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Running and Resting: Maintain Margin in Your Busy Schedule

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I recently had to fill out an inventory answering the question “How am I at maintaining margin?”  I had to rate the following questions from 0=Never to 5=Nearly Always.

I am able to keep up with my work load without taking time from other important things and people in my life.

My lifestyle is characterized by love, joy, peace and patience.

When there is more work than I can handle, I can leave it, physically and mentally, so that it doesn’t bother me after work.

I have ample time and energy to enjoy my friends.

I take a day of rest weekly.

I get enough sleep to maintain good physical and mental well-being.

When those close to me need to spend time with me, I have the time.

My spouse is happy with the amount of time and energy I have for him or her.

I give adequate time for planned and/or regular family activities.

When I’m with my family, I’m free from concerns about other responsibilities and problems.

I take all the time I need to spend with the Lord, without feeling hurried or hassled.

(*Adapted from Ron Marrs, MFM 500, Western Seminary)

Um, what does it mean if your score is barely in the double digits? It means you are overscheduled, overworked, overwhelmed, and you don’t have enough margin in your life.

And I don’t think any one of us decides that’s how we want to run our life – in utter chaos and absolute exhaustion. No one sets out to run a marathon and says “I’m going to do this today, and I’m not going to drink any water or eat any snacks along the way!”  That’s insane.  But if I’m honest, that’s how I was living for the last couple of weeks.  Trying to run the marathon, without stopping to hydrate.  I was on mile 15, my legs were cramping, and instead of stopping to get well, I kept going.  Until, I couldn’t take the pain anymore and I collapsed.

Not only am I to lay aside every weight and sin, I am to run with endurance, looking to Jesus.

There are a bunch of us going through Restless by Jennie Allen and she reminds us about running the race by looking at Hebrews 12.

 “Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.”  (Hebrews 12:1-2)

Lay aside every weight and sin, which so easily entangles us.  I have not only been running this race in pain, without water, but I’ve been running with weight.  The weight of other’s suffering, the weight of holding down two jobs, the weight of not meeting needs, of not meeting expectations, the weight of cooking meals for my husband that come from a bag or a box.

I have been entangled by sin.  The sin of pride that tells me I have to do it all.  The sin of self-sufficiency that tells me I can do this on my own, by myself.  The sin of neglecting rest, the sin of not keeping the main thing, the main thing.

But not only am I to lay aside every weight and sin, I am to run with endurance, looking to Jesus.

It is really hard to look to Jesus when every minute of every day is consumed with looking at other things.  If I don’t keep margin to rest, reenergize, disengage, and connect to Jesus, I will not make it to the finish line.

If I don’t keep margin to rest, reenergize, disengage, and connect to Jesus, I will not make it to the finish line.

So I ask you, how are you in your race?

Are you running well?

Or are you running injured, dehydrated, and exhausted?

How are you in keeping margin?

Do you have time in your day that you rest and reenergize?

Do you have a weekly rhythm to refresh?

If not, then join me in committing to saying no more often, and getting back to a place of remembering the gospel. Remembering we can rest in His finished work on the cross, and we can run better when we fix our eyes on Jesus.


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Melissa Danisi


Melissa Danisi is the Co-Founder of Self Talk the Gospel and serves at The Well Community Church, encouraging and equipping women by teaching God’s word and shepherding leaders. Her greatest passion is to see women walk in the freedom of the Gospel and grow in their love of Jesus through the study of Scripture, which led to writing bible studies on Ephesians, Philippians, Sermon on the Mount, Spiritual Disciplines, and most recently Genesis. She recently received her Master’s Degree in “Pastoral Care to Women” from Western Seminary and has been married to her very Italian husband since 2006.

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