Saturday, February 23, 2008

Creating Margins

This Sabbath included a lot of serious prayer and wrestling with God . . . and my schedule. Arlen and I have come to realize how unreasonable our schedules and expectations are. The worst thing was coming to terms with the fact that we haven't been allowing God to be Lord of our lives. Rather, we have tried to do things our own way. We are working really hard with God to get on track.

We are both trying to learn to live with margins. (Margins are breathing room in your schedule where nothing is planned.) It's so easy for us to cram everything in as tight as we can. We then end up stressed and rarely have time for the things that are really important in life (like people). Another thing that we noticed is that we rarely take time to actually evaluate or schedules and expectations.

One of the first steps for me was making the decision to cut some things out of my schedule. After this semester, I will not be teaching at Southern any more. I am also dropping two of the three things I'm involved with at church. (Don't worry, I'm not leaving the Junior department.) Even with these changes, things are a bit tight, but God will continue to lead.

As I was working on my new system of schedules and to do lists I found some interesting discoveries. I looked at my to do list and picked the really important things that "must be done this week." After I chose these items I began looking at how much time each one is really going to take. Then I started trying to put them all into my schedule. Maybe if I didn't sleep, and added 2-5 hours to every day I could get them all done. At first these discoveries were a bit discouraging; yet as I pondered, this new information became liberating. Now I can give others proper expectations about when I can get things done. I can have proper expectations for myself. Not only that, but I won't be so hard on myself for failing to keep up with an impossible schedule.

I'm also learning that the things that are important to God are the things that are most important period . . . regardless of what others think. This one can be hard for me at times, but when people see something about me or my life, they are only catching a small glimpse. Even I can see but a shadow of it all - only God has a bird's eye view.

I can tell that God is working in my life in so many ways. I still have much to learn and many ways to grow. This is all rather exciting.

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