If I get 50 things to do in one day, and I can only finish 20 of them – that means I have to say no 30 times. In my life, I have to learn how to say “No” far more than how to say yes.”
“Everything is permissible for me – but not everything is beneficial.” – 1 CORINTHIANS 6:12 (NIV)
“A prudent person foresees difficulties ahead and takes precautions: the simpleton goes blindly on and suffers the consequences.” – PROVERBS 22:3 (LB)
II. STEPS TO BUILDING MARGIN IN YOUR LIFE
1 – Accept my human limitations. First I have to recognize, then I have to admit, and accept my own personal limitations. “I have learned that everything has limits…” – PSALM 119:96 (GN) We have to remember that we are only human beings, but more than that we have to remember that the limitations in our lives were placed by God. God is the author of my limitations, and He put it there for my own good. Unfortunately, as human beings we constantly overestimate our abilities, and underestimate the problems and how much it would take. We’re not very good in recognizing our own human limitations. On top of that we live in a culture that constantly tells us – you can have it all! you can do it all! you can be at all! you can be everything! you can be anything you want! These are all lies. I cannot be anything I want to be. There are limits in my life. I can only be what God wanted to be.
“Our time is limited. You (God) have given us only so many months to live and have set limits we cannot go beyond.” JOB 14:5 (NCV) I also have emotional limits. At what point do I have boundaries? What are my limits? Where do I draw the line? I don’t normally draw lines on my emotional limits. I also have mental limits. There are phones now that has 50 features, though I only need to use it for calling. I’d think it would be really nice if God will warn when I am reaching my limit. He always gives warning – it’s normally called irritability, fatigue, lost of joy, stress. Once I start to irritable, it means I am already overload.
2- Expect to have problems. This is why I need margins in my life, because I have problems. Nothing goes perfectly as planned. I am setting myself up to big disappointments. The fact that I am always late means I need margins. Jesus: “In this world you will have trouble.” JOHN 16:33 (NIV) It doesn’t say we may, might, could it says we’re going to be. We assume naturally that everything’s just going to be great. I don’t normally think about anything that could possibly go wrong. I need to expect the unexpected. Hope for the best, but expect the worst. Thinking ahead is the mark of wisdom. “A prudent person foresees difficulties ahead and takes precautions: the simpleton goes blindly on and suffers the consequences.” – PROVERBS 22:3 (LB)
3 – Put space in my schedule. I cannot hope/expect space in my schedule, I’d have to decide. The faster I go, the more margin I need. “Only someone too stupid to find his way home would wear himself out with work.” – ECCLESIASTES 10:15 (GN) Life is a journey, not a race. Why am I always in a hurry? It’s not how fast I live, but how well I live. It takes a decision to make space in my schedule.
4 – Prune my activities periodically. Prune is for more productivity. Every year of our lives, we sprout new activity branches – I have to cut back some of them periodically. I cannot just keep adding new activities, without cutting back. “Everything is permissible for me – but not everything is beneficial.” – 1 CORINTHIANS 6:12 (NIV) I can do everything/anything, but not everything is beneficial. I have to learn how to say “No.” If I get 50 things to do in one day, and I can only finish 20 of them – that means I have to say no 30 times. In my life, I have to learn how to say “No” far more than how to say yes.” It’s easy to say “No” to things I don’t like, the real problem is saying “No” to things I like, to the good things in life. I cannot do every good things in my life. What does God wants me to do with my time, energy and money? I cannot do all the good things in my life. I cannot do everything, so I have to determine the right thing that God wanted me to do. Selection is the key to an effective life. I have to figure out what I am not going to do. I will accomplish more in life by doing less, by being totally committed to a few things, but partly committed to a dozen more things. If I don’t do the pruning in my life, God will do the pruning for me through sickness, crisis, etc, because I cannot live beyond my limits. “Sometimes it takes a painful experience to make us change our ways.” – Proverbs 20:30 GNT
5 – To do less, and trust God more. God can do more in twenty minutes, than I can do in twenty years. I have dreams that I am striving, hustling for years, but sometimes I have to stop and wait for what God can do. One of the benefits of being overload is it pushes me to trust God totally. God can do what I cannot do. Jesus did not say, if you’re busy, you can move mountains. He didn’t say, if you will work hard till you get stressed out, you can move mountains. He said, if you have faith, you can move mountains. Faith, not busyness is what gets the jobs done. What is my mountain? What’s the problem in my life that needs moving? I should stop doing so much, and do less and trust God more.
Father, I am tired of being rush and late and exhausted all the time. I got too many irons on the fire, and I need your help to get out of the mess I got myself into. Help me to recognize and accept my limitations. Help me to put some space in my schedule. I need breathing room and margins in my life. Jesus Christ, I know I cannot do it all. I need your wisdom on deciding what matters most, and what I should do. I don’t want to waste my life. Please give me the courage to say “No” to the wrong things, and the courage to say “yes” to the right things. And most importantly, help me to trust You. Forgive me for thinking and acting as if everything depends on me, it doesn’t. They all depend on You. And I want to have greater faith in You, and less reliance on myself. I want less stress and more margin. In Your name I pray. Amen.