No Margins

We began this blog talking about community, depth and technology. And if you’re like me, you may be at the point where you are asking the question, “So what?” So let me give you an example of how all of this affects my life day-in and day-out.

A few weeks ago, I had one of those days where I felt like I was pulled in all sorts of different directions. I felt like I did a hundred completely different things without accomplishing anything. It was like looking at myself in a mirror, then smashing it to bits. I saw pieces of myself, but did not feel whole.

Part of this was due to the sheer volume of people and experiences I took in that day. It wasn’t so much the number of places I was in, because I was only in a few physical spaces.  But in those hours, I traveled a much greater digital course.

In my office I traversed a wide variety of roles and responsibilities by simply clicking through my inbox.

At lunch, I sat with another person, but kept an eye on each of the three or four text message conversations I was having.

Over coffee, I half listened to the person who had joined me and half re-formulated the Facebook message I started after showing up early and not being able to endure silence.

Between each destination I listened to podcasts, taking in information without internalizing anything but the comparison of myself to the speaker.

Then I got home and put in enough time with the wife and kid to not feel guilty for catching up on what I missed on Twitter and the blogosphere that day.

And finally, to “relax” I threw a TV show on and stared at a screen while just glancing at the people in my home.

My mind and my day felt like this:

I am sure on this page there are good and meaningful words, but if there are no margins or spaces to help make sense of it, what good are they? Margins help bring order, meaning, and purpose to the page. Without them, even good and meaningful words lose their power. It is just chaos that dizzies the brain.

So we may be physically present with someone, but the demand we allow digital relationships to have keeps us from experiencing true community in the moment.

We may take in great amounts of important information on God, but we don’t allow the time and space for it to sink in, saturate our hearts, and plunge us deeper into who He really is.

A life without margins keeps us from experiencing God and people at the depth we are intended to experience them. Even though we may be doing really good things, our busy and hurried activities lose purpose and meaning. All they really accomplish is scattering and fracturing little bits of our minds and hearts.

We need margin in our lives. How can we learn to create margin in the midst of a technologically saturated world, so we can experience God and others in a deeper and more meaningful way?

So, you have seen what a typical day without margins looks like from my perspective. How about you? What does your typical day look like? Can you relate? What parts of your day could use margins?

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11 thoughts on “No Margins

  1. My comment here today will reflect mostly upon the community of my marriage. Due to some recent surgery, my activities have been more restricted than usual. For one thing, climbing up and down stairs was forbidden for 2 weeks, and now is limited. All my art stuff lives in the basement. And usually my lap top. Result? Lap top brought upstairs by husband. And a few art supplies. But more importantly I spent more time on the couch with him (mostly watching tv, mind you). But at least twice now, he has commented on how he hopes I continue to improve quickly, but how much he has enjoyed my being upstairs with him more. So….. my goal is to try to limit the time I spend downstairs midst all my art supplies and technology to the daytime, and spend evenings upstairs with him. So there’s my margin for the day. And if you know me well at all….it’s a big one. Thanks guys, for what you’re doing here. Keep it up.

    • Thank you so much Joyce! That’s a beautiful perspective. Its amazing how many different things beyond technology keep us from being present – even good things! I am so glad both of you are recovering well. We appreciate your thoughts and insight. You and your husband are very special people and I am blessed to have you in my life, and we are all blessed you have your voice on our blog.

  2. Trevor,

    I totally get your message. We do need margins, customized for each person, but nonetheless a structure with margins is extremely helpful. Years ago, when I worked several jobs and was very busy multitasking in caring for my family, home, and everything that goes with it…my communication with others was crucial, and it was vital for me to be eye to eye/face to face with them rather than with the use of the phone or Internet. Most days I thrived and enjoyed the challenges…but some days, I teetered on overload. In those years we had cell phones and Internet too, but they weren’t utilized in the various ways they’re now because of the technology we’ve got at our fingertips. I’ve learned to prioritize and find a balance with everyday obligations. But mostly, I’ve chosen to simple tune things out and turn things off when it comes to technology — because if I don’t, it can consume me and I can’t stand that feeling of being controlled by anything or anyone. So, when I begin to feel dizzy by it all, I hit pause or turn it off to enjoy the silence. No worries…It will still be there when I turn it back on. Unless the end of the World happens. 😉

    • I love your thoughts Amy. I think structure and priority are huge in finding margins. I think most of the time our lives are cluttered by not saying “no” to certain things, and not giving e important things their priority. That can happen with or without technology. And sometimes just a simple pause really does create the margins. Thanks for your insight!

      • You’re welcome, thanks for sharing. And yes, it can definitely happen without technology. One of the things that I have to say “no” to and take a pause with, is my reading. That is my weakness. 🙂

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