Posts Tagged ‘margin’

Today is Ash Wednesday, the traditional beginning of the Lenten season in many Christian churches. Lent is a period of 40 days of fasting and repentance leading up to Easter (actually, they only count Monday through Saturday as “fasting” days, with Sunday as a “feasting” day, and therefore not counted in the 40-days). There’s your history lesson for today.

Last year I wrote a short blog for each day of Lent, which was a lot of writing and probably more than any one person should, especially any one just plain ordinary person. But it was a great discipline for me, even if no one read anything. I took the theme of fasting and chose a different topic each day to “give up.” I tackled giving up unworthiness, apathy, guilt, failure and a lot of other stuff. This year I think I’ll flip things around. This year I’m going to choose those things I need to add to my life.

Let me be honest. My schedule is very full. I work full time, tutor once or twice a week, lead a small youth group on Wednesday nights, attend a prayer and teaching session at least once a week at our WFM Missions Base in Robins and serve with my husband as he pastors Troy Mills Christian Church each Sunday. I also spend time volunteering, working out at least three times a week, cleaning my house (mostly fail this one) and giving time and attention to my kids and husband. In between all those things, I read my Bible, do the laundry, cook a few meals, walk a few miles, read a few books, keep up with the family finances, talk to my boys, go out with friends and live my life as joyously as I can. On top of all that, my youngest will soon graduate from college and my oldest son and his beautiful fiancee are getting married in May.

So, why do I think I need to add anything else?

Especially because I’m so busy, there are quite a few areas in which I need plenty of work. I need to add things like margin, compassion, patience, joy, adventure….You get my drift. Starting tomorrow, my blog will be short (promise!) advice to myself. My goal is to add those essential elements I’ve missed while sprinting through each day. The actual definition of “addition” is the uniting of two or more numbers into one sum. I’ll be uniting what is great about my present with what is necessary to make life even better.  I’m going to set my face toward the end of this journey, trusting God to show me ways to add richness to each day. You can join me if you want.

mission addition


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Just say no

Day 10 – Giving Up My Overcommitment Tendency

Today’s post is about those of us who overcommit. We can’t seem to say “no” to anything or anyone. Why is that? I’ve thoughtfully come up with a few reasons…

Reason #1 – Sometimes I overcommit to things because I don’t want to miss out on anything or feel left out. That may be my insecurity creeping in again. “I have to help with that funeral dinner because I may learn something about someone I didn’t know,” or “I’ll be the assistant to the assistant to the WM Director because then I’ll feel important.” Now I may not verbalize these things, but they could be an underlying concern.

Reason #2 – I don’t want people to be disappointed with me. Every single day I struggle with this one. I mean it. Every. Day. I like to be the “fixer” in relationships. That’s prideful. I admit it. I think I have everything together so I’ll fix whatever is wrong with you. Holy buckets! That was hard to write. But so true. I’m really working on this one. Trying to let people be themselves, make mistakes, and even be disappointed in me. In Elsa’s famous words – “let it go.”

Reason #3 – I have a hard time saying “no” without feeling guilty (Reference yesterday’s blog about giving up guilt). Liking people + not liking confrontation = peacemaker with insecurity issues. Maybe it’s a middle child thing. No matter the cause, I almost always say “yes” when someone asks me to fill in, do this, do that. But I’m learning and I’m going to do better. Don’t call me.

I do like to help people when they’re in need. And what I’m doing I really enjoy. I was trying to write specific things I’ve done to give assistance but I don’t want people to think I’m picking on them for asking me for help. Please – that’s not what this is about. This is about me…ha. Now – that really sounds good, doesn’t’ it.

This isn’t about multi-tasking or juggling necessary functions in life. What it all boils down to is creating margin in my life. Margins on a sheet of printed paper are useful. First, they look good. They give the printed page a nice area to be set apart. Secondly, you can fill those margins with little notes or doodles as you need to. Adds a little flair to the whole page. But if you print your life from the very edge on the left to the very edge on the right, top to bottom…you don’t have anywhere to doodle. Analogy aside, margin allows you the ability to be flexible so if something really does need to be done, you have the time, energy, resources and strength to take care of it. Ultimately I need to stop committing to every request so I can create a little space to relax and enjoy life.

This blog reflects what I’ve especially been dealing with today. No more overcommitting. Whatever I’ve said “yes” to in the past, I’ll follow through with. That’s what my mom and dad taught me. But I’m going to re-think future commitments because life’s too short to print to the very edge.

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