Category Archives: Margin

Are we settling for more and missing the best?

Our Indiana taxes came back different from what I had figured because I missed one newly required document. Ugh! A local office helped with the proper form to file an amendment.

When the gal helping me commented on not understanding why this new form was required she also added that just a few years ago we were suppose to be headed towards doing away with paper forms – an attempt to simplify the process.

I’ve heard that before in regard to other areas of life but I have yet to see much evidence that life is getting any more simple. This is perhaps most evident in the field of electronics.

With each new gadget or app we are empowered to walk around with the world at our fingertips. New technologies are great, but they don’t automatically make our life more meaningful.

We can do life differently!

Enjoying simplicity is counter to the message our consumer culture is barking from all angles. Society constantly tries to manipulate us into buying and consuming more than we need.

I see restoration-minded Christians bucking the trend. Instead of buying things they don’t really need, they fast periodically from those habits that suck them in to this alternate reality.

Certainly, this way of life often takes more effort and creativity on the front end, requiring their full imagination and a willingness to part with unnecessary comforts. But in the long run, they seem to be creating a more sustainable and less contrived existence.
~ Excerpted from The Next Christians by Gabe Lyons

Jesus came to bring us the opportunity to experience real life through a relationship with the Father. But is that the core of our existence?

Take some time to pause and reflect on what it is that gets the best of or the bulk of your attention and energy.

In the scheme of our rhythm of life how much attention are we giving to pursuing greater intimacy with the Lord?

Are we enjoying His presence throughout the day or are we preoccupied with the stuff of life?

Are we settling for more and missing the best?

***
© Richard Alvey and iLife Journey, 2012. All rights reserved.

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Filed under Choices, Consumerism, Divine presence, God, intimacy with the Lord, Life in General, Margin, Priorities, Relationship with God, Stewardship

More than just a change in scenery

Last week Susan and I enjoyed the sunshine and warmth of Florida. Eli, our oldest, is starting an 8-month internship with Disney World near Orlando so I took Monday and Tuesday to ride down with him. Our time together was great!

We arrived Tuesday afternoon just ahead of Susan’s flight. Eli was busy with getting settled in but had enough space for us to enjoy some activities in the area together before Susan and I flew back on Saturday.

Besides the sunshine and warmth, the real treat was the change of pace and chance to relax. Susan and I had time to step away from the busy routine and reflect on different aspects of life; things that get lost in hectic daily activities.

Do you know which of the Ten Commandments is given the most amount of space in Scripture? The most attention?

Keeping the Sabbath!

It’s not about a certain day of the week, but the rhythm of pausing from the regular routine long enough to give our relationship with God some serious attention.

At it’s core, Sabbath is a reminder that God is God and we are not!

Most of us would quickly acknowledge that we are not God, but we tend to live as if we are – as if it all depends on us. We worry, we fret, we pace, we lose sleep at night… and we always think we know how things should be handled!

Few of us can spend part of every week in Florida but we can all carve out space daily, weekly and monthly to stop and spend time with God, letting Him remind us that He is in charge and has everything under control.

The Sabbath was put in place by God because He knew how easily we slide behind the steering wheel and try to take charge. Perhaps that’s one reason God inspired David to write in Psalm 46:10…

Be still and know that I am God.

***

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Filed under intimacy with the Lord, Margin, Reflection, Rest, Trusting God

Guarding our most valuable asset – Part 2

“Guard your heart above all else,
for it determines the course of your life.”

~ Proverbs 4:23 (NLT)

Yesterday I blogged on why it is so critical to guard our hearts, today I want to touch on how we can do that. Taking care of our physical heart requires discipline; habits of exercise and eating right. The same dynamic is true for guarding the heart that King Solomon is referring to here in Proverbs. Here are some suggestions.

The Discipline of Reflection. Like a bad amusement park ride the pace of life just keeps getting faster and faster. Making time to pause periodically and reflect is crucial.

We live in a busy and noisy world that will suck the life out of us if we let it. This is why it is essential that we intentionally pull away to a quiet place, pause, and reflect. If Jesus needed to do this (Mark 1:35), how much more important is it for us?

The Discipline of Rest. It was no accident that God took the seventh day of creation to do nothing with Adam and Eve. Reread the 10 commandments and notice which one gets the most attention. (Hint: Remembering the Sabbath – Exodus 20)

We were designed by our Creator to need rest. Eight hours of sleep. One day every seven to relax. Don’t skip vacation time! Without rest our judgment gets blurry and the heart is more vulnerable to attack. Make rest a priority and write it in on your calendar.

The Discipline of Recreation. There is a difference between amusement and recreation. There is nothing wrong with amusement but it can leave us more tired than before we started. Recreation, on the other hand, are those activities that recharge us.

Reading a good book. Creating something with wood or crafts or even baking. Playing an instrument simply to enjoy it. Spend time working on that project that’s been waiting all this time. It will be different for everyone but the common thread is that the activity refreshes our soul.

The Discipline of Relationships. We are wired by a relational God to be in relationship with Him and others. Our level of involvement with others will vary depending on our personality but we need others with which to share the journey.

Make time to deepen important relationships and do all that you can to keep them healthy. They do more to strengthen our heart than we realize. And our most important relationship with the one we pursue with God!

These disciplines will help guard our heart and our heart will direct the course of our journey in life!

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Filed under Determination, Friendship, Heart, intimacy with the Lord, Margin, Recreation, Reflection, Rest

Every year about this time

Room to breathe…space…margin.

It goes by various names but refers to the same issue. The tendency for the activities of life to pick up steam and become overwhelming. Despite all the delight and joy of this season there always seems to be the issue of losing the real focus of Christmas due to a frantic pace. The reasons are countless but the outcome is always the same.

  • When we lose margin, we lose perspective.
  • When we lose margin, we lose gratitude.
  • When we lose margin, we lose peace of mind.
  • When we lose margin, we lose sensitivity to the Holy Spirit.
  • When we lose margin, we lose emotional reserves.
  • When we lose margin, we lose intimacy with the Lord.

It’s the start of a new week.

Christmas is right around the corner.

When are you planning to slow down or make space this week to regain or maintain a sense of balance?

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Filed under Christmas, Gratitude, intimacy with the Lord, Margin, Peace