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NIV is used unless otherwise noted.

Grace Beyond Measure: Margin To Breathe

You set the boundaries of the earth, and You made both summer and winter.

Psalm 74:17 NLT

Boundaries create margin. What is margin?

In the book Margin, the author Richard A. Swenson, M.D. explains the concept like this:      “Marginless is fatigue; margin is energy. Marginless is red ink; margin is black ink. Marginless is hurry; margin is calm. Marginless is anxiety; margin is security. Marginless is culture; margin is counterculture. Marginless is the disease of the new millennium; margin is its cure.”

Margin welcomes grace. Marginless squashes grace.

It’s not difficult to see and feel the effects of marginless living—and it is painful. Stressed and pressed in, it’s difficult for us to breathe. But we tend to resist simplicity, contentment, and quietness.

A term used while creating websites and blogs is “white space”. White space is the empty spaces in a design. It is the lack of graphics or text in the layout. White space is not always “white” and may also be known as breathing room. It simplifies and is soothing to our senses. This validates the tradition of clear margins in written works.

Mary, Jesus’ mother understood and practiced margin. In regards to Jesus’ birth Scripture tells us, But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart (Luke 2:19 NIV). Ponder means to put one thing with another in considering circumstances. To treasure means to preserve or to keep closely together. The events of Jesus’ birth were significant and warranted Mary’s attentive heart gathering together the pieces of God’s plan and revelation of Christ and consider all He was to be for mankind.     

What are we missing through marginless living? Health, peace, and joyful living come to mind. Could it be we lose more than we gain when we don’t plan margin into our lives?


Lord God, show me where I have no margins that result in pain and stress. There is health in boundaries. Lord, show me where I can incorporate margin in the New Year.

Karen Sims

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