This word, "margin," began showing up very prevalently in my life several weeks ago following a conversation my husband and I had about needing to make time during the week for us as individuals to do things we want to do. We had kind-of made a plan to implement this, and then, "margin" started showing up everywhere. The concept came up in sermons I heard and conversations I had. It was discussed on almost every podcast I listen to, both new episodes and ones I was catching up on, and even mentioned by name on a couple. Then, we started a worship team Bible study; the title? "Margin." I couldn't believe it. I thanked God over and over for such clarity. This message He was trying to convey was coming through more clearly than any of recent memory.
While it may be a sort of buzzword these days, and therefore, might seem fleeting like most trends, I think the concept of "margin" is very important. Creating time for your own enjoyment, personal development, hobbies, whatever it may be, can allow your brain to be used in a different way, your heart to be opened, your mind to be cleared, and your body (and dare I say, your soul) to be refreshed. Taking this time for yourself can allow you to reconnect with yourself, which in turn, can lead to better/stronger connections with those around you.
I realize this all might sound a little lofty or unrealistic. Me saying, "Take time to find yourself!" "Find some quiet space in your life!" "Do what you love!" might conjure thoughts of a girl in a sunny field of wildflowers with her face to the sun, a yogi in child's pose, or a leather chair and warm beverage, and you're rolling your eyes. You're thinking, "Yeah right. Who has time for that?!" There are certainly circumstances and seasons in life that seemingly make any downtime or spare moments impossible. Whether it's a matter of time, money, lack of childcare, whatever - this idea of "margin" can feel unattainable for many.
I've heard many times that you make time for the things you value most. I've read articles about the fact that we spend so much of our time doing things we don't actually need to spend time doing. Statistics show our screen time is off the charts. People are often heard saying, "I'm so busy!" and "I'm too busy!" and having to start saying no's, because they've said too many yes's.
It wasn't necessarily easy for us to find this "margin" time in our what-we-thought-was-already-pretty-full weekly schedule; it took some thought, effort, and a little trial-and-error. We've made it work, though, and are better for it! We are able to spend time doing the things that somehow got pushed completely off the "to-do" list by the more pressing items (By the way, it's still really difficult for me to not use "necessary," rather than "pressing" in that context. I'm still working on defining the things I want to do as necessary; to put "self care" in the "necessary" category; to prioritize myself right up there with everyone else.). We each get to spend a little time each week doing something that will refresh and recharge us.
So far, my personal margin time has been spent differently each week: I've gone bargain shopping with coupons in hand (one of my favorite things to do). I've watched shows (at home in the guest room with doors closed - haha). I've spent time stamping and organizing my stamping supplies (both things I enjoy). And, as may be obvious, I've written blog posts!
My husband's "margin" time has also looked different each week and always looks very different from my own, because we're different people with different personalities and interests. This is not to say that we don't enjoy spending time together. Nor has this "margin" time taken the place of our weekly date night or other quality time together. Rather, it is separate from and in addition to these things.
It IS possible to do this for yourself...and it's important! It doesn't have to cost money. It doesn't have to be out of the house (though if you're at home most of the day, I'd encourage you to make this a priority). It doesn't have to be super exciting, adventuresome, or new. It just needs to be what you want it to be, and for some of you, that might mean you need to let yourself figure out what that is, first.
I know this level of mandate is a little uncharacteristic of my posts, but as you've just read, this really means a lot to me. I feel so cliché saying it, but as I get older, I'm learning more and more about myself and what it takes for me to be at my healthiest. This is not something I'm working on alone; my husband has played a major role in this part of my personal development. Without his encouragement (sometimes it's had to be more strong than others), I wouldn't have ever considered allowing myself to prioritize myself (that's my Enneagram 2 showing...and that's a whole other blog post - haha). He's on his own journey, too, and I'm so proud of him. So thankful to get to do life together!
Anyway, please seriously consider this for yourself. I'm no expert, but would love to talk through it with you, if you want! Would love to hear anything you're willing to share.
Until next time, friends. ☺
With margin (because "margin-ly" is too close to "marginally"),