Unlike many in my family, I am not a great poker player. I had moved out of the house before the big poker tournaments began. However, one thing is consistent when I play. I am an all or nothing kind of player. I will either fold at the beginning or I almost always I am going to play the hand out. This works well for me sometimes. When the cards are running my way or the other players are playing as poorly as me this strategy can indeed be quite effective. But if one little thing goes wrong….if the cards aren’t so favorable or a new player joins the game: I am sunk. For this reason I don’t play poker;) However I live my life the same way I play poker. I am either all in or I’m not in at all. This style of life pursuits has its advantages. If I commit to you that I am going to do something, you can bet your bottom dollar I will do everything in my power to do it. If I am your friend, you know I will be loyal to you through thick and thin. If I believe in something fervently, then watch out world! I’m coming for you! In fact once I get going on something I leave myself no margin, whether it’s money, time or energy if I’m all in then I am ALL in. It is this that God has been working on in me this week.
This week was a rough week. We started the school week WAY behind in our lessons, hubby worked late almost every night, one of my little guys was sicker than sick for two full days and physically I was at one of the lowest points I have been at in a long time. In fact I spent an entire day unable to get off the sofa. My body hurt everywhere and I was completely exhausted, not tired but so exhausted that just standing up for a few minutes meant I had to sleep for at least an hour. I don’t often talk about these times because quite honestly I find them annoying and embarrassing. I hate having weaknesses and I hate even more allowing others to see them. My house was/ is trashed (we’re slowly getting it back together) and I was at my wits end.
Thursday came around and started out well compared to the rest of the week. I was feeling better so I set to work. I cleaned, made challah for sukkot (Feast of Tabernacles), taught the kids school (caught up on a lot), made a special dinner for Sukkot , and was getting ready for our home group when I just completely crashed. My husband looked at me and asked what was wrong. I burst into tears and told him to take the kids out of the house for a drive because I NEEDED a few moments to myself. I just sat in a quiet, empty house and cried. I was used up, done; I had nothing left to give. I took a long, hot shower and cried some more. I turned on an old movie on TCM and cried again (yeah I know weakness again…I hate that). My hubby got home; we put the boys to bed and watched some TV. He looked over at me and said “You know honey you never leave yourself any margin in any area of your life. You jump in with both feet and run until there is nothing left to give.” Right then in there I felt that convicting tug of the Holy Spirit.
Friday was another crazy busy day. I had my Rheumatologist appointment in Dallas. Dallas is really not very far from our house (around 40 miles or so) but the drive can be long simply because of traffic. Once the doctor saw me he placed me on more medications, medications I have been fighting going on simply because I hate weakness (I know a theme right?). He looked at me and said without an inflection of any kind in his voice “You are going to go on this medication because you need to give yourself a break. You need to sleep and there is no reason for you to be in this kind of pain.” Again I felt the Holy Spirit gently speaking to my heart, give yourself a break, and leave yourself some margin in your life.
On the way home from the doctors a car lost control and nearly hit me. He spun across four lanes of traffic, coming so close to me that if my window was down I could have reached out and touched him. I always leave a lot of room between me and the other vehicles on the road. You drive 95 or 495 enough times around northern VA or DC you figure this out pretty quickly. Again I felt that still small voice: When you leave margin you can better deal with the crises that arise.
So this weekend I gave myself permission to leave margin. My plan had been to rush around cleaning like a mad woman, catch up on more school work and have a generally stressful weekend. Instead I enjoyed a wonderful Saturday with my boys. They got haircuts, we ate out and when we were home we chilled out. Today I had wonderful morning at church, a leisurely lunch with my family and friends and then went to get my hair styled. I gave myself margin, I started my medicines and gave my body a break and I am in a much better place as I start this school week.
I don’t know if any of you, my friends, are living a life without margin. I don’t know if you cram your page of life so full of stuff that you’re writing up the sides (Like me). If you are living full speed ahead I would encourage you to take a moment to breathe, to reassess where you can give yourself a break, to leave a little margin. I know I will need to be reminded of this many times in the future. We can walk this road together. Lots of love-Kristine