Chronic busyness is brokenness, not a badge of honor. At face value, I think most of us would agree with this statement, though the actions of our lives tell another story. Margin in our lives is essential, but often it’s not until we feel burned out that we notice our need. Margin has been defined as the space between our load and our limits. Thankfully, we were never created to run at our limit forever. Our heavenly Father, in His infinite wisdom, gave us the gift of the sabbath day for our benefit. He rested on the seventh day of creation, not because He needed to, but because He knew that’s what we would need to thrive. If we start our work by starting from rest, we live in His original created intent. Unfortunately, We live the opposite and pay the price for it. Though it doesn’t make human sense to cease from work, and “give up” 14% of our weekly potential work/earning/striving time, this “sacrifice” actually serves us best and reminds of us of our need for Him. Margin, or keeping the sabbath is really about surrender. Will we willingly discipline ourselves to slow down, cease striving, and truly rest? If we do, we reap the benefit of a healthier mind, body, and soul, while still maintaining a productivity that we can sustain.Look at the life of Jesus, do you ever see Him in a hurry? I don’t! In fact, Jesus was often criticized for being too slow. You took 30 years before beginning your ministry?! Your first move after being baptized and beginning ministry was to be led into the desert to be tempted for 40 days?! You took so long to get to your friend Lazarus when he was on his deathbed that he died before you got there?! Yes. Jesus’ patterns of life and ministry make little sense to us, but you cannot deny the legacy and productivity of his unhurried life. His invitation to us in Matthew 11:28-30 is to work “with” Him not “for” Him. To learn from Him, and to get rest from Him.So here’s a fancy little acrostic to help remind us of what we need to do to live a life with “space” in it.

S – Slow Down

Be Still, and let your heart catch up with your body. Set aside busyness, technology, and running to sit. “Be still, and Know that He is God.”

P – Pray

Start with listening. Allow the Fathers heart to be translated to you by the Holy Spirit living in you. Pray the Fathers heart Back To Him allowing Jesus to intercede and take those prayers back to the Father. It’s so cool how the Trinity can and will be actively involved in our prayer life! Don’t know where to start? Pray His words and promises back to Him!

A – Assess & Prioritize

Without a constant guarding, the complexities of life will continue to creep in and overwhelm you. We must regularly lay each category of our life “in the middle of the floor” and then prioritize the main things in first. Leave margin to be interrupted and slowed down.

C – Confess

Confess where you’ve missed it, and commit to realigning your attempts do it your way, to His way. His way is always better, and for our best! “If you confess your sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all righteousness.” (1 John 1:9) we have to see chronic busyness as sin though, no excuses. Cop to it, learn from it, and realign with the most excellent way.

E – Establish & Maintain Christlike Rhythms

Jesus spent a good portion of His time “getting away” to a solitary place to pray. Before big ministry decisions He sought the Fathers heart, and after said moments He sought His applause from His Father too. Start and end in the secret place! We can live unhurried when we know the heart of the Father, and only say and do what we have been instructed to say and do! Take a look at Jesus’ daily rhythms, weekly rhythms, seasonal rhythms, and seek to emulate His example. Establish personal and family life rhythms that work for you, but don’t just talk about it, do it!

Love has a Pace, and it’s slow. Love is patient. Our God IS Love, and though He doesn’t have to, He walks with us. Notice, He doesn’t ask us to run with him. Remember his invitation in Matthew 11:28-30. Learn, and live those “unfixed rhythms of grace.” There’s no doubt that we or the people we love will ever be sorry that we have made this our priority in life. Remember the sabbath and keep it holy…and keep in mind that there is a needed benefit to keeping commandment.

Rest. Cease from work, and trust that He’s in control. The work that didn’t get done can wait, it’ll never be “done.” Receive the rest only He can give, and maybe you’ll have the margin to look out for the marginalized.