If you look up the definition of margin, you’ll get a few different answers. The edge or border of something. The amount by which a thing is won or falls shorts. To deposit an amount of money with a broker as security for.
None of them really communicate what I’m looking for, and maybe that’s because our culture has, for the most part, ignored margin in our life.
We no longer worry about how much money we have in the bank, as long as we have our credit card. We don’t worry about our schedules; we just run ourselves until we’re exhausted. We don’t worry about our own emotions because we’re too busy trying to manage everyone else’s.
This is how many of us live our lives now, but we don’t have to. It’s not necessary, and it’s certainly not healthy.
As pastors, we should know better.
When we have financial margin, it allows us to be generous when we hear about a need.
When we’ve made margin in our schedules, it allows us to take some time to talk to our neighbors.
When we have emotional margin, it means we’re a lot more pleasant to be around for our family.
There are so many benefits to having margin in our lives, but how can we create it?
How can we make sure we develop margin?
1) We can live on less than we make.
I know as pastors we don’t always make the greatest living, but that shouldn’t give us the excuse to make bad financial decisions. We’re supposed to be good stewards of everything God has given us. We need to be able to give a tithe, save some money, and live on the rest.
2) We can schedule time for the most important things.
As pastors we’re almost always busy, so we have to be intentional about scheduling time for our families and ourselves. Then we need to stick to the schedule. That doesn’t mean emergencies won’t happen, but when they do, you’ve created some margin in your calendar to deal with them.
3) We can take a day off.
If God rested, then so should we. Pick one day a week to rest and recharge. Spend some time in prayer and reading your Bible or devotional. Spend time with friends and family. Spend time doing something you enjoy.
4) We can minimize the time spent with certain people.
You know who those people are. They are the people who drain the life out of you. The people who you hesitate to answer when they call. The people who only want to complain. There’s no reason that you should feel like you have to spend more time than absolutely necessary around them.
5) We can turn off our electronic devices.
Our phones, computers, and tablets connect us to the world, but they can also disconnect us from what’s most important in our lives. Every now and then, it would be a good decision to shut them off.