[Margin]

Restoring Overloaded Lives

We rush, because we’re running late. We work extra, because we have payments to make. We’re exhausted from dealing with difficult people. Our calendars are crowded, and the pace has become unmanageable. What do we need? Margin. And God provides us with margin. This fall we’ll learn how to reclaim that margin and let God restore our overloaded lives.


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September 26

Symptoms of Margin-less Living


Ecclesiastes 2:4-11

We’re thankful for our modern conveniences: washing machines and dishwashers, microwaves and automobiles, online bill pay and text messaging. With all this time-saving technology, you’d think we’d have loads of free time. Instead, our lives get squeezed to the limit. Dr. Richard Swenson, MD says, “Many people commit to a 120 percent life and wonder why the burden feels so heavy.” Did you know that our margin-less lives are symptomatic of a bigger issue? Curious about what it is?


October 3

Restoring Emotional Margin


Mark 6:30-34, 45-46

Has your car ever run out of gas? You feel a few halting chugs, and then it dies. You glance at your previously unnoticed fuel gauge and flashing dash light, as you coast to the shoulder. And what about our emotional tanks? Often, we’re not aware of our depleted emotional status until we feel desperate, or angry, or depressed. How do we follow Jesus’s example and wisely learn to replenish our reserves and maintain emotional margin?


October 10

Restoring Physical Margin


Mark 4:35-41

Sir Isaac Newton famously said, “A body in motion stays in motion.” He was talking about physics, but it applies to our physical bodies, as well. If we keep them moving, they’ll keep us moving. Would you like the energy you need to live well? Here’s Dr. Swenson’s Rx: more sleep, less food, more movement. Throughout history, that’s what people normally did. What makes us think we can change that formula now? Let’s stop and ask, how did Jesus live?


October 17

Restoring Time Margin


Luke 19:1-10

Time is precious. And discretionary time is most precious of all. Reclaiming margin in our schedules will require some difficult decisions. But it’s important that we make them, because a swamped schedule leaves no room for unforeseen opportunities God may send our way. That’s why Dr. Swenson says, “The clock and the Christ are not close friends.” What would happen if Jesus were Lord of your calendar? How would he help you make some margin?


October 24

Restoring Financial Margin


2 Corinthians 9:6-11

Fifty-nine percent of Americans live paycheck to paycheck, reported a well-known study in 2019. In other words, most people have no financial margin. For some it’s brought on by a low-paying job, or a healthcare crisis. But nearly all of us have impulsive habits that eat away at our financial margin. On the other extreme, Jesus warned us about the dangers of accumulating more and more wealth. What if Jesus was Lord of your money? What joy would this bring?


October 31

Health Through Contentment and Simplicity


1 Timothy 6:6-10

If we are to restore a healthy margin to our lives, we will need God to show us the path of contentment and simplicity. We cannot achieve these spiritual qualities on our own. They grow from the peace of Christ within. What if godly contentment became about desiring less rather than getting more? Could you live with that?


November 7

Health Through Balance and Rest


Matthew 11:28-30

A gifted person obsessed with one goal can accomplish seemingly super-human feats. But it often comes at great personal cost. We need not squeeze every drop of achievement out of every day. The wisdom of God’s Word teaches us a balance of activity and rest, sociality and solitude, loudness and quietness. God even built balance into the seven-day week. Are you ready to embrace this way of life?