Margin gives space to life and makes room for a pause.
Margin helps bring peace.
Margin makes for balance and leeway between commitments.
Margin gives God the invitation to move in.
For this last week and a half I have been trying to give myself a breath - actually I've given myself a bunch of breaths and the timing couldn't have been more perfect. But all this has shown me is the depth of my need to slow and step back. We've been in the throws of a very full summer. How does this happen? We start with some innocent idea that we will meet up with friends to swim. Then another friend suggests we meet at the free summer movie that morning. Yet another friend hosts a summer debate club once a week. And we have piano lessons and we care for a friend's children when she asks and we go to VBS ... All of a sudden we are jetting from here to there "relaxing" with our friends and making the most of summer and we have lost our place of rest. We weren't made for this kind of living. Too much of a good thing is still too much. I do know how to say "no" but sometimes I lose my vigilance and we all pay the price. Innocent "yes" answers end up piling up.
"No," is a healthy answer. I'm writing it on my calendar at least once a week - big beautiful NO - to remind myself that this time is time to pause, give margin, let the world whirl by without me. I need to drop off the face of the earth every so often so I can find perspective and renewal. This is sabbath-keeping.
I was visiting two older women from our church yesterday. Life is naturally slower at their age. They are sisters, both widowed, who live in a quaint craftsman home in the older section of town where trees grow high and life seems to have stepped back in time a pace or two. As we sat on their screened-in porch one of them said, "Harmony. All of our life needs harmony. We need to let things flow together well so that we can have the peace of God in our midst." She hasn't always walked easy or outwardly peaceful roads. She has raised children and she nursed her dying husband through poor health, using a lift to get him in and out of the bath as she daily let go of the man who was her other half.
She speaks from a place of knowing and reflection. And she sweetly smiles as she does, eyes dancing with the truth of harmony. Time stands still on that screen porch. We talk about heaven and church and our families. I soak in the spoken and unspoken lessons.
So, though I thought I'd be writing more through the summer - keeping my series on Fenelon's wisdom for child rearing going, writing about organizing home education, getting a series going on rest - and instead I find I am slowing. God is calling me to rest. I need the margin. I need to find Him and be with Him throughout each day. I need to savor "the lazy days of summer" and intentionally make space for it to be so. I'll still write (don't fret, those of you following those series) but I am going to spread my pace out a bit, take my flip flops off, put my feet up in the back yard and enjoy some homemade peach tea while watching my boys run through sprinklers.
The wisest man in the world said there is a time for everything. Even rest.
If you want the most inspired book I have read on rest, I encourage you to check out Bonnie Gray's book Finding Spiritual Whitespace. It is blessing my socks off and God is using it to echo His loving call to rest into my life and heart these days.