To live with margin  means to me:

to live in a rhythm that includes periods of productivity and periods of restoration and refreshment.  Not to live with margin means you’re denying your God-given design to get regular rest.”

Discipleship Journal May/June 2009

I framed houses in the early 1990′s with  Tom.  Tom would work 7 days a week, week after week.  I got a phone call on a Monday morning :   “Doug, could you come over and talk with Tom.”  It was his wife.

When I got there,  Tom was sitting on the couch in a dark mood.     I found out later, this was not the first time this had happened.    They told me, he just needed a break.   Tom didn’t know how to pace himself,   his mind and body would   overheat like the circuit breaker on an electrical panel.   He’d take a week off,  recover and start the craziness all over again.

I (DM)  grew up on  120  acre dairy farm, milked 18 Holstein dairy cows, twice a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year.   I am also a  first-born.     I got married, had two daughters, went  back to school in 1985.  Had two more kids.   Working part-time, going to school part-time.     My boss was also the high  school youth group leader of our church.

Doug, I think you would make a great  high school leader.“   It was a 2 evening a week commitment minimum. I joined.

Our  church was also helping us with housing. They had regular Saturday work days. I felt obligated to do that too.

     Did I mention, I was also a hard-core people pleas-er?     I had such a strong craving for people’s approval, I rarely said “NO” except  to my wife.  

        In 1988   I hit the wall emotionally.  Here’ the very  picture  I posted in front of my desk .  It was to remind me business is not the same as progress.   You can be busy going nowhere….fast


I  longed for a more balanced life.  A life with margin, some down time.   I stepped out of every commitment, everything I was forced to  look  my boss in the eye and say , “I have to drop out of the youth group, and  Saturday work days…and…etc. etc. “   it was either do that or  watch my family unravel.

As I attempted  to find margin and balance in my life,  I felt like the captain of a large oil tanker, trying to point my ship in a new direction.

Flash forward 20 years…

I’m still busy…  there is still a “people pleasing bent in my life, but it does not control me.  My life now has margin.  I have to think long and hard before I  add another “good thing”  to  my life.

If I were a young mom, (I’m thinking of my daughter Angie @ this point) I think it would  be  100 times  harder to carve out this thing called “margin” so I’m interested in hearing from those of you that are mothers…what would you say to  tired  young mothers?

What are some practical ways young mom’s can build  margin into their lives?

… is it possible?


5/23/2012  This is a recycled blog post from my other blog/ which tends to be more personal in nature.

This morning I was savoring the margin in my life.  As you read above, it has not always been that way.  I guess it’s one of those life skills that has to be learned.   Read the following  from The Message:  this morning…

      ” Happy, fortunate, to be envied is the man you train, (teach)  God…the woman you instruct in your Word.  Providing a circle of quiet within the clamor of evil….”

I like the way he puts it….providing a circle of quiet within the clamor of evil…

Well, better get my keester in gear.. It’s time to head to work. DM 🙂

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One Response to Margin

  1. lily says:

    OK, great! Now I know what I am doing. I am margining. ~ Lily
    Love it! DM

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