I finally finished a great book called “Margin” written by Dr. Richard Swenson. My mother-in-law, Margaret, gave me this book last year and I have been reading it off and on since then. I have to confess that I’m pretty bad about starting about 5 books at a time and reading them simultaneously. It really isn’t a very efficient way to read books and I very recently decided I am no longer going to do that. I’m going to finish one at a time. I’m also trying to set aside more time for reading because it unfortunately gets pushed to the back burner a lot of the time.
So anyway, I just finished this book Sunday afternoon. It’s a great book with really good analogies and reminders about how much we need to slow down. The author is a medical doctor who has seen many of the effects of our fast-paced and stressful lives. Swenson writes this book with the intention to help all of us develop more “margin” in our lives. He does not want us living “marginless” lives, which many Americans are doing.
Here are some of my favorite quotes from the book:
“Discerning Christians have long known that God is not impressed with our wealth, education, or power. Nevertheless, we have labored eargerly in those fields. What if, instead, we were to begin measuring our progress not by our wealth but by our virtue; not by our education but by our humility; and not by our power but by our meekness?”
“We should keep our needs low, our generosity high, and our expectations heavenward.”
“God is in love with his creation…..your being pursued by love. He courted you; He followed you; He loved you. If you go to work or school or church, He is there. If you go to the edge of the universe or to the borders of hell, He is there. If you go deep inside yourself, He is there. In the dark of the night, in your depression, He is there. On your deathbed, when you don’t want anybody to leave you, He is there. If you look behind you or before you, He is there, waiting to be allowed entrance into your life.”
“To be a follower of Christ means we should follow Him. No one lived a simpler, more unencumbered life than He. His birth was spartan, and His life was free from the ties of possessions or money. He was born with nothing, lived with little, and died with nothing. His simplicity was not accidental. Jesus could have chosen any standard, yet He chose to live simply.”
That last quote really sums it up. I think we get so bogged down with “stuff” that we want or wish we had or wish we could do or that we are trying to do or trying to manage or stressing out about. We really need to step back and look at all the areas of our lives (physical, emotional and spiritual) and find ways to simplify and create more margin in our lives!