It’s been a while since I’ve been in a crowded place. No not because of covid but because I really don’t do crowds that much to be honest. But I remember the last time I was at Disney with my family, the ride attendant wanted everyone to move forward and fill all available space. Those words made me cringe. I don’t want to fill all available space. I didn’t want the sweaty man behind me pressing in closer to me. I didn’t want to lose any opportunity for air to flow through the hot line as we awaited entry on the ride.
We need to leave some room to breathe.
Maybe you’re not a ride person or have never been to a busy park like that. But what about reading. Have you ever read a book that had such tiny print and the margins were so small that there was literally no extra room on the page? Or how about when you take notes in class, were you the kind of person who filled the page in every possible direction and filled all available space?
We need to leave margin.
This is a really important principle that we need to really take to heart. Margin is critical. When we pack too many people into a small space and leave no extra room (aka margin), we can feel claustrophobic and have a hard time breathing. It can even cause a panic attack in some people.
The same is true in our schedules. If we don’t leave some margin in our lives, we end up pushing too close to the edges of our ability and have no room for emergencies or small changes in our schedules.
I find in my life, there are seasons when I run from place to place and fill my nights with meetings and games for the kids and projects around the house. When these things happen I have so little margin that I tend to miss some key moments in life. Or I miss just simple opportunities that pop up unannounced.
For a season I worked two full time jobs. I was gone all the time. From sun up to sun down and then after all went to bed I was on the go preparing for the next thing. I missed parties and outings and even some holidays. I had no margin. My neighbors and friends and family didn’t know who I was because I was never around. I missed being able to have a beverage with my neighbors around their fire pit. I wasn’t there to help a friend through a challenging time. I even missed some key moments in my children’s lives.
Living with no margin means we miss out on far too much important, spontaneous stuff in life. I’d like to challenge you to evaluate your schedule and be honest. What needs to go? What needs to stay? Who can do some of the things on your calendar that you really don’t need to do? What are the things that only you can do? And what are the things that someone else is just as qualified and just as capable of doing?
See if you can create some margin in your life. You’ll be glad you did.