makers logo

Room for Margin

by Rachel Cross

One day last year, I noticed that I was constantly answering the question, “How are you?” with “Busy, so busy!” I was traveling for work and fun, hustling with a full project load for my clients, engaged in leading a community group, and keeping up the full social life my Enneagram Type 7 lives for. None of these things were bad or harmful. In fact, the activities were good and some even necessary. Still, I didn’t like that answer I kept giving — “busy.” It felt disconnected and disconcerting. It didn’t leave margin for spiritual disciplines outside of a quick morning reading and prayer time. It stifled my ability to be spontaneous when needs suddenly arose with friends or family.

I knew that busyness was a choice in my case — not some circumstance out of my control. It’s something our culture values though I myself don’t find any real virtue in it. And I knew that my busyness made it harder to connect with the source of light and love and all good things — Jesus.

So I made a conscious decision to stop the madness, which required that I stop living that way. I took a purposeful six weeks off from travel, where I didn’t even go away for the weekend. I limited after-work, social meetups to two times a week (down from four to five). I picked up new spiritual practices including meditation and solitude that forced me to pause.

The truth is that we make time for the things that are important to us.

Today, I still struggle with filling up my calendar with too much (especially during this busy holiday season), but I’ve learned to time block my days to make sure I check off the necessary things. It’s different on any given day but includes things like doing a daily study with friends who text what we’re learning each morning, contemplative writing, practicing yoga, or getting out into nature to marvel at God’s creation. I say no (more often) to things even if I will suffer major FOMO because I know, ultimately, slowing down benefits my body and my mind.

Really, truly resting in who Jesus is in a deep and meaningful way requires a setting of intention: a mindfulness to say no to good to make room for great. And like everything we practice, it will become a habit you can’t live without.

Leave a comment