Apr 6, 2011

Creating Margin...

I know I have written on this subject before.  A couple times in fact.  (Click the label "margin" on my other blog if interested.)  Today I find myself reassessing once again.  My body and soul have been screaming for rest and restoration for weeks now.  Why is this such a constant, life-long battle?  I have no idea how the month of April has arrived when a basket of Christmas cards still sits on an end table in the family room.  Yet a fourth of the new year is already gone, and I find myself worrying the entire year will slip away without my feeling that I have lived it intentionally.

I've been doing a lot of soul-searching (again).  Why is there such disparity between what I know in my head to be true and what my heart longs for, and what my life really looks like if I am honest?  When left to my own devices I can sure make a mess of things and push myself till I am worn out physically and my body aches from head to toe.  Not only that, but emotionally I am ragged and lose my sense of humor and begin to think not of how to make the most of each day but more along the lines of how I can just get through it.  Spiritually I let myself get depleted as well during these times to the point it is hard to stay awake long enough to do any real praying or bible reading, things that I know would nourish my weary soul.

I came across this quote on the sidebar of Rebecca's blog and it has really grabbed me today:

"We simplify, not just to be less busy, even though we may be right to pursue that.  Rather, we simplify to remove distractions from our pursuit of Christ.  We prune activities from our lives, not only to get organized, but also that our devotion to Christ and service for His kingdom will be more fruitful.  We simplify, not merely to save time, but to eliminate hindrances to the time we devote to knowing Christ.  All the reasons we simplify should eventually lead us to Jesus Christ!" (Donald S. Whitney, Simplify Your Spiritual Life)

It's a hard thing to think that perhaps I am living my life with misplaced motives.  Do I struggle in this area because I merely want to save time and be more organized?  Because I want to do good deeds?  Or, even more dreadfully, because I want people to like me?  "For me to live is Christ..." say Paul in Philippians 1:21.  Does my life look anything like His?

Last night I lay in bed, contemplating what I might do to get a grip again.  I thought of all the things that I want to be a part of my life.  I think I will begin by making a list of those things and taking a hard look at them, and then examining my motives.  I know in my heart that there are many good things with which to fill my days, but I need to determine what are those things that God has ordained for me from before the foundation of the earth?  Have you ever honestly asked yourself that question?

The Amplified Bible says it this way in Ephesians 2:10:

"For we are God's own handiwork, His workmanship, recreated in Christ Jesus (born anew), that we may do those good works which God predestined (planned beforehand) for us, taking paths which He prepared ahead of time, that we should walk in them, living the good life which He prearranged and made ready for us to live."

It is such a comfort to know that God himself has preplanned a good life for us to live when we choose the paths that He has prepared for us.  What are you doing to discover what specific good works God has prepared for you to walk in?  What do you do to regain balance when you feel things are getting out of control?


Jess said...

God ordained margin! Putting HIM first and being thankful in every circumstance...not cluttering up our lives, but being intentional to follow HIS leading.
Thank you dear friend for this reminder. Blessings and Hugs!

Rebecca said...

The necessary things to maintaining house/home - cleaning, meals on the table, washing clothes, etc. are the next on my "to do" list after time with the Lord. Sunday morning service is a "given"; spending time with my husband, communicating with children & grands, then fellowship with fellow believers and preparing for my two Bible studies & a one-on-one come next. Frankly, after that, I don't have a lot more time left. So that means saying "no" to quite a bit :) Learning to be content with what is, not comparing myself with others, and following the promptings of the Holy Spirit re. personal contacts & "good works" keep life interesting and peaceful...

This is the kind of post to revisit frequently. Thanks for the challenge.

Rebecca said...

I REALLY like your blog's background!

Diana said...

This was a very "heavy on my mind" post! I have asked myself these questions and worried about the answers as well.
For me I guess that I have learned that life is a balancing act and sometimes we tumble. As a matter of fact I know that I will. When it comes to my Faith or family or home.
With that being said and knowing in my heart that God doesn't expect perfection from me, I guess I have learned in essence, that there is a time for everything. It may not be when I want or expect it to be but I always find the time for what is necessary when needed.
The one thing that I had lots of trouble accepting and still do, is that I just can't do it all anymore. So I have been trying to learn, however slowly, to ask for help when I need it. It's hard when you're stubborn! Love Di ♥

elaine @ peace for the journey said...

It never seems to end, does it? I lack the energy or desire to progress with simplifying my life; my house is wreck, and I'm supposed to be getting ready to go on vacation with husband tomorrow. I have thank you notes to write and schedules to type out for my mother who will be staying with the kids while we're gone.

And here I am... so very tired from this week and all the running around and I just want to cry.

So, you're not alone, sweet friend. Thinking of you and praying that God gives you that "something" you can do to move your forward with your days. Love you.


elaine @ peace for the journey said...

PS: Who of us couldn't use a Rebecca in our lives? She's the best:)

Pat said...

I join you in all these important ponderings. I have never felt like this with such conviction before. Part of what bothers me is not being able physically to do all my heart and mind thinks I should be doing. When I rest I feel like I have wasted timed. I sense my rest has become more of a physical action then a rest in Him, only that rest fully renews.
Blogs like yours are so important in their honesty. I appreciate you so much.
It's never too late to rethink, renew and seek Godly wisdom. Thank you for bringing that to the forefront...hugs!