Creating Margin in Your Life: Part 2


As soon as my husband walked into the bedroom one evening, I yelled, “Power minus load equals margin!” I like to see the look of perplexity on my husband’s face when I say the punch line first without introduction. So I do it on purpose just to get a reaction out of him.

Unexpectedly, he said, “Power without load will blow your fuses.”

Now it was my turn to look perplexed.

“No, honey, I’m talking about this book, Margin. The author defines power and load:

  • Power is made up of factors such as skills, time, emotional strength, physical strength, spiritual vitality, finances, social supports, and education.
  • Load combines internal factors (such as personal expectations and emotional disabilities) and external factors (such as work, relational problems and responsibilities, financial obligations, and civic involvement.)

When our load is greater than our power, we enter into negative margin status, that is, we are overloaded…

When our power is greater than our load, however, we have margin.” I read this statement in a “ta-da” sort of way.

I immediately started listing ways that my husband was in negative margin status. He listened for a while until I paused. Then he said, “Let me know when you can fix that…” and walked away.

“There must be some way to fix it. Here is the formula. All we have to do is increase our power and decrease our load,” I shouted, since he was now in another room.

I grabbed a sheet of paper and began listing the load side of my life:

  • homeschooling
  • running a home business
  • paying bills
  • relieving pressure from my husband
  • cooking, cleaning, laundry
  • prayer
  • ministering to other people
  • strained relationships

Then I listed how to increase my power:

  • spending time with God, feasting on His Word and opening my heart up to God in silence
  • asking God what to do every moment, yielding authority to God
  • spending time with my husband, pouring into him, connecting, planning date nights and getaways, and thinking about what his priorities are and doing them
  • spending time bonding with my children, where our relationship feels solid and strong
  • improving my skills and knowledge through reading
  • exercising regularly through Zumba
  • connecting to my sisters and closest friend, who always encourage me in my walk with God
  • repairing any strained relationships through more humility on my part
  • rest

I encourage you to make your own lists of load and power, and try to increase your power, even if you can’t decrease your load.

(Stay tuned for Part 3, Practical Ways to Restore Margin in our Lives…)

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14 Responses to “Creating Margin in Your Life: Part 2”

  1. Sonja Ceri says:

    Very nice article. I am a to-do-list type of girl and I like your idea of making a list with your loads and your power. The problem contains the solution and by listing power and loads you can find what would balance the loads out. Thanks for sharing !

    • Susan says:

      A list really helps because it can hold you accountable to actually do things that increase the power in your life so that you are not always running on empty.

  2. Great exercise. I’m going to try this. I’m definatly on overload!

  3. Kathleen says:

    I love how you listed ways to increase your power – starting with spending time with God. So often we stop at making a list of everything wrong in our lives.

  4. Julie says:

    Helpful advice, Susan! I need to carve more margin into my life also. I’m useless for anyone if I have too much going on.

  5. Chrissie says:

    Ooooh this is good! I can feel a new list coming on!

  6. Ooooohhhh. What an excellent list idea. I love the dialogue between you and your husband. We have very similar conversations at my house. 🙂

  7. DONNA MILLER says:

    I like the way you explained this. Very easy to visualize and understand the ways we get into negative overload. I feel like that’s when my fuse explodes lol. I would love to be in a power without load state. That would be complete bliss …

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