Stress, Sleeplessness, & Margin

Posted: April 3, 2008 in Daily Blog


Have you ever been so wrapped up in what is going on around you that you can’t sleep?  When I worked in a retail store, I would dream I was waiting on customers all night long.  It would feel in the morning like I had worked all night and then I had to go to work!  The same thing is happening to me this week.  I am caught up in conversations, thinking about what I need to do, tossing and turning in bed.  Sleep has not come easily this week.


A couple years ago our pediatrician recommended Melatonin for our son when he was sleepwalking.  It is a supplement that you can get at Walgreen’s America’s Drug Story (a shameless plug for my friend Mike who is a pharmacist there).  It helps replenish the chemicals that your body produces when you are sleeping, it is not addictive, and it really works.  I ran out a couple months ago and need to get some more!


I know I need to get out of the overwhelmed feelings I am having right now.  Planning the memorial service for our family, a wedding next week, and the normal weekly preaching preparation has me stressed.  This will pass I know, then I will re-evaluate my schedule and priorities to make sure family stays first – but I also know I have a hard time saying no!  The point to all of this is, when your life is so full and something comes up that is important and must be done if you are already maxed out it has the potential to capsize you.  Having good boundaries and extra space in your life helps you handle additional stress and activities that inevitably pop up and your busiest times.  Sounds like a good sermon – it is actually what I am talking about this weekend!  I’ll be the one with sleep circles under my eyes!

  1. coolchurchmom says:

    boy, you need a meeting

  2. Angie says:

    Take a deep breath. Now blow it out slowly. One more time. There, feel better?
    I’m sure you’re doing great.

  3. wineymomma says:


    Seriously, Graham, can’t you just have mike run over some melatonin for you? I mean that would take something off your to do list

  4. mike says:

    You forgot to add the pharmacy america trusts. But I give you an a for effort. I think that it is good advice that we should all live by. I know that I am too busy. It is a way of us staying distracted so that when God shows up we are too busy to either notice or do anything about it. Thanks for once again making us stop and think about it.

  5. Graham says:

    yeah, just what i need, ANOTHER meeting! Seriously, God is good, He has helped me get the sermon done already! that is a record by the way! Thanks for your comments and your prayers!

  6. oh, i am so laughing… funny commentators you have.

  7. but really, i’m trying to figure out how i feel about this and your giving post. i think you make great points and maybe you’re right, but i still have these nagging… i don’t know, i guess questions.

    i do completely agree we can position ourselves in life in such a place that God won’t use us. but i also think that there are times when we have gotten ourselves over extended, at our wit’s end, feeling how can we take on more, how can we do another thing, how can we give anything else and God asks us to, it’s just where God wanted us. and we do. God’s provision is great and it is when we can’t do it that he gets all the glory. now i’m not a proponent of busying ourselves with stuff just to be busy or not setting boundaries (even though some might say i practice this, i do have two dogs that get ticks and tear up screens), but i do think that we have to be careful not to pass up on things because we are saving our time for something big.

    am i making sense or just rambling?

  8. wineymomma says:

    well you’re making sense to me but then here is the whole we speak the same language and that language tends to be ramble….

  9. Graham says:

    no. We get so busy with the work we wind up missing out on the life Christ means for us to live. We a rushed here and there and we do a lot of good things, but that is not what God asks from us. Christ withdrew from large crowds. He didn’t rush off to every village that had a need. He didn’t heal all the sick, He didn’t cast out ever demon. He spend time with His Father, and did what His Father told Him to do. That takes time alone with GOd, it takes a clear understanding of the mission you have been given. We who have a hard time saying no clutter up our lives with activities God never meant us to do, and then when the thing does come for us we are spent, exhausted and margin-less, our attitude is one of “great another thing to do, I don’t think I can,” instead of “Here am I, send me.”

    Most people only do a few things really well, yet we try to do everything great… God never asks us to. Life doing the things GOd does want you to do becomes as natural as floating down a river in a canoe, when you are drawn up near to Him, and you understand the strengths and mission He has given you. Clear the clutter, find your mission and build boundaries to protect your utmost for God’s highest.

  10. no, i’m not making sense? no, i’m not rambling? or is that just a general no to me? 🙂

    i don’t disagree with you at all. my point was really that i do think there are times when God gives us a very full plate and then wants us to take on a little more. i don’t believe he asks this of all of us, but i do believe it does happen. and it’s when we feel like we can’t do one more thing that we believe we are completely justified in saying no to whatever the additional thing is God has asked of us. i think we might even choose to ignore God’s promptings and thinking someone else is surely better equipped for this one.

    i think i’m talking about more of a season, and certainly not an everyday way to do life. more all these things are coming at me at once and i do not have enough left to do what you are asking me to do, but i am going to do it anyway. when God calls us sometimes we spend too much time worrying about how God is going to make this work instead of jumping in with both feet and saying, “God, use me.”

    i firmly believe that just because it’s a good thing, that doesn’t make it a God thing. and that we shouldn’t jump into every good thing that comes along. but i also believe that when God calls us – no matter what else we have going on – if we respond he will provide the rest we need.

  11. Graham says:

    Sure there are stretching times, times when God is pushing your boundaries and increasing your capacity… (see packed in between sandpaper sheets, Growing can be uncomfortable.) but that is not where most of us live… we live in over crowded lives taking on way more than we should because we want to, not because God told us to… it is the “sure I will fill in for that position, even though I cant stand doing ___________.” Or the, “I don’t think the kids will mind going to ________’s house because I have a meeting there that I cant miss.” We confuse being busy for God as “spiritual growth” when that is never what He intended. I have seen it time and time again, and I would suggest that the growth you are talking about happens when you are invested in exactly what He wants you to be in, not because you are doing a little bit of everything under the sun, and you know when you are doing things that are completely outside your passion, talent, and skill set.

    I would say that we get into trouble when we don’t hear God telling us to do something, we do it and wait for His blessing… it causes anxiety, poor health, and limits time we have to develop relationships with people and with God to the level He desires for us. He has good stuff for us, and it is usually found in the margin of our lives; the conversation with the store clerk or waitress, the phone call from a friend in distress, the talk at the mailbox when your neighbor meets you there… those are the intersections God works in… the still quiet voice that is only heard when we have quiet around us. wisdom in Hebrew means “listen”. when was the last time we had time just to listen – to God, or to anyone?

    Seasons come and go, and come around again… and there is no question that there are seasons of intense work; but that is not where we should live our lives, most of us have camped out there, it is time to change that, investigate what you are good at, and quietly wait on God to show you where you should be, then jump in with both feet and He will certainly show up and make things happen in big ways so He gets the glory. I think we are saying the same thing, but my point is that we are already needing to take a step back from our over-scheduled lifestyle and find more margin… then you will see God work in your life like you have never seen Him do it before!

  12. Angie says:

    This last comment was helpful and cleared some things up for me. Thanks. Still, knowing it’s God’s calling for me, is sometimes so hard to know especially in the beginning, at least for me. Can we have one overall calling and then more than one task to go with that calling? Does our calling change or is it our tasks?

  13. Graham says:

    Your calling is to Jesus. He gives you the tasks as you travel on your journey through life. Remember Jesus said He doesn’t do anything unless the Father tells Him to do it, and we are to be one with Him… so we need to make sure we are sitting at His feet daily, and prayerfully consider the things that need to be done. Doing work, whether spiritual or not, is just work unless God shows you He wants you to do it. My concern with all this is we are so busy we never ask Him, we never spend enough time sitting at His feet soaking in the quiet goodness of God waiting for Him to direct our paths… we see a path or a work that needs doing, see that it is not being done and automatically assume we are the ones to fill it… that distracts us from God… and here in America there are so many distractions we can fill our lives with things that God is not asking us to do. When He does ask us to do it, He equips us, provides us with the resources we need, gives us His anointing for the task and we are empowered through Him. Monica is right in that we obey, He shows up and does mighty things so He gets the glory…

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