrificing self-care and the health of our families for the false gods of productivity, career, financial security, and materialism.