“How did you find the margin?”
This was one of the questions asked of our conversation partner, Karen Reed, as she shared her story about her journey from busyness to presence as part of our recent webinar on Time.
On June 7th, we began a conversation that wondered about the question: how might we embrace the freedom and goodness of God’s gift of time in our everyday lives? In a culture where being busy is highly valued and scarcity of time is a badge of honour, how do we step out with conviction that we are meant to eat, drink and find satisfaction in our toil because it is all a gift from God?
“Margin”: the edge or border of something. The margin is all that is left when your page is full.
As Karen described her own journey, she told a story about a neighbour. Time after time, she would be flying out of her home, on to the next thing, and her neighbour would regularly be outside and would try to catch her attention. She never had time to stop and chat. Her page was so full that she had no margin, even for ordinary, neighbourly conversation.
Karen’s journey from busyness to presence has been a slow movement, shaped by intentional practices that have gradually reshaped how she lives. Simple things, like taking time to drink her morning coffee on the front porch so that she can take some time to pay attention to her neighbourhood waking up each day. Sitting down for meals rather than eating in the car on the run.
Karen also describes how she needed to let go of the desire to be efficient and the need to be accomplishing multiple things all at the same time. She needed to begin to rely on God as the primary agent of all things. In doing this, she was able to embrace that she is enough. What she brings is enough. What she can contribute is enough because nothing can be added to what God does.
Relying on God provides freedom to be present and available to those serendipitous moments when the Spirit is revealed in unexpected ways. As Karen found ways to simplify her life and live a life integrated in her community, the space to attend to those serendipitous moments began to open up.
As one of our webinar participants shared, this way of living can’t be created overnight…the patience of living into a new way is key. Patience is hard. A life that is habituated on filling up life margin-to-margin, wanting everything fast and full, cannot use the same habits and practices to undo that kind of life.
So, how do we find the margin? Well, the margin is already there. It’s actually not something we need to find or create because God has made everything beautiful in its time. We need some new practices that help us to step in to a way of living that is shaped by this conviction.
If you are interested in learning more, join the conversation on Time.