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Coloring Inside the Lines

We’ve all heard the phrases: thinking outside the box or coloring outside the lines. Of course, these are referring to experimenting with innovative thinking, not being hampered by rules and tradition.

But I wonder...have we carelessly tossed aside the box, or erased the lines to our own hurt? The natural boundaries that God has given each of us in our lives are often disregarded.

Has your joy dried up, your buoyancy sunk, your enthusiasm for life evaporated, your colorful sparkle diminished?

Maybe you have fallen into a snare that has stolen your contentment. Have you stumbled into that misconception that people have no limits?

Today many of us live as though we believe we have boundless emotional energy, physical energy, time, and finances.

We can live our lives in a state of overload; drained, tired, over-booked, over-extended.

But we are not infinite.

We do have limits: time, space, and energy, to name a few.

In my desire to live a contented life, I have discovered my need for “margin.”

I must create margin in my life so that I am able to flex with the day’s needs without breaking (or coming unglued!).

Margin is the space that exists between our load and our limits. Margin is the opposite of overload.

In his book, The Overload Syndrome, Richard Swenson, M.D., recounts how he and his wife redesigned their lives to create margin. By re-evaluating their accessibility, activities, commitments, stress, choices, debt, hurry, fatigue, media, possessions, and work they found:



rest, and


Where could you create some margin?

One idea:

Practicing the rhythm of the sabbath provides margin.

What would it be like to embrace the concept of Sabbath rest?

What could you gain?

What would be the ripple effect in your life?

Freedom. Time. Rest. And Balance sounds

pretty appealing.

A beautiful picture.

For more about work, rest, and the art of being human check out Garden City, by John Mark Comer

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