Slow living is beautiful. To know you actually have time for what matters most. But that will only happen when we create margin in our lives. So this post is precisely about that: how to create margin.
What does that mean exactly, though? Well, creating margin is about not over-scheduling. It’s about doing fewer activities, but giving each one more time. It’s about aligning our schedules to God’s will for our lives. It’s about living more slowly and intentionally.
Yet, in today’s culture, slow living is often seen as a luxury only a few can afford. That’s the narrative of the world around us, anyway.
I’m here to tell you, it’s not true! Slow living is not a luxury for the retired.
In fact, slow living is the very lifestyle Jesus had. He was busy, yes. He was in demand, yes. But Jesus also spent time in silence and solitude. Jesus made time for people. Jesus lived intentionally. Jesus didn’t rush from one thing to another. He lived a life of purposeful work and blessed rest in God.
I want to become more like Jesus! Are you with me? 🙂
The key to living the Jesus way is to live according to the priorities God has for you. Not to hustle around, trying to end all the world’s problems, and not trying to be everything to everyone.
Ok, so let’s look at some practical tips on how to create margin for the things God has for our lives: our spouse, our children, our ministry, our work.
Listen to the episode, or scroll down to read the article!
1. Prioritize time with God
Begin each day by setting aside time for prayer and reading the Bible. This intentional focus on God will help you grow in the knowledge of who God is and help you discern His will for your life.
If possible, go out into nature or go somewhere in the house that’s quiet and distraction-free. I usually get up before the rest of my family, and I have a quiet time of prayer and Scripture reading on a comfy chair near my living-room window.
If you have young children who wake up early, consider reading some Scripture verses and praying even with them close by, and then setting aside a time later in the day for a quiet time with God. (Naptimes usually work great!)
2. Evaluate and align your schedule
Look at how you spend your time and identify which activities need more of your time (for instance, spending time with your children or being involved with church) and which activities consume too much time and distract you from your walk with God and His purposes for your life.
Set clear goals and establish a schedule that includes specific time slots for activities, such as gathering with church, participating in small groups, volunteering, or having time alone with God. In my experience, it helps to write this down somewhere for future reference.
I did this recently and what I found was that I was spending too much time on social media, work admin, and email and that was actually distracting me from spending time with my children after school, spending time in prayer with my husband and being missional with other mamas. So I realigned my schedule!
3. Say no to nonessential commitments
Learn to discern between opportunities that align with God’s specific will for your life and those that don’t.
If you want to live a slower life, you need to understand what things in your life are over-arching priorities (God, family, job), which things are seasonal commitments (helping out at the school APA, for instance), and which things to let go of because they no longer work in this season of life.
Although as Christian mamas we all have the same overarching priorities, there will also be specific ways God wants to use us in ministry – certain volunteering or church commitments, online ministry, specific calls to evangelism. In order to live according to God’s will, we will have to learn how to create margin for those activities, and thus we will need to say no to other commitments.
4. Practice Sabbath
Embrace the biblical concept of Sabbath, which emphasizes setting aside a dedicated day each week for rest, worship and delight in God.
When you intentionally take time to rest, recharge, and do life-giving worshipful activities, you grow in the knowledge of God’s goodness and sovereignty.
We began practising Sabbath intentionally as a family back in February 2023, and I can say without exaggeration that it has messed with my life. In a good way! By stopping once a week, God has began revealing to me the areas of my life which I try to control instead of trusting in Him.
I’m still a work in progress, but what I can say is that I’ve come to better understand how my entire life needs to be about abiding in Christ, instead of hurrying around trying to be productive.
5. Embrace Christian community
As Jesus following mamas, it’s important we surround ourselves with like-minded Christians who encourage our spiritual growth and hold us accountable. It’s important we cultivate deep, meaningful relationships that spur us on toward love and good deeds (Hebrews 10:24).
Spending time with fellow believers helps us in our walk with God because we often have blind spots regarding areas of control, stress and hurry.
Whenever I spend time with other Christians, I’m often challenged by their walk with God and that actually spurs me on in my walk too.
Creating breathing room and a slower life is not a luxury for those who don’t work. It’s the way of Jesus. Jesus worked hard. Yet, He also rested. When Jesus worked, He did so intentionally. Jesus gave people His time. Let’s then learn to live slower and more meaningful lives around God’s priorities.