Status: No Margin

No Margin :: EverydaySmallThings.comOver the last few weeks, I have been processing this concept of “margin” in my life. Actually its more than just processing, God has been hammering me with it!

You see, anxiety and a lack of margin go hand-in-hand. When I begin to notice the margin in my life narrowing, I also notice it has a direct influence on the number and severity of anxiety attacks.  

Margin: the amount available beyond what is necessary.
Margin in motherhood. When I allow my margin to narrow my little people suffer. I am less likely to engage in play with them or read them a book. My temper is much quicker which is not enjoyable for anyone. When I have margin in my life, I find that I enjoy motherhood much more. I’m excited for the day ahead, instead of dragging along.

Recently I found myself in the grocery store, staring at the long shelves of food. Darn it, my family needed to eat…again. Wasn’t I just here last night? Yep. Yep I was. Same spot. 24 hours earlier. Staring. Trying to mentally run through all of those fabulous pins I have of meals that we love or I’d like to try. And yet, the only meal that comes to mind is chili…again. With a small sigh, my shoulders sagged and I felt stuck. This is another result of having low margin in my life. Margin allows me to thoughtfully plan out meals for our family. Margin allows me to wisely stick to our food budget.

Margin: the amount available beyond what is necessary.
Margin in my marriage. My marriage could survive in low margin, but I want it to thrive. I want to be an active partner with my husband in life and ministry, but right now its taking a lot of work to be more than passing ships in the night. I’m a better mom if I’m a better wife to my husband first. If I’m being honest, in the last four months, I find myself being Daycare Owner first, Mom second, Wife third. The kids’ needs are screaming at me (literally screaming sometimes). Matt doesn’t need me to feed, bathe, change or hold him.
Margin: the amount available beyond what is necessary.
Margin in my faith and ministry. Sadly, what little time I was finding in the last few months with God, has become nothing. I’ll be honest, yesterday was the first time in eight weeks that I even opened my Bible. I’m empty. And you can’t (or shouldn’t) serve out of your emptiness. Romans 15:13 (The Message) says, “May the God of green hope fill you up with joy, fill you up with peace, so that your believing lives, filled with the life-giving energy of the Holy Spirit, will brim over with hope!” I can’t be filled with “the life-giving energy of the Holy Spirit” without spending quality time with my Savior.
Margin: the amount available beyond what is necessary.
Margin for me. Personal care is an important part of life, but especially for those who struggle with depression and anxiety. Self care is one of the best tools we have. Often, moms put off taking care of themselves because they feel like they need to put their family first. But taking care of yourself is taking care of your family!
Margin: the amount available beyond what is necessary.
So, how does one start getting more margin? I don’t know the answer for everyone, but for me, it’s learning to say “No” and choosing to prioritize. Recognizing the places I can let go and others I need to engage. For instance, I haven’t blogged in a few weeks. I tend to blog in the evening and I found I needed that time to focus on my family.
So where are you at with margin in your own life? What are ways you protect your margin? Do you need to find more “white space” in your life?

6 thoughts on “Status: No Margin”

  1. This is exactly why I suggested “capacity” should be labeled “margin.” I recognize my need for wider margins and my hubby’s need for more narrow margins. He functions best under pressure, while I function best when I have space around my activities. Nicely written Anne!

  2. I remember Jill speaking on this topic at a luncheon once. I remember it often when my margin gets too thin. I’m doing better at making my health and happiness a priority and I encourage everyone to do so. From that perspective, it is easier to see what else is priority and let go of what isn’t. Thanks for a beautifully written reminder. I pray that God enlarges your margin.

  3. Hi 🙂 Just listened to your chat on FOF’s daily broadcast, and my eyes filled up with tears hearing you share about the struggle, lonliness, & shame associated with your son’s weight battle in the early months. We have had some of the same issues with my 6 month old, and it has been nothing short of really challenging and exhausting. I hopped over here to your blog and can relate on so many other things – introvert, prone to anxiety/depression, the need for margin, clean eating, etc. – so I just wanted to drop a word and say that your writing and vulnerability has served as an encouragement to me this morning! Keep on keeping on. Look forward to keeping up with you & your work. Xo

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