Learning to Love the Margins

I have been mourning the loss of the morning nap since December. My daughter, now two, is only on one nap per day, after lunch. I think I am finally ready to move on, but it hasn’t been easy. I had a routine that included 5 to 6 hours of focused, get-stuff-done time each day. It happened gradually, starting with a shorter morning nap some days, back to normal others. Then some days the morning nap was just a no-go. Nope. Not. Gonna. Happen. Then, before I knew it, it was altogether GONE!

I went through all of the normal grieving phases; guilt, resentment, frustration, depression.

How in the world was I going to get anything done now? Only ONE nap!? Is that even fair? Where’s the rulebook?

The past few weeks I have been learning to embrace the margins. And drink less caffeinated beverage. Yes, those two things actually go together; in order to make it to the margins I needed to 1) make the decision and 2) give myself a fighting chance (i.e. less caffeine means better night sleep means waking up early might actually happen. . . ). The margins that work for me are before my daughter wakes up, or after she goes to bed. Oh yeah, or that ONE nap after lunch.

So, I’ve been trying to get up earlier to get started on things that matter to me. Things like spending time reading my Bible, talking to God, writing, exercising, and drinking that one blessed caffeinated beverage for the day.

I tried to buck the system for two years, but it just wasn’t possible to build dreams, stay healthy, and connect to God without finding some margins. As I write this I have squeezed in a ‘margin’ to write while my daughter plays in the tub. Win-Win: She gets clean, I get to write! I am sitting on the toilet seat, feet propped up on the training potty, typing this brilliant encouragement to you!

I am learning what I need to be a sane, happy, productive person and mommy. I am also learning that I absolutely must make the time for those things intentionally.

One of the areas I see people struggle with is that they don’t know what they are moving towards, so they don’t intentionally move in that direction. When we do not have a vision for our lives, we will not know what to be intentional about. Let me share what God has shown me about this idea:

If people can’t see what God is doing, they stumble all over themselves; But when they attend to what he reveals, they are most blessed. Proverbs 29:18, MSG

and…

Where there is no vision [no redemptive revelation of God], the people perish; but he who keeps the law [of God, which includes that of man] — blessed (happy, fortunate, and enviable) is he. Proverbs 29:18, AMP

In Colorado we have irrigation ditches. The ditches in my town run north to south, through the ranch land, into town, down each street of most neighborhoods. These ditches bring water from the streams and rivers up the valley so that we can use it to water our lawns and gardens in town. 

5731636842_1acd1d087f_oOne day, while meditating the verses I just shared, God gave me a picture of some ranch-land with a ditch running through it. The ditch provided a channel for the water to move and get where it needed to go. Animals could drink from it. Farmers could water with it. Then he showed me a picture of that same field, without the ditch. The water had no course to run, it was ‘spilled’ all over the field, and was not helpful. It was not getting beyond that field, it was not useful to water the garden or animals with, it just ran, without direction or purpose, until the ground absorbed it all.

That is what a life without vision or purpose looks like. A person without vision does not know what to say ‘yes’ to or what to say ‘no’ to. A person without vision does not know what to be intentional about as they go through each day. A person without vision is not motivated to be intentional about creating margins for the things that are important to pursuing that vision. 

If you’re finding yourself “stumbling all over yourself” in life, maybe it’s time to evaluate your ‘ditch’. Is there a vision for your life? Or maybe, some debree has clogged the ditch and the water can no longer flow there.

When you begin to have a dream, a vision for your life, you will begin moving forward with purpose, and doing what needs to be done to walk in the life God has shown you. When you have a vision, you will be sure to find the margins in your life to make sure that you are intentionally moving toward that vision and purpose!

thanks for reading, 

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