Creating Caring Communities That Transform Lives
Creating Caring Communities That Transform Lives
Creating Caring Communities That Transform Lives
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Monday, March 25, 2013 @ 10:02:00 AM - Written by Doug Hignell -

My wife, Kaylinn, and I recently had a good laugh when a friend posted a chart on Facebook that summarized the main differences between introverts and extroverts. Through the use of a few simple words, this chart humorously captured some key differences between Kaylinn (an introvert) and me (an extrovert). Here are three:

  • Home. For me, home is where I want to invite everybody I know. For Kaylinn, home is where she wants to retreat.
  • Free Time. For me, free time is when I do group activities. For Kaylinn, free time is when she reads without interruption for so long that she feels she might be in danger of going blind.
  • Bored. For me, being bored is when I'm not frantically busy. For Kaylinn, being bored when she's stuck making small talk and can't escape politely.

Maintaining healthy margins for Kaylinn is much easier than it is for me. For a while in our marriage, I thought she was a little lazy, and she thought I was a little nuts. Though adequate margins are typically a bigger problem for extroverts, nobody in our world today is immune to this struggle.

In the excellent book, Margin, by Richard A. Swenson, M.D., margin is defined as the "space between our load and our limits...It is something held in reserve for contingencies or unanticipated situations. Margin is the gap between rest and exhaustion, the space between breathing freely and suffocating...It is the opposite of overload," which "occurs whenever the requirements upon us exceed that which we are able to bear" (69, 54).

Several key issues make it difficult for us to maintain healthy margins and avoid overload in our lives. One such issue is our personalities, especially those personalities that tend toward extroversion. For those of us who fall into this category, we tend to see margins as gaps to be filled, rather than time to be cherished or preserved. Another issue for us is our inability (or unwillingness) to recognize the limits naturally imposed on our bodies, our emotions, our time, and our finances, just to name a few. Assuming that there are no limits, we want to keep all possible options open.

Even if we recognize our limits, it's still easy to not be aware of them until it's too late and we find ourselves overloaded. Limits are not our enemy, overloading is. The biggest culprit, however, may be the rapid changes in our world today and the many options and expectations that these bring, most of which encourage overload. This will be the topic of my next blog post. Until then, take a moment to reflect on your limits and where you are most likely to find yourself overloaded.

The last paragraph is golden. Thanks for the reminder.
Tom @ 11:00:00 AM 4/2/2013

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