– You know, one of the most common complaints that I hear today is this, “I’m overloaded.” (Rick laughs) “I just can’t get it all done I can’t catch up “I need a break “I’m overloaded.” Now on your message notes there at the top I’ve listed some commonly sourced areas of overload In other words, we are often overloaded from too many activities If you are a parent with kids in school right now, you know what I’m talking about You’re chauffeuring back and forth to activities There are too many choices in the world There are too many changes in the world We get overloaded from too much work, too much debt, too many worries We get overloaded from too much information from the internet and from the media Too much accessibility in your life The pace of life The speed of life has gotten faster and faster So how overloaded are people today? Well, let me just give you some statistics People today sleep 2 1/2 fewer hours on average each night than they did 100 years ago So we’re getting less sleep The average work week in America is actually longer than it was in the 1960s We’re working longer hours We’re getting less sleep The average office worker, they did a study and said that 36 hours of work is piled up on the average office worker’s desk, and they spend about three hours a week just sorting through to find different things You know, I think in my own life I have many different email accounts, and I checked one this morning which has got a lot of junk mail account in it Over 21,000 unread emails in that particular account So we’re chronically rushed We’re chronically late We’re chronically exhausted Have you ever felt like Job? Look at that verse on your outline Job 3:26 says this: “I have no peace! I have no quiet! I have no rest! “And trouble keeps coming!” That sounds like overload So today, I’m gonna launch this new series that I’m calling Living with a Margin Living with a Margin, and my goal is to lower your stress and increase your peace of mind Now I need to give you some definitions right at the start of the series What do I mean by margin? Well, a margin is the space, write this down, margin is the space between my load and my limits My load and my limits In other words, what I’ve got to do, my responsibilities, and how much energy and effort and whatever else I need to get it done My load and my limits, the space between But having margin is having some breathing room in your life That you have some reserves in your life Now you need margin in every area of your life You need physical margin so you’re not always going so you don’t wear out You need spiritual margin for handling temptation and ministry, ’cause those are draining We need emotional margin in our lives for the relationships in our lives We need financial margin to avoid the pressure of debt When you don’t have any margin in your finances, guess what? You’re in deep debt We need time margin in your schedule, and we’re gonna look at each of these in this series, so please, please don’t miss any one of the messages You know, I have a friend named George and he told me this He said, “You know, Rick, “there are only three ways that you can arrive anyplace “You can arrive early, you can arrive on time, “or you can arrive late “For most of my life,” George said, “my goal was simply to arrive right on time.” But he said, “When my goal was to arrive right on time,” he said, “I consistently arrived five minutes late “It’s because I allowed no margin.” ‘Cause things go wrong, you forget your keys, there’s traffic, there’s all kinds of stuff And he said, “You know, as a result, Rick, “I always felt stressed “I always felt pressure as I rushed in the last 15 minutes “to get ready and to get to my next meeting.” He said, “Rather than feeling peace I often felt panic.” “Now,” he said, “since I have multiple meetings every day,” George said, “I began to think about “the accumulative negative effect “of putting my mind and my body “through 15 minutes attention several times a day “because I was stressing out.” And he said it was “an unnecessary strain on my soul.” And he said, “I figured out that about 15 minutes “of hurrying to different meetings that I go to every day “three times a day for 15 years added up “to nearly six solid months of unnecessary tension.” Can you imagine that?
That’s solid 24-hour days That’s 171 24-hour days of stress, or 4,106 hours of tension, he said “Just because I wasn’t building in margin.” And he said, “That was, you know, “only if nothing went wrong “and there was no traffic and then it might take longer “and I was gonna have to deal with that.” So George told me He said, “You know, Rick, “I started adding margin to my schedule and leaving earlier “When I had to pick up the kids “When I had to go to a meeting “leaving early for getting to church. ” and finding a parking spot.” You know what that one’s like He says, “As a result, I’m much more relaxed, “I’m much more at peace, I’m enjoying life more, “and I suggest you try it.” Now, in this series, we’re gonna look at many of the benefits of living with a margin But as this introduction is going on, let me just mention a couple things, and in future messages you’re gonna learn about the Biblical basis of each of these A first benefit, you’ll have a healthier mind, if you build margin into your life You won’t be hurried and worried all the time You’ll have more peace of mind, you’ll be thinking Your thinking will improve, you’ll have more time to think Second, you’ll have a healthier body You know, unrelenting stress actually harms your body Your body needs downtime to repair itself That’s one of the purposes of the sabbath, which God commands You know, in high performance race cars You know, they have to schedule pit stops for crew repairs, and if you’re gonna live a high performance life, you’re gonna have to schedule pit stops for margin, for repairs You can’t fix anything going 200 miles an hour That’s not just true in race cars, it’s true in life A third benefit, if you’ll build margin into your life that we’re gonna teach you in the weeks ahead you’re gonna have healthier relationships Because relationships take time And margin, if you build margin into your life, it’ll give you more time to enjoy each other, to just sit around and talk, to listen, to comfort each other when you need it, have fun together When you have no margin in your life you start skimming relationally And your family doesn’t get the best of you, and the people you love don’t get the best of you Families without margin have more conflict It’s a symptom Let me give you one more The fourth benefit would be, you’re more available to God to use God can use you when you have margin in your life When you are overloaded, the only think you can think of is survival You don’t have anything to give You’re too busy to care You’re too busy to serve You’re too busy to hear God Some of you, if God wanted to call you with some good news, he’d get a busy signal So, this is why we’re gonna spend some time getting ready to live life of margin Less stress, more peace of mind So, you ready? You ready for a change to a more sane and stable, and less stressful lifestyle? Are you ready to make space to slow the pace of your life? Well that’s what we’re gonna start with this weekend And today what I wanna do is just look at some very first steps in living with a margin Some of these we’ll come back to and look at in more detail But I wanna just give you an overview Here’s the first step Very first step If you’re gonna live a life of margin, first I must accept my human limitations I must accept my human limitations I gotta remind myself that, I’m not God, I’m not even superman You know the truth is we secretly think that the rules don’t apply to us, that we’re invincible, that we can keep going and going and going without rest and recharging, but the truth is we’re only human You are not indestructible The Bible says, look at this verse in your outline, Psalm 119:96 “I have learned that everything has limits.” Have you learned that? That your time is limited Your money is limited, your wisdom is limited, your energy is limited Everything in your life is limited Now you know why we don’t believe that It’s because we live in a culture that says the exact opposite We live in a culture that says there are no limits, and you know what, that’s a lie, that’s a lie But we buy into this lie in movies and books You know there’s never been a bestseller titled, Your Limited Life (laughs) No, instead all bestsellers lie and they say things like you can be anything, there are no limits, live a limitless life
Well you can’t be anything, that’s just not true, you’re never gonna sing in the metropolitan opera No matter how much you desire and pray for it, and set a goal for it Can you fly like a bird, no, you’re never gonna fly like a bird, you can’t do anything, it’s a lie You can only do what God has created you to do Can you go six months without eating anything? No, well some of us could, but most of you couldn’t do that Now, those limitations, those human limitations, who do you think they came from, they came from God God is the author of our limits He intentionally gave you limits for your own good, and your own protection, and He knows best And if you ignore those limitations you’re the one who gets hurt Now unfortunately, we’re not very adept at knowing our limits We always overestimate our abilities So, let me just quickly mention four limitations you need to accept when I say accept your limitations First, you need to accept that you have physical limitations you can’t swim to Hawaii, you can’t go without sleep for a week We have a limited amount of energy, and that’s why by the way energy management is more important than time management We all have the same amount of time, but we all don’t have the same amount of energy Second, you have emotional limits Now, these are harder to identify, but emotional limits in your life can really affect your relationships You’ve got in your emotional limits physically by the way, you might not be able to carry ten people, you might be able to carry one person You know if I said, can you carry this person into the hospital, you might carry one but you couldn’t carry ten You wouldn’t even try to carry ten people physically But how many people you trying to carry emotionally right now? Think about that one How many people do you think you can carry emotionally? Three, five, seven, ten? I mean where do you draw the line? You have emotional limits Then, you have mental limits There’s a limit to how much information you can handle, how much you can process, and we’re on overload Because the media is overloading us, the internet is overloading us Your cellphone’s overloading you, and your mind starts shutting down You know scientists are studying this right now, the damage to our minds and to our attention spans What you need is a filter, and we’ll talk about this in this series Then you have time limitations Job 14:5 says this, “Our time is limited, you (God) have “given us only so many months to live and you’ve set the “limits that we cannot go beyond.” Your day will never have more than 24 hours So, you have time limits, you know when the battery on your phone starts to die, it warns you, it says you’ve got 5% left and you have to go plug it in And you know if you don’t plug it in, it’s gonna die Now you may think that you personally don’t have any warning lights that start blinking at 5% But you do In fact, you have many warning lights that God’s put in your life to tell you when you’re at 5% Pain is warning light, stress is a warning light, fatigue is warning light, irritability is a big warning light that you’re way beyond your margin Apathy, you stop caring Loss of enthusiasm, loss of joy, these are warning lights that you have hit your limit So step one is just to recognize that as a human being I have human limitations Step number two, if you’re gonna live a life of margin I have to ask myself, what drives me to overload my life? Write that down, ask myself what drives me to overload my life? And you’re gonna need to do some honest evaluation of your motivations, why? Now the Bible has a lot to say about motivation And the Bible tells us that people overwork for many different reasons Some people overwork out of insecurity Some people work out of fear, some people, the Bible says in Ecclesiastes overwork out of envy of others and what they have, some people overwork out of a desire to impress We’re gonna come back to this point in another message, so let me just give you one verse, Ecclesiastes 4:8 says this, “Some people are never satisfied with what they “own and they never stop working to get more “They should ask themselves, Why am I always working “to have more? “What a senseless and miserable life!” Now, if I’m gonna learn to live on a margin, I have to learn to ask the tough questions Here’s a third step, if I’m gonna learn to live on a margin
I must expect problems and delays I’m talking about just in life in general I must expect problems and delays We know that there are gonna be problems and delays, but we don’t act like it I mean, you know that nothing goes as planned, but you still act like it will You know there’s gonna be traffic, but you still leave late You know, airlines actually build in margin into their flights A one hour flight of an airline is always listed as like an hour and a half flight to account for delays and problems at the terminal Now Jesus warned us in John 16:33, “In the world you will “have trouble!” So, why are we surprised when this happens? We should expect problems and delays (laughs) You know a little truth confession here, I’m naturally an optimistic person, you know that And so my attitude toward life is it’ll all work out, but sometimes optimism without planning, that’s just a setup for disaster I remember years ago, I convinced Kay in a moment of weakness to take a vacation with absolutely no planning, zero planning, I said it’ll be find we’ll just call it an adventure, we’ll just get in the car with all the kids and we’ll head out And it’ll be fun, no planning I called it our pinball vacation, because here’s what happened The first night we ended up sleeping in the car, our family of five, because there were no vacant motels in Durango, Colorado Second night we ended up sleeping in the car again, because there were no vacant motels in the entire city of Denver I mean, how was I to know it was national rodeo week I didn’t know The third night we ended up staying in the no tell roach motel in dumpyville Utah (laughs) It was terrible, and there cockroaches crawling across the walls and stuff The last night of that vacation we spent in a very load smokey lounge in Las Vegas, waiting for the only room that would be empty at 1:00 AM It was an adventure, just not a good adventure You gotta expect problems and delays, now part of living on a margin involves thinking ahead The Bible says that’s a mark of wisdom, look at this verse, Provers 22:3, “Sensible people will see trouble coming and “avoid it, but an unthinking person will walk right into “it and regret it later.” You gotta plan ahead, that’s part of lowering the stress Now let me give you fourth step Another step to living with margin is to add buffer space in my schedule Add buffer space in my schedule It’s unplanned time You don’t fill up everything in your schedule You build in some buffer zones You build in some down time, and we’ll teach you how to do this And don’t expect somebody else to do this for you If you don’t do this for yourself, it’s not gonna happen You know when I’ve taught you about living on a financial margin, that, living on a budget I say always, pay God first, that’s your tithe, and you pay yourself second, that’s your savings And then you use the rest of your money the best you can to do the other things But you pay God first, you pay yourself second The same should be true with your time You give God the first of your time, and you give you the second part of your time to re-energize and to refresh and spend time first with God, and then time whatever re-energizes you And then you use the time for all your commitments and other things You need to leave some empty pages in your day timer You don’t cram every hour with activities By the way, you know who are the worst offenders of this, are often Doctors and contractors You know, they overbook patients, or they overbook clients, they don’t leave any room for a margin for error And then you end up waiting in the waiting room wasting time Psalm 127 verse two says this, look at this verse, “It is senseless for you to work so hard from early morning “until late at night, fearing you’ll starve to death; That’s fear, a cause of workaholism “for God wants His loved ones to,” circle this, “get their proper rest.” Now, I want you to write this down, okay, write it down in your outline The faster you go the more margin you need, write that down The faster I go, the more margin I need Now, the Bible tells us that not allowing space in your schedule, is foolish Look at this verse, Ecclesiastes 10:15, “Only someone too stupid to find his way home
would wear “himself out with work.” I love that, today’s english version What the Bible’s saying is that life is a journey It is not a fifty yard dash, and it doesn’t matter who is running the fastest It is not about speed, it’s not about how fast you live, it’s about how well you live That’s what it means to live on a margin Number five, here’s a fifth first step in making some major changes in your life You’re gonna have to learn to do this, prune my activities regularly I need to prune my activities regularly You know I grow vegetables One year I grew 57 different kinds of vegetables, I grew fruit, 17 kinds of fruit tree, but I also grow roses And every January 28th which is my birthday, I prune my roses, I mean I just wack ’em all back to almost nothing, every January 28th, or a day or two around that Now, every year like there were this year, there are always rose bushes with buds that still haven’t even bloomed yet, and they’re waiting there And as I am getting ready to wack them off, and I’m ruthless I can imagine that little rose bud saying, but Rick I haven’t even bloomed yet, and I will give you so much pleasure if you just wait another week or two I will bloom, and I will give this to you, but I’m ruthless, and I just wack it all, and it’s painful And I cut off not simply deadwood, I cut off things that haven’t even bloomed yet Now why am I doing this? Now I’m sure those roses are going, why are you doing this to us? The answer is, the bush will be healthier, they will have more blooms, and I know from experience that less than 60 days later I’m gonna have roses again in full bloom, on those rose bushes Now, let’s apply this to your life Every year of our lives we’re sprouting new activities But you can’t keep adding new stuff without taking off old stuff You get so many irons in the fire you put out the fire You burn the candle at both ends, you’re not as bright as you think you are So, you periodically must prune, for greater fruitfulness Jesus talked about it, in the Book of John about pruning And as I said, you don’t, when you look to give some margin in life to build some space, to build some white space, some buffer zones You don’t just prune deadwood, because you don’t have enough deadwood You have to cut back some living branches Look at what God says in His word Ecclesiastes 3:6, here are several verses Ecclesiastes 3:6 says, “There is a time to keep things “and there’s a time to throw things away.” What do you need to throw away? What activity do you need to stop, you need to throw away, you need to prune, you need to cut back Hebrews 12 verse one, the second half says this, “We should remove from our lives anything that would “get in the way and the sin that so easily holds us back.” He’s not just talking about sins, he’s talking about stuff that’s not sins, but it gets in the way You could probably cut out a third of what you’re doing and be healthier Not everything you’re supposed to do, everything God wants you to do is everything you’re doing You’re doing far more If you don’t have time to get it all done it just means something is either not God’s will or you’re doing it in the wrong way First Corinthians 6:12 says this, “everything is permissible for me, but not everything is beneficial In Christ you have freedom, but it’s permissible, but it’s not all beneficial What that verse is saying is real simple Some things are not necessarily wrong, but they’re just not necessary, and the good can keep you from the best You need to learn how to say no And if you got 50 things to do and you’ve only got time to do 20, then you’ve got to say no 30 times Now, it’s easy to say no to activities you hate No I’m not gonna get the root canal I’m not gonna get the colonoscopy I’m not gonna do the IRS audit (laughs) But it’s more difficult to say to the things you enjoy Look at this verse where Joshua told the people, in Joshua 7:13, second part of the verse, “Some of you are keeping things God “commanded you to destroy “And you’ll never defeat your enemies, “until you throw away those things.” What are the idols in your life? What are the idols in your schedule? What are the idols in your budget? That I just have to buy this, I just have to spend time on this I just have to watch this tv show Maybe you just need to throw it away
Now let me give you the most important step of all, number six, walk with Jesus and learn If you want to lower the stress, you need to get very acquainted with Jesus, and learn Mathew 11:28-30 is one of the most powerful passages on stress relief in the Bible It’s so important we’ll come back to do a whole message just on this verse But I wanna read it to you in the message paraphrase Just listen to this, Jesus is talking to you, His words, “Are you tired? “Are you worn out? “Are you burned out? “Come to me. Come to me “Get away with me and you’ll recover your life “I’ll show you how to take a real rest “Walk with me,” Walk with Him and learn “Walk with me and work with me, and watch how I do it.” You know, we don’t have any example of Jesus running in scripture He always was at the right time in the right place “Learn the unforced rhythms of grace.” Isn’t that a beautiful phrase? That’s what we wanna do in this series, learn the unforced rhythms of grace “I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you “Keep company with me,” Jesus says, “And you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.” This is gonna be a very important series, for you and for our church, because most people are living without margin in their lives in southern California and also at our other campuses in Hong Kong, and Buenos Aires, and in Berlin, and in Manila, because these are busy urban areas This could radically change your life I hope you’ll be here every week It may add years to your life, it may save your life Certainly gonna make your life more enjoyable if you learn how to live on a margin Some of you really need this series, and you know who you are You know, I wanna close with a couple of emails from people that I have shared some of these principles with, when I’m counseling or giving advice to people And I meet people who are on the edge of burnout Let me read you a couple of these “Hi pastor Rick, just wanna let you know that your advice “did the trick for me this Sunday after church “On the way home from the 8:00 am service I took the long “way through rural Orange county instead of rushing “home on the toll road “I stopped at a diner for breakfast “It took a little while to get served but I didn’t fret it “Then I took a one hour nap despite our house being messy “Then I took a leisurely laguna canyon drive “to a family gathering “Then again, I took the long way home driving up the coast “and stopping at an inspirational point overlooking “the ocean, just to look and talk to the Lord “Then I took another nap.” I like this guy And he says, “And I took another nap, half hour this time “I can’t recall the last time I had two naps in one day “Then I chatted with both roommates in the kitchen “about the Lord, and then with the house still messy “I sat in the jacuzzi before going to bed “I know all this may sound very simplistic, but I was “so inspired by your advice on learning to slow down, “and how to take a sabbath, real sabbath, that I thought “I’d try a true day of rest “Now today Monday, I woke up energized, and ready to “change the world “Man this works, it really works, thanks.” That’s change, let me give you another one “Pastor Rick, I want to thank you for your advice “Some of the things you shared were like holding a mirror “up to my face “I had been filling my life with activities, “and even ministries, to keep myself so busy that I wouldn’t “have to think about or face some of the real issues “that I need to deal with “So thank you for your advice, I rested yesterday, and the “world did not come to an end “I read the entire Sunday paper for the firs time in ages “I talked to friends without having to rush off “somewhere to do an errand “I enjoyed watching my kids play with their friends “I sat in the room I redecorated so that I could relax, “But I never had, and I just enjoyed it “Most importantly, I talked to God a lot during my “Quiet moments, and I painfully admitted to Him, “That I have been missing my time with Him “Now, the best thing of all that happened to me, is it felt “great to get back on track with God, “margin makes a difference “And all day long I found myself asking, what would happen “If I just sat still for two minutes, “what was I so scared of? “it was great
“I know Rick that there’s some painful things that “are gonna surface as I clear my schedule and my mind “has time to contemplate, but if I’m close to God, “there isn’t anything that I can’t face, because I’m “not facing it alone “Thanks so much for teaching me about margin, “It’s an answer to prayer to my life.” You know, one of the benefits actually, of living an overloaded life, there’s just one benefit to it It eventually forces us to trust God more Because you’re gonna come to the end of your rope, you’re gonna recognize your limitations, one way or the other You can either look up to God or God can put you flat on your back, and then you look up to Him Now I have a recommendation for your small group All of our 8,000 plus small groups during the upcoming weeks of this series of learning to live on a margin I want to encourage you to use the talk it over questions You know, those are the questions that are prepared every weekend that go with the weekend message And you can get those talk it over questions, to go deeper with these messages And when you honestly talk in your small group, about where you need margin and about these five or six steps I just shared with you now this week You can help each other apply these principles I’m gonna be praying for you, would you be praying for me in the weeks ahead while I’m doing these Doctor’s tests and they’re working on my meds It’s okay with me, and I’m gonna take time and margin in my own life I’ll use this to let God talk to me, in ways that He wants to talk to me Let’s bow our heads fr prayer You know father we have lived without margin in our lives for so long we can hardly remember what it was like to not feel fatigued But we don’t wanna stay that way anymore And I’m praying Father for our flock I pray for everybody here today, everybody that’s listening and even those listening online, and those who are listening on daily hope I pray that you will give every person hearing my words the courage to take these six initial steps, that can bring balance and sanity back into our lives, and our schedules and our relationship Now their heads still bowed, why don’t you pray? I’ll just pray up here and you can say me too God If this expresses your heart, say, Father I’m tired of being rushed, I’m tired of being late I’m tired of being exhausted all the time I’ve got too many irons the fire, and I need your help to get out of the mess that’ve gotten myself Help me to recognize and accept my limitations Help me to ask the tough questions, on why I’m so driven to overwork and to fill my life, and overbook it Help me to put some space in my schedule Father I need breathing room I need margin in my life And Jesus Christ I know that I can’t do it all, but I need your wisdom in deciding what matters most I do not wanna waste my life Just tell that to God right now God, I do not wanna waste my life Please give the courage to say no to the wrong things, and the courage to say yes to the right things And father, most important, help me to trust you more To walk with Jesus, and learn from Forgive me for thinking and acting as if everything depends on me, it doesn’t It depends on you And I wanna ask you to use this series in my life, and I want you to give me greater faith in you and less reliance upon myself I want my life to bring pleasure to you And I humbly ask this in Jesus name, amen (light instrumental music) – Thanks for checking out this message on YouTube My name is Jay, and I’m Saddleback’s online campus pastor And I would love to invite you to join our online community There are three ways you can take a next step First, learn more about belonging to our church family, by completing Class 101 online Don’t do life alone anymore, by getting into an online only small group that meets on platforms like skype, Or learn more about hosting a group with your friends when you come Third, join our global Facebook community to connect with others with the online community, to be more engaged
in the day to day To take any of those next steps visit Saddleback.com/online or email firstname.lastname@example.org Hope to hear from you soon