Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Inside the Margin

I pulled on my pants yesterday morning. "Hmm...these are awfully loose," I thought.

I decided to add my belt. Accessorize it, yeah that will help. Since the beginning of March, my belt has been one hole tighter. But yesterday morning, it is went one more. My belt is in its tightest hole!

Now, you're asking questions. "Are you eating? Are you working out? Are you OK?"

My answer: "Margin."

Margin is the space you put in your life for what is necessary for you to live responsibly. It's the boundary that I never had and never wanted because I thought it would be boring. After hearing innumerable sermons about margin, I knew what the ministers were all getting at: discipline.

I decided in January to start living under these guidelines they were talking about, just try them out. I would tithe consistently, give my day the God, eat healthier, work out, spend less money on myself and more on others and save. If it didn't affect my life, I would go back to my old way of doing things, which caused me to stress and worry nearly everyday. If they were right, I’d find a life I always wanted.

So after two months, what do I have to show for it?

Before January:
Bible reading: Rarely, maybe once a week. I couldn't tell you that there were any promises in my life. I was worried, sad, tired and unsatisfied.
Tithing: When I remembered, and not always 10 percent.
Exercise: Never
I weighed 183 lbs. when I began working at Lifetime Fitness January 6, 2010.
Eating healthy: If you count lettuce and tomato on a California Burger: yes. But in reality: no.
Saving money: None
I had $75 in savings as of February 1, 2010 and just as much in my checking.
Entertainment: Twice a week, expensive, typically unsatisfying.

As of March 28:
Bible reading: Everyday, twice a day if possible. If I can have more time, I take it. I have peace and calm. And when things are stressful and causing me anxiety, I have a place to turn. Now I put my faith and hope in the Lord and not in the situations.
Tithing: Every check I get paid, the tithe is in the bucket at church. Do I miss the money? NO! I am way to blessed.
Exercise: Two to three times a week.
I weigh 155 lbs. Clothes do not fit, which is beautiful. Though, I'm not spending money on new ones...hmm...a new problem. Praying for divine alterations. I’m also starting to train in June for a 10K in September, something I never thought in a million years I would even want to do. I’ll talk about this more in future posts.
Eating healthy: I hit two areas of margin: finances and health. I spend $30 a week on fresh foods that I eat throughout the week. I have really planned meals of food I actually like and eat. I get the things I like, I leave the grazing alone, and the results are in. I have lost more than 15 pounds and have saved DOLLAZ by not buying lunch each day at work. I still eat out once in a while, but I don’t feel the need to eat out all the time as I did in the past. It’s a treat, not an expectation and I don’t feel ripped off.
Saving money: I have $440 in savings. Tomorrow I’ll get paid and add more. In two months I have more than tripled my savings. Who would’ve known?
Entertainment: It includes things I already enjoy. Spending time with girlfriends, staying in, making food, socializing with friends at the gym. I mean, if anything really is entertaining, it has to be from the inside out. You wouldn’t be satisfied even at the best party if you weren’t with the people you care about.

So my advice to you is this: You want to lose weight? Make a plan now and DO IT. You want to tithe? Take out your check book now and WRITE THE CHECK. You want to have peace and clarity about the future? Read the Word. Don’t make excuses. What have you got to lose? I guarantee that the moment you put margin or discipline into your life, you will see changes.

It’s just as Paul instructs in 1 Corinthians 9:24-27, “Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize. Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last; but we do it to get a crown that will last forever. Therefore I do not run like a man running aimlessly; I do not fight like a man beating the air. No, I beat my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize.”

Run the race. Train correctly. Be rewarded.


  1. Beautiful, Joy. I'm sure God, like me, is smiling for you right now. :)

  2. GOOD stuff Joy!! I am so happy to hear that you are! It is interesting that similar things have come about in our lives of late:) I as well have been reading the word, exercising and eating healthy and what a difference it has made, praise the Lord!
    Knowing that you seek to entertain with girlfriends and staying in it sounds like we will have to hang out very soon:) Tony and I plan to move to the cities in May!
    I love you and miss you very much.
    Wishing you all of the best

  3. Great post, Joy!!! I love hearing about positive changes in peoples lives. :)