Chaplain’s Message – May 9, 2012

‘Avoiding Burn Out’

            During Seminary I had the wonderful opportunity to read a book by Dr. Richard A. Swenson.  Within this book Dr. Swenson wrote about a concept he called margin.  He explained margin in the following way. “Margin is the gap between rest and exhaustion, the space between breathing freely and suffocating.” Mathematically Swenson described margin in the following formula: power – load = margin.  The goal is to increase your power, which is composed of energy, skills, time, training, emotional and physical strength, faith, finances, and social supports.  The load on the other hand which is negative is composed of work, problems, obligations and commitments, expectations, debt, deadlines, and interpersonal conflicts. Those that struggle with margin let an unhealthy load take over their lives. To increase ones power and decrease the load or margin-less living, one needs to inject control and stability into ones life.

            The goal and the application point in which I gleaned from Margin, was how do I discover my own limits, and how do I attempt to avoid excessive stress in my own life? In other words how do I avoid burn out?  Swenson stated, “All systems have limits. Human beings are systems, and as such have physical, performance, emotional, and mental limits” The prescription offered in the book was to: become emotionally stable, exercise, learn how to manage your time, and get a hold of your finances, this is living in margin.  Those that achieve margin in life and avoid burn out practice simplicity, and contentment. They also realize the need for physical, emotional, spiritual rest, and above all love.

May This Blog encourage you to balance your life this week!

In Your Service Chaplain Myers

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