Sunday, March 9, 2008

"MARGINS" March 9 WEEKLY DEVOTION

MARGINS

"A room without books is like a body without a soul."
- MARCUS T CICERO

If you have ever taken a look at your Bible, or any good book, magazine or newspaper, you will notice one thing that they all have in common, MARGINS: you will find margins on the top and the bottom of the pages, along with margins set on the right and the left.

If you ask me, margins are not exactly the most effecient use of space of the paper. However, if you eliminated the margins, you could get more words on the paper but margin-less pages would be very difficult for us to read, and our brain would need to take some kind of a break.

People are sometimes like a MARGIN-less book. We often eliminate the margins in our lives (or boundaries). We fill our schedules up from top to bottom and side to side. The result of a margin-less Christian is having an active, but exhausting life. I have found that busy families usually have little time for each other or for God!

In last week's YOUR OPINION MATTERS poll, I asked the question: "What area of your life do you feel overloaded with responsibilities?" The top three answers to this poll are as follows:

1. 76% polled said their overload in responsibilities is with their IMMEDIATE FAMILY

2. 52% polled said it was from their CAREER/WORK that they feel overloaded

3. 11% polled said their overload of responsibilities came from CHURCH or OTHER.

We ALL have demands in our lives:

- Demands of being a Wife, a Mother, a Sister or a Daughter.
- Demands from our boss or co-workers.
- Demands from ministry or church related things.
- Demands of community involvement.
- Demands that are out of our control, such as paying taxes, paying bills.
- Demands that we all put on ourselves!

Some of us are feeling the stress of demands put on us because of our position (maybe mentioned above). Too many times we conflict our DEMANDS with our RESPONSIBILITY.

* as a wife, you have responsibilities to your husband
* as a mother, you have responsibilities to your children
* as an employee, you have responsibilities to your boss
* as a church member, you have responsibilities to your church
* as a softball coach, you have responsibilities to your team

These are all responsibilities NOT demands. However, what happens many times is the stress of excessive demands will trickle over into our responsibilities. When we begin to feel overwhelmed, details begin to fall through the cracks and needs (or responsibilities) go unmet.

In the book of Exodus in the Bible, Moses encountered the need of setting margins. Moses, serving as Judge for the people found himself surrounded by people from morning to evening. One day, the Father in law of Moses came and asked him, "What is this you are doing for the people?" Moses replied, "the people come to me to seek God's will. Whenever they have a dispute, it is brought to me, and I decide between the parties and inform them of God's decree and laws" (Exodus 18:15,16)

Moses recieved great counsel from his Father in law, (look at 18:17,18) Moses Father in law replied: "What you are doing is not good." (18) "You and these people who come to you will only wear yourselves out. The work is too heavy for you; you cannot handle it alone".

Moses had to set some margins (boundaries) so he could concentrate on the responsibilities that he had to the people and not the demands! If you need margins in your life to ease your overload, here are 3 to begin with:

3 MARGINS FOR "DEMAND" OVERLOAD:

1. KEEP THE SABBATH
(Exodus 16:26, 27) "Six days you are to gather it (manna) but on the seventh day, the Sabbath, there will not be any. (27) Nevertheless, some of the people went out on the seventh day to gather it, but they found none."

Thousands of years ago, even before we were born, God recognized the need for margins. God did NOT design manna-less Sabbaths to frustrate people. Instead He was teaching them and illustrating for us that some people cannot accept margins even when offered. Even today, people are reluctant to stop working even for a day.

ARE YOU HURRYING AND PACING YOURSELF SO GREATLY THAT YOUR SOUL CANNOT KEEP UP WITH YOUR BODY?

2. GET HELP
One of the reasons for stress overload is that we take on too much and that is when we begin to feel sluggish. This is the point that responsibility and demands gets crossed! The demand of overload not only impairs us but now it impacts others. It begins to impact the ones that we have responsibilities over.

DO YOU NEED HELP? SET A MARGIN BY ASKING FOR HELP!

3. SEEK SOLITUDE
(Luke 5:15,16) "The news about Him spread all the more, so that the crowds of people came to hear and to be healed of their sicknessess. But Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed."

There are few jobs that are more consuming and draining than ministry. If Jesus, the Son of God, recognized the need for solitude and retreat, why do we as Christians think it is optional?

KNOW WHEN ENOUGH IS ENOUGH. SET THE MARGIN TO MAKE PRAYER A PRIORITY IN YOUR LIFE!

It is my prayer that this week as you look at the pages in your life, that you will recognize where you need to set margins (or boundaries). Have a LESS DEMANDING week!

Laurie

  • YOUR OPINION MATTERS: Please take a moment to vote in this weeks YOUR OPINION MATTERS Poll. Your response and opinion to "Which response describes your feelings of the most difficult or tragic life experience that you have faced?" REALLY does matter!

  • QUOTE OF THE WEEK:

"Expect great things from God; attempt great things for God." - William Carey

  • SCRIPTURE OF THE WEEK:

"Wait for the Lord; be strong and let your heart take courage; yes, wait for the Lord."

- PSALM 27:14

3 comments:

Cheri said...

What a great illustration. I am learning that time with my Father is of most importance...to Him and to me! :)

macymiamom said...

Laurie,
Exactly where I am today! It is so hard to SLOW down and have margin! Thanks for confirming it today!
Love, Glenda M.

macymiamom said...

Oh whoops left that comment from my old account!