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White Space

June 3, 2011

In advertising, “white space” is the portion of the page that is left blank. Empty. The space left over when the rest of the message has been placed.

It’s a necesary component of an ad. If there’s not enough white space, the person reading tends to just skip over the page entirely and all of the message is lost. The ad is not read, the message is not conveyed, and all that time and effort is wasted.

The more white space on a page, the more likely what IS there will be read, and the more impactful the message. It’s just how we’re wired.

Funny how the same goes for the white space in our lives. Without a little white space, all the rest of the “stuff” becomes pointless, doesn’t it?

My friend Susan calls this “Margin” based on the book by Richard Swanson. The leeway between duty and crazy. The smidgeon of white-space on a full calendar.

It seems like I never have enough white space in my life. Do you?

White space requires that we say “No.” With margin, there is guilt. “No” to things that are worthwhile and important. “No” to birthday parties, baby showers, or important causes. “No” to helping. “No” to leading. “No” to serving.

But, Jesus never said we had to do it all. So often I find that my margins narrow with my need for approval. The more I do, the more I will be liked (or so I naively presume).

Cutting back requires risk. Margin requires that I let people down. Someone will always be dissapointed in me.

But there are a few, three to be exact, that will never suffer from a little white space in my life. My three boys, one big, two small, and they live in my margin. The time I have leftover when the other commmitments are met.

Maybe, really, what we think of as white space isn’t margin at all. Maybe white-space is really what is leftover when the REAL needs are met – when my children have had enough of me, when my husband has had my full attention. When God has heard my voice, and His words have been heard by my soul – when all that is done, then whatever we do next…that’s the margin.

Working the priority instead of the urgency, I once again flip my focus from outside to the inside, to what my boys need of me first, and what I do for others, second. Guilt-free, I saw no to others so I can say yes to my highest priorities.

(Yes, yes, this is the first post in an entire week! I’m working on my white-space, you understand…)

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. Erin McCabe permalink
    June 3, 2011 9:11 am

    Very nicely said Adelle and RIGHT ON THE DOT!

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