(printed in the Christian Examiner Newspaper’s December 2010 edition)
Is it only me or have you found that the more we look around, the more we see that people are struggling? My husband has frequently said that if you are not depressed, you are not paying attention. However, with the holiday season here, we do not want our Christmas cards to be the only place where love, joy and peace can be found. So, how can we possess those three little words at Christmas time when we cannot maintain those characteristics in everyday life?
I really believe that our anger, anxiety and depression are not only a result of our outward circumstances but a result of having a lack of margin in our lives. If we define boundaries as how closely we allow people or things to approach us, then margins are those imaginary lines of how far we are willing to extend ourselves. If someone crosses our personal space or boundaries, we become uncomfortable (and in extreme cases, violated). In contrast, we determine the parameters of our margins. When there is no margin, we have limited ability to cope with broken cars, crying kids or sick pets. Instead of scheduling in padded time for quality control, we find ourselves crying out for more time, better organizational skills and greater support. But what if we miraculously had the ability to schedule spare time, how would we fill it?
There is a saying, “If the devil can’t make you bad, he will make you busy?” For some, this statement is true. We can become so busy that we do not make time or even have time to give God a thought. We rationalize, justify and make excuses that we are too busy to make the Lord a priority. Busyness looks like productivity and it makes us feel needed. However, busyness is only blessed if we are about the Lord’s business. His business is defined in each of our lives differently but our perspectives should be the same.
By maintaining His perspective, it is not about the crises but how the Christ can move through each circumstance to give meaning and purpose. Learning to talk to Him instead of yourself changes your perspective. When I find myself maxed out, I pray. When I find myself too tired to think, I pray. When I find myself too full from dinner to move, I pray. Prayer gives me the cushion I need to get a Sovereign viewpoint and to ask Him to move in everything and to move me to serve Him anywhere.
I am co-founder of Daily Disciples Ministries and a media company called Media 4 Women. Both keep me busy, and people ask me frequently, “How do you do it all?” I cannot say that I have always liked or even enjoyed being busy outside of the home. But I was challenged to move out of my comfort zone and not only increase my borders but to expand my margins when hearing Charles Spurgeon’s comment on Romans 13:10, “Love does no wrong to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfillment of the law.” He said, “No man can compass the ends of life by drawing a little line around himself upon the ground. No man can fulfill his calling as a Christian by seeking the welfare of his wife and family only, for these are only a sort of greater self.”
I have spent many days being busy only with shopping, laundry, vacation planning and house decorating. In that season of life, I spent my energy in the things that were a continued extension of my greater self. I realized that being busy with family things only kept me loving and serving the things I already love. I do not need to be spirit led or dependent upon the Lord to love those who love me back. However, adding a responsibility that helps to serve those outside my heart’s desire has allowed me to grow and love in a completely different way.
God is sovereign. He can do what He wants and He can bless whom He wants. Allowing the Lord to have free reign in my overly scheduled day gives me a peace and joy that blesses others in addition to me. It really did come by reprioritizing the busyness. “Busyness in His Business.” We can remain busy but are we really about His business or our own? This Christmas season, let’s not marginalize Christ but let Him expand our margins. He alone brought peace on earth through His presence and that same presence can reign in our hearts today. There is no greater present than the presence of the One who brought the gifts of love, joy and peace not only at Christmas, but for our everyday lives.
Our mission is to evangelize the lost and awaken the saved to live empowered lives by the Work of God and His Holy Spirit. Daily Disciples Ministries makes a difference for the kingdom of God by teaching and training believers how to be in God's Word, how to pray and how to walk with Jesus every day, as His daily disciple.
Daily Disciples Ministries, Inc.