Is there a formula for recovering “Margin” in our daily lives? Dr. Richard Swenson describes it this way: “Power – Load = Margin” (Swenson, Margin, pages 70+).
“Power” is the amount of energy, skills, time, strength, faith, and other resources in our “plus column.”
“Load” is made up of factors as work, problems, obligations, expectations, commitments, debt, conflicts, etc.
When the load is greater than our power, we operate on negative margin. Over a long period of time this will lead to burnout.
The problem with margin is that it is “semivisible.” We have trouble keeping track of where we are in relation to the above formula in any particular area of life. So how do we keep closer track of our margin in the basic areas of life (personal, relational, financial, vocational, etc)?
Not to be simplistic, but margin can be retained through vision and planning. When we develop vision we are looking ahead to see precisely where God seems to be leading us, and we decide to move in that direction (rather than in several directions at once).
This leads to the need for planning. As we read the Proverbs we learn a lot about “prudence,” which, according to Webster’s Dictionary, is “ability to govern and discipline oneself by the use of reason.” When we “plan” we apply our reasoning abilities to our schedule and our use of resources to ensure that our “load” does not overwhelm our “power.”
Bridge Ministries, Inc. has developed a basic planning process called LifeBridge to help people retain or recover Margin and, even more importantly, to find and fulfill their calling every day. For 15 years we have helped hundreds of people develop a basic Life plan, creatiing a practical blueprint (purpose, mission, and vision )for their lives. We now specialize in LifeBridge Coaching, and this coming year will be conducting two LifeBridge Weekends at the BMI Oasis – one for Pastors, one for laypersons. Let us know if you or your Pastor would like to join us! You can read more about LifeBridge here.