"Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light." Matthew 11:28-30 (NIV)
Here are four immediate benefits you'll receive by building margin into your life:
1. Peace of mind. When you're not always hurrying and worrying, you have time to think, time to relax, time to enjoy life. We had a bird come into the building one evening before service. He started singing, and it was just like we'd been given an invitation: "Just relax. Everybody except those sitting directly under the bird, relax."
2. Better health. Unrelenting stress harms our bodies. We all know that, yet we let it continue day after day after day. Many times we only build margin in our lives after the heart attack almost happens or does happen, or the blood pressure skyrockets. Why do we wait until our health plummets before we make this decision? Why not realize that we need to build some margin into our lives now? The truth is your body needs downtime in order to heal. Race cars make pit stops occassionally in order to get repaired. You can't fix anything going 200 miles an hour. Yet, we try to repair ourselves while we're still racing through life. Margin builds in time for better health.
3. Stronger relationships. Lack of margin is one big reason for the collapse of the American family today. When we don't make relationships a priority and make time for each other, our relationships suffer. Relationships take time; and margin provides the time to sit and talk, to listen and enjoy one another, and to provide the comfort we each need.
4. Usefulness in Ministry. When you're overloaded by activity, you can only think of yourself. You're in survival mode, just trying to make it through another day. But being available to God for his use makes all the difference in the world.
When you have margin in your life and God taps you on the shoulder, saying, "I'd like you to do this for me," your first response isn't joy. You first response is, "Oh, no! Another thing to do! Sorry, God - I'd like to do that, but I'm just too busy."
We end up resenting the great opportunities God bring into our lives. But when you have margin, you're available for God to use.
You don't have to be on overload. You don't have to live in survival mode. Begin today to build a buffer around your schedule. Then enjoy the benefits of margin and see what God does next!
Last Tuesday I began sharing some info I had received about building margin (breathing room) into our lives. I'm back today with a devotional that was written by Rick Warren on this topic. Number 3 and 4 and the ones that really got me.... when I have no margin in my life my relationships suffer and I'm very likely to walk away from the exact things God wants for me to be doing.