I began focusing on having a word of the year in 2013, in the blogging community it became the popular thing to do. I chose Perseverance. Then in 2014 I quietly chose Grace. So, as I read through The Best Yes and shared with you all through our study, I realized many of my decisions and issues revolved around time management and being involved in too many things, I have chosen the word Margin for 2015.
I am overworked, overcommitted, overextended and tired of being a victim instead of in victory over my time.
I need margin.
What is margin you may ask?
In his book, Margin: Restoring Emotional, Physical, Financial, and Time Reserves to Overloaded Lives, Richard Swenson, M.D. describes margin like this:
Margin is the space between our load and our limits. It is the amount allowed beyond that which is needed. It is something held in reserve for contingencies or unanticipated situations. Margin is the gap between rest and exhaustion, the space between breathing freely and suffocating.
Margin is the opposite of overload. If we are overloaded we have no margin. Most people are not quite sure when they pass from margin to overload. Threshold points are not easily measurable and are also different for different people in different circumstances. We don’t want to be under-achievers (heaven forbid!), so we fill our schedules uncritically. Options are as attractive as they are numerous, and we overbook.
I am overloaded and often can feel like I am suffocating. That truly resonated with me. I am not exactly sure when I transitioned to that space where margin was gone…but I do not like the life I have been living.
Reading The Best Yes gave me some tools to help me navigate learning how to say no and know what were the activities, commitments and relationships I was to give my time to…now I just need to follow through intentionally.
So for 2015 I will:
1. Set boundaries around my time spent on social media
This is a hard one, as I really do love sharing online, I am a blogger for goodness sake. But what often happens is I tend to get stuck on there and then my family receives my left overs as I have placed too much value on the other relationships. This is wrong and I am trying to find a balance where I can enjoy that, but also set away and not feel guilty.
2. Setting realistic goals with my writing for the blog
I can often feel that I have to write 3-4 times a week and if I don’t I am letting my audience down. After some reflection I do know that you all do not have hours upon hours to read blogs! If I can post two times a week some encouragement and something valuable then we are all better off. As I look into 2015 I will have to balance that with my desire to run the online book studies as well. I truly feel called to create community in this manner, but it takes time and help. I was so thankful for the moms who volunteered and helped me facilitate that last study. It was fuller and had a larger impact due to many being involved – I loved it!
3. Putting myself first
This may come out wrong but if you are a mom who is overextended, I think you can identify with what I am saying. I will put all other tasks above my own needs and it only negatively effects everyone. I need to prioritize my need for physical exercise, time with God, time to read, meet a friend for coffee and just be. There is rarely a time that I am not doing something and I think that needs to stop.
4. Being intentional with my family
I have been guilty of this more than I care to admit – putting everything else above my family. I have felt incredibly anxious and guilty about my to-do list – whether it is in regards to my home or my two businesses I run – I have done a poor job of being engaged. I know this has to change. I have gotten myself into this rut of feeling like I don’t deserve to have fun because my work is not done. Is that not silly? But it is amazing what your mind can begin to tell you.
I want to have that “extra” time that having margin will bring. This will not just happen and I am not kidding around here by saying this will be easy, but I do know that something needs to change now. My health is important and I am the one who can take control and be intentional. Otherwise I can just end up blaming others, which is truly a sin.
I am excited to move ahead and find new ways to do things that I felt overwhelmed with and honestly, hopeless. I can feel empowered and transformed. His grace is sufficient and I know that He desires me to change.
Thank you for joining me in this journey and allowing me to be vulnerable and honest with my faults. We are all in the together!
Do you have a word for 2015? I would love to hear it!