Building Margin

Recently, I’ve been meditating about how faith begins when we hear the voice of God.  As I was drinking a cup of coffee this morning, I thought about how busyness in our lives is one of the biggest hindrances people have to hearing God’s voice which enables them to live in faith. This is why we all must build margin into our lives. What do I mean? 

Life is busy: there is working, seeing friends, helping family, fixing stuff around the house, cutting the grass, trying to plan a cool something or other to do with our spouse,  taking care of the dog, etc., etc……These are all good things we should do.  The catch is when we get so busy we are unprepared for the unexpected.  It’s the surprises such as flat tires, unexpected guests, and unplanned crises in our lives that can throw us into overdrive.  When this happens we get so busy focusing on the cares of life we are dealing with that our mind can leave the presence of God.  

The cure for dealing with the problem of busy and the unexpected is intentionally building margin into our lives. This is planned time that intentionally has no plan.  Too many of us have every minute of our day and week planned to the minute so if anything unexpected comes up we are overwhelmed.  We all should have gaps in our days and weeks that are blank space.  This can be can be downtime so we can rest or to deal with unexpected events in life which are guaranteed to happen. When we have margin it is easier to live from the presence of God while doing life instead of becoming overwhelmed.

Look at Luke 21:34 And take heed to yourselves, lest at any time your hearts be overcharged with surfeiting, and drunkenness, and cares of this life, and so that day come upon you unawares.

Jesus commanded us to take heed or pay attention to ourselves lest at any time our hearts become overcharged.  An overcharged heart is overstimulated and will struggle to find a place of rest.  This is important to understand because Jesus speaks to our heart.  If our hearts are overstimulated or overwhelmed we will struggle to hear His voice when He is speaking. 

Notice in this passage that the day the comes upon us while we are unaware.  The cares of life usually creep up when we aren’t expecting it. This is why we must be intentional about building margin.  That way when the unexpected happens we are ready.  Also, don’t get too tripped up on the phrase drunkenness or surfeiting (carousing) that is used in this passage.  I’ve met a ton of Christians who will never drink a drop of alcohol, but will consistently get drunk on and carouse with the problems of life and cares of this world.  This causes their heart to become overcharged with problems.

An example of becoming overwhelmed by life and missing the voice of God is Martha in Luke 10:38-42.  In the story, Jesus was at Martha’s house teaching, but she was so busy serving people she got overwhelmed and thought Jesus didn’t care about her and then she started barking orders at Him.  If we are honest, we’ve all done that at some point and time.  

The contrast to Martha was her sister Mary who sat at Jesus’s feet.  She had all the same problems as Martha.  There were a bunch of people at her house who came to hear the most famous preacher in the land, but she didn’t let their needs overwhelm her.  She knew her strength came from from hearing Jesus’s voice so she sat at His feed and heard what He had to say.  We need to maintain this perspective when life tries to overwhelm us.

As I close I want to encourage you to build margin into your schedule.  Be intentional about having down time or free time so you have time to hear when the Lord speaks.  If you have every minute of your day planned with activities, you are too busy. Figure out how to cut some stuff out so you have time to rest. Jesus has some important things to say to you, so its important that you position your heart to hear.

I hope this article about a major key to hearing God’s voice helped you. If you’d like to learn more, check out this message I taught at Grace Life Church.

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