Follow-up post to my post on the problem of marginless living. Big question: why do we live this way? All quotes by Richard Swenson in Margin
1. We fail to understand limits
- Everyone and everything has a limit.
- “When we have no margin and our limits have been exceeded; when we are besieged by stress and overload; when our relational life is ailing; when it seems the flood of events is beyond our control; then problems take on a different dimension. One at a time they are perhaps manageable . . . Instead they mound up suddenly and then they bury us without warning.” 42
2. We are addicted to stress and overload
- Until we find ways to guard our mental and spiritual health as well as our social ecology, we will only compound our troubles. We need discipline, restraint, and “respect for the inward and transcendent needs of human beings.” 30
- “We need to stop doing things that get us into trouble and start doing better things.” 32
3. The church rewards overload
- We follow our leaders into overload.
- When we establish boundaries, we are not rewarded.
- When people complain about being overloaded, we may attack them and inaccurately label their problem as “weakness, apathy, or lack of commitment.” 59
- Instead: We should “Set people free to seek their own level.” 59
- “As soon as I condemn them or try to control them, I violate who they are before God. Making them accountable to Him does not mean that they must do as I wish them to do. . . In my experience, the greater problem . . . is not the lack of accountability but the desire to control other people’s lives.” 60
“Overload just happens. Margin, in contrast, requires great effort . . . Margin flows toward overload, but overload does not revert to margin unless forced.” 77
How are your margins today?
Are you living without any margins in your life? No reserves? Right on the edge all the time? Richard Swenson provides the following prescription
He says Margin is the space that “exists between ourselves and our limits.” 42 “the space between our load and our limits something held in reserve for emergencies, the gap between rest and exhaustion.” 69
We need margin to live well, according to Swenson.
Swenson suggests we should live with margin in
What does it look like for you when you have margin in each of these? When you are marginless? Any other areas you would suggest in which we should have margins? Spiritually?
Next: why do we live marginlness lives?