When margin is talked about, the conversation tends to stay on what/how to get rid of particular things in your life, but rarely is there talk on how to decide what stays. I think that is one of the main parts of determining whether we keep margin once we have it. It’s so easy to keep adding when things seem calm or less chaotic.
With the holiday season about to begin, and 2014 coming to a close, I thought it would be a great time to talk about a few questions that might be helpful to ask ourself before we make any commitments for ourself, family, friends, etc.
1. Is this something I am passionate about? Is it part of my core mission or purpose? (If you’ve never thought about your purpose or mission, maybe it’s something to ask God to help you discover or decide.) I am passionate about reading, writing and lettering, which I didn’t do much of in October, or September! I miss it. And those are things that I gain life, joy, and healthy pleasure from.
Or a different kind of example: I’ve become very fond of baking breads. And it’s something I think I’d like to implement into my weeks during the holiday season – something to share with friends and neighbors.
2. What obstacles will make this a challenge each week/month/year? Weekly activity overload, over-planning so that events even overlap. That kind of lifestyle rarely leaves room for an unhurried hour for reading or lettering.
It takes time and money to bake bread. Time spent in the grocery store, time prepping and baking. How will I utilize and plan out that time, making sure it doesn’t compromise other more important things?
3. What things can I do to be efficient with this new commitment? I’m the queen of putting on a movie or tv show while I’m cleaning or piddling around the house, but that often slows down the process; instead, I could clean without the tv on, with the hope of leaving space for a little writing.
Or maybe I can plan out recipes and ingredient lists in advance, and know when I’d like to bake them (Saturday mornings, or Sunday afternoons, when not much is going on).
4. Is there a chance that the size of the commitment will change or am I underestimating the commitment?
5. Is this something God wants me to be a part of? The reading, writing, and lettering I think He does want me to be a part of. Those are places I find rest, peace, joy; they give life. And they are places I discover and see and experience Him. The baking can be a way to serve my neighbors, to be generous and kind and thoughtful.
Praying about even little decisions is always important. J and I spent some time in prayer this morning, “God, we invite you into our moments, our decisions, our conversations.” We can ask God for wisdom, discernment… in the small choices as well as the big ones. We can pray for peace when we walk in His way, or pray He would stir our hearts if we have made the wrong decision.
Answering these things immediately before we even commit will help give us an accurate gauge for how something will alter our daily life balance. Asking these questions give us an opportunity to be intentional with our time, our energy, our resources without feeling exhausted or stretched too thin.
I underestimate the value of asking questions like this before I commit to something, but I’m learning how important it can be — to my life as well as my husband’s life.
Have you ever been in a season like this?