Are You an Accident Waiting to Happen?

Then, because so many people were coming and going that they did not even have a chance to eat, he said to them, “Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest.” –Mark 6:31

One day, I pulled into a parking space at one of my favorite “fine dining” restaurants, Burgers & Donuts (I’m not making this name up, Google it). At the same time, a well-dressed forty-something woman in a white Chevy Suburban pulled into the space next to me. As I opened my door, I accidentally touched my car door to her door. It didn’t make any dent–just a tiny tink sound. The woman went ballistic. By her reaction, you’d have thought I had taken my car keys and scrawled, “I hate Chevy Suburbans and you,” on her door. Out of her mouth spewed the foulest language I’ve ever heard. She didn’t just drop the F-bomb–she dropped A – Z bombs too. I’ve never even heard of some of the words she used (and I learned stuff about my mom that I never knew before.) She didn’t want to listen. Instead, she returned to her car, slammed the door, displayed the international sign of displeasure and roared away without a burger, a donut, or a conversation.

I’m not sure what was happening in that woman’s life, but she definitely had an out-of-proportion reaction. I’m guessing that she was living a busy life with no margins. You know what margins are–in a spiral notebook they are those blank white spaces on the sides of each page. A margin is a space without activity. Many of us live our lives without margins: rushed, stressed, fatigued, and overloaded. When we live life without margins, we are just one tink away from exploding.

It is my observation that a life without margins is a life in (or rapidly approaching) chaos. A margin-less day is crammed with running, driving, chasing, little time to catch your breath and limited time to think something through or even to decompress. If this describes you, you’re most likely an accident waiting to happen. When you’re worn out, you have no emotional reserves available for when you are “tinked.” It doesn’t matter what the source of the tink is. When there is no margin, the slightest thing can set us off. We blow up, then wonder what just happened.

Jesus’ life shows us that a person can do all he was meant to do in the time allotted for him. Jesus said yes to many things, but He also said no to many other things. Jesus set boundaries. He had limits. When the demands upon him became too great, and He found Himself physically and spiritually depleted, He withdrew “to a mountain by himself” or “by boat privately to a solitary place.” He recognized that He needed time to stop, reflect, pray and nourish His inner life. So do we.

Today, seek to regain some margin in your life, by slowing down. Give yourself permission to rest and refuel by reconnecting with the One who provides rest for your weary soul.

1. On a scale of 1 to 10, (with 1 being least likely and 10 being most likely) how close do you feel you are to exploding when the next tink occurs in your life?

2. How can you seek to gain more margin in your life today?

Matthew 14:13; Matthew 14:23; Luke 6:12-16

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Doug Fields

Doug Fields is the senior director of HomeWord. He speaks to thousands of leaders, teenagers and parents each year. He’s also the author/co-author of 50+ books including: Parenting in a Screen Saturated Culture; Intentional Parenting; 7 Ways to be Her Hero – the One Your Wife Has Been Waiting For; and To Have and To Hold. In addition to Doug’s speaking and writing, he is also the co-founder of and the youth pastor at Mariners Church. Doug has been married for more than 35 years to his wonderful wife Cathy, and they live near their 3 married children and 3 grandchildren in Southern California.

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