Creating Margin.

When a slow driver or a ridiculous unexpected train has the ability to make you “loose it” in the morning: chances are, you not allowing enough margin in your mornings.

(Margin! Not to be confused with margarine, in such case- I use real butter!)

When a forgotten lunch, clarinet, planner, backpack or water bottle reeks havoc on your morning routine: chances are… you don’t operate within a healthy margin.

If you happen to make it past the morning rush hour, but forget to drink water or use the restroom— chances are: no margin! How stacked are you throughout your day? Do you allow time and space for flexibility, change and capacity? Or is it rapid fire deadline driven pressure all day long?

Creating margin is something the Lord has clearly asked me to improve on. Over the next weeks, I will be studying and sharing, trying and failing, but all the while being intentional in this area.

Margin. Unplanned time. Unsold inventory of your day. Balance. Flexible space. Intentional room.

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About 2 years ago, mornings got easier. The girls got older, Jake was available and helpful and I realized getting up ten minutes earlier saved so much stress. We just seemed to have found our groove. For the most part, it’s no yelling, no tears, 3 for 3 on combed hair, no matching socks, packed lunches and not a lot of stress. (no whammies, I hope I didn’t jinx myself!)

Once I pull into work- it’s task to task, meeting to meeting, deadline to deadline, responding in the moment and fighting fires. All day long. After work- it’s directly to the evening duties. Choir. Gymnastics. Basketball. Groceries. Dinner. Homework. Unread emails. Unread texts. Cell group. Women’s ministry. Laundry.

Day in and day out, it’s grace for the moment, but every moment is full.  If something unexpected pops up, it throw a wrench and a ripple of late arrivals. It’s not as though I am unplanned or I procratistinate, it’s just every moment is full, which means I often do everything just immediately before it needs done.

It’s exhausting.

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All my older and wiser women are reading this, nodding and smiling. Yes, Lori, we know, we see, we’ve tried to get you to slow down.

My sister and mom especially, oh how they have tried to help me find things to lay down.

My common ages friends are relating… identifying, adding their own version of crazy… Yes, we hear you, we live this, yet we love this. We thrive on it, we succeed, we fail and yet we are exhausted too.

and God is whispering, “busy is not ministry…”

Ladies, we do this to ourselves.

We make our schedules. We say yes. We accept meetings and push our to-do lists to last. We prioritize others first, and neglect protecting a small window of space called- margin.

When we were little our parents made us take naps. When we got into elementary school our teachers wouldn’t let us write outside the margin. Yet here we are, all grown up and piling more and more on our plates. We can take it. We can handle it. We are strong women, good moms. We’ve got this.

Newsflash! No one is giving us gold stars.  During my 1st pregnancy, I insisted on a natural birth. I didn’t want medication; I wanted to feel and fully experience it all.  My doctor induced me at 5:30am. “Go for it, but I won’t be giving you a badge, a medal or a gold star… I would rather give you an epidural and let you enjoy the experience.” I was so stubborn. He came back to break my water at 6:30am. Soon, I was experiencing full contractions- but making no progress. I wasn’t dilating and I wasn’t thinning out. Hours passed. I labored. No progress. He wanted to give me pitossin to speed the process, but he refused to increase my contractions without the help of pain relief. I distinctly remember about 5 hours in he said, “You aren’t having this baby today.”  I paused. Stunned. He continued, “You aren’t making progress, you are just wearing yourself out. Take the epidural so I can give you potosin. We can have this baby by dinner time.”

Reagan was born that same day, July 31st at 6:42pm.  I fully enjoyed the beautiful experience (and my epidural) and sure enough, no one else cared if I had drugs or if I didn’t. I had an epidural at time of induction with both Riley and Ella.

The pressure we put in ourselves is so often FOR only ourselves.

Every once in a while, it’s good to readjust, prioritize, scale back and create boundaries.

Just like our joints can’t take the continual pounding of daily life without the cushion of cartilage, our lives can’t sustain our constant straining pace without the balance of margin.

For me, I will evaluate margin in four areas:

Time, money, materials and morals.

Stay tuned.

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