by Diane Paddison

Not Leaving Enough Margin

Along with being a doer, I am also a compulsive planner. I have a to-do list every day, including both short-term and long-term priorities. The lists help me stay organized, feel effective, and keep an eye on my commitments so I can exercise restraint when it comes to taking on new responsibilities. The reality of my life right now is there’s more unpredictability than I’m comfortable with.

I almost never finish everything on my list in a given day. Sometimes that’s fine, and I’m content to carry leftover items over to the next day. Other times though, the list and all the uncompleted items feel less like useful tools and more like sticks beating me over the head.

I’ve realized along with all of my to-do items I need to allow some margin: a bit of blank space to cope with the unexpected. Magic can happen in those blank spaces. Often, even when I have failed to allow for it, I’ve seen God step in and create an unplanned window of free time that turns out to be absolutely critical.

Choosing to allow that margin in my day means trusting God’s Word when it says, “Do not worry about anything” (Philippians 4:6–7) and believing that he will handle what I haven’t fully prepared for.

4 Ways We Self-Sabotage | Today’s Christian Woman (

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