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Margin Helps You Plan for Problems
By Rick Warren

“A prudent man foresees the difficulties ahead and prepares for them; the simpleton goes blindly on and suffers the consequences.” Proverbs 22:3 (TLB)

You need margin in your life because it’s inevitable that you’re going to have problems—and margin gives you the space you need to address them. 

Plans are good. The Bible says you ought to plan; planning helps lead you in the right direction. But nothing ever goes as perfectly as you’ve planned, so when you don’t prepare for bumps in the road, you’re setting yourself up for big disappointment. 

A number of years ago, I convinced my wife to go on a vacation without any planning. At the time, my entire life was planned. Almost every minute of every day had something planned in it, and I had no margin. I felt like I needed a vacation from planning.

So I suggested, “Let’s just put the kids in the car and head off! It’ll be an adventure!”

It sounded like a really good idea. We put the kids in our van, and we headed out across the desert with no idea where we were going. Kay calls this our pinball vacation. 

The first night we arrived in Durango, Colorado, and slept in the car because there were no motels open in the whole city.

The second night, we got to Denver, and there wasn’t a single motel room open there either. How was I to know the annual rodeo was in town? Hotels had been booked up for weeks. So we got back in the car again.

On the third night, the place we stayed was actually a collection of battered trailers that were managed from a nearby gas station. The battered, beaten-down trailer we stayed in hadn’t been cared for or cleaned. The screen door was hanging on one hinge, mosquitoes were flying in through the punched-out screen, and little roaches were crawling across the ceiling. 

The trip went like this through to the last night—when we sat in a loud, smoky lounge in Las Vegas at 1:00 a.m., waiting for someone to check out so we could get a room. 

What a fun vacation!

The Bible teaches that thinking ahead is the mark of wisdom. Proverbs 22:3 says, “A prudent man foresees the difficulties ahead and prepares for them; the simpleton goes blindly on and suffers the consequences” (TLB).

Why didn’t I see that verse before our vacation? It would have helped me realize that, because I lacked margin in my life, I wasn’t even able to plan ahead for a simple vacation.

Don’t make the same mistake I did. Build margin into your life so that you can have the space and perspective you need to anticipate problems and plan for them.

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This devotional © 2018 by Rick Warren. All rights reserved. Used by permission.

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