Do you leave margins in your life for God to work or are you too busy? Is your schedule so packed most days that you are too busy for assignments God might have for you? Perhaps there is someone who needs encouragement in their faith and God put you in their path, but you were running to the next thing and missed a chance to minister to a hurting soul. You don’t have time to be kind, or thoughtful or even aware of who God has put in your day because you have no margins, no white space, for the Holy Spirit to lead you in prayer or conversations.
Leave A Little Room
Have you ever noticed how pages come with margins? That lovely clean space around the perimeter of the words so there aren’t letters or punctuation marks running right off the page and falling into the abyss. Margins offer a space to work that leaves a little room. Margins keep all the thoughts confined to the middle of the page. But perhaps the best part is that they leave room for mistakes.
I make a lot of mistakes; how about you? I misjudge how long a conversation will take, what the expectations are, or I show up in the wrong shoes with the wrong attitude. Margins allow time to find parking and to take the long way round if the bridge is out. So, if I get a little lost or need to take a phone call, margins give built-in sidelines to my day—to my life, which gives me space for such things.
“Walk in wisdom toward outsiders, making the best use of the time” Colossians 4:5 ESV
Am I Available? Am I Creating White Space?
Margins give us room to breathe. A few minutes to collect ourselves and the space to help others. More importantly, margins give room for God to use us. When I pack my day so tight, I’m not available for any assignments He may have for me. Maybe a conversation that starts out about the weather takes a deeper turn and demands more time or maybe one of your kid’s friends asks for a ride home, but really it’s a divine appointment for prayer.
If I don’t have any margins in my day, I will miss out on what really matters. Is my goal to check off my to-do list? Or to bless people? Do I get up in the morning with the aim of turning out three loads of laundry, replying to work emails, and helping with the school play? (Surely these things need to be done.) Or is my goal to be available to those who may need me?
I have been pondering just how does one build free moments into our hectic lives? There are no easy answers. And this looks different for everyone. Perhaps getting up earlier, using our time differently, saying no to opportunities (even good ones), readjusting my goals as the days goes along. White space has to be purposely done.
I have said no to housework to pray with a hurting friend. I have given up a walk to stay longer with someone and puzzle out a relationship problem. It is a sacrifice because those other things need to get done at some point. We have eaten simpler meals and gone one more day without vacuuming because I have felt lead to pour time into someone. Of course it cannot always be this way and we must find a balance: the laundry has to get done and the meetings must be had; I’m trying to look where I can do less so I can be available to do more.
Related Post: Be faithful with your time.
Keep Clean Edges
I find when I don’t build white space in my day, I get crazy, I have no patience, no time and I end up with a headache that has me stuck at home anyway. Taking it all in is my preference for some reason. Filling every second of my day with coffee dates, work projects and community events. I think of those old letters people used to write when paper and postage were expensive and they would literally fill ever inch with teeny-tiny writing, even on the envelope.
But my eyes need a place to rest—white space, if you will. Gaps from the words of life to just not have to focus and think and try. Margins allow us to write postscripts to our day, underline and draw arrows out to the edges; making note of this or that, praying for this person or that person as the Lord lays it on our hearts.
I know for me, I may need time to take an unexpected phone call. I may need time to comfort and encourage hurting people; taking note of what they are really saying and what they really need. I may need time to stay late and talk. Sometimes I need your margins and sometimes you need mine. I’m trying to keep clean edges on the pages of my day.