Consider the Lillies

written by Kat Bair
4 · 02 · 24

“Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not clothed like one of these.”

Matthew 25: 28-29

Predictable and unbelievable as ever, the seasons have turned over again and we’re fully engrossed in a wet and warm Spring in Nashville. As I’ve entered into my second year of life with my children, their second Spring and second Easter, it seems unreal that we survived all of those things the first time and that they are coming around again. Our plants bloom, and the sweaters that I feel like I just pulled out of the attic return to their home upstairs. 

Even when our schedules feel rushed and hurried, or empty and slow, the seasons change just the same. Even as I cling to this age of my children’s lives, the clock doesn’t stop, just as it wouldn’t speed up for me during those endless, sleepless newborn weeks. 

It has me thinking about rhythm, and about having the margin to truly enjoy it all. As you may have guessed from last week’s blog, I recently took on a responsibility that proved to be too much for my schedule to carry. After a few months of waking up an hour before the kids, sacrificing time with my husband, nervously wondering how it could possibly all come together, I decided it just didn’t have to, and I quit. I went back to the (non-insignificant) deck of roles of responsibilities I had before, with the knowledge that I would probably have a little extra margin. That the reason I felt tempted to take on that responsibility was because I had an hour or two in my average week that was unaccounted for. 

Looking at the sunny weather, my toddling twins, and my own personal history of cramming activity into every inch of my life, I made a decision: I was going to quit that responsibility, and I wasn’t going to take on any new ones, at least until fall. No new jobs, no new volunteer positions, no new hobbies. If I had a little down time, I was just going to have down time. I know being able to dictate my schedule in that way is a position of privilege in many ways, that I both don’t need to work one more hour, and that I have people who are offering me work and roles that I can say no to. 

But all of us have choices we can make around those small moments of margin in our lives, no matter how busy we are. We live in an “attention economy” where multi-billion dollar companies have built their entire empires on getting us to sacrifice every spare moment to their products. Social media, smartphones, streaming services have all made it their busy to ensure that you never feel like you have even a moment of time without demands on it. Even when we’re just relaxing, there’s always a notification to check, a show to finish, a progress bar to complete. 

I am trying to take up a discipline of letting my margin be margin. To keep my unaccounted for 1-2 hours a week truly unaccounted for. To spend it doodling, journaling, sitting outside sipping coffee. Even now as I imagine this, I think of all the things I should do with that time instead: one more workout, re-organize the playroom, make meals for my kids that look like the ones I see on Instagram (instead of their regular diet of noodles and steam-in-the-bag vegetables). But I don’t think those things will do for me what a discipline of margin might. Because margin creates some wiggle room for the Holy Spirit. Margin reminds me of my being outside of what I can accomplish. Margin allows me to experience grace, love, and the presence of God without agenda or timetable. Margin allows me to meet myself, and my Creator, in roomier ways than I can in 5 to 10 minutes of prayer in the car, or the church services I’m regularly 15 minutes late for. 

I know I won’t always be able to carve out this time, but for now I think I can manage it, and something about watching my kids meander through the yard picking dandelions, with no hurry at all, makes me think that I should. This might just be for a season, and I may put away the margin as I pull the sweaters back down, but that’s fine. I am excited to be able to respond to a call on my life that feels so gentle, and to see what the Spirit might be working through it. 

This week, consider: 

  • What changes do I feel called to make in my life, inspired by the shifting season around me?
  • Do I have space to hear what the Spirit might be calling me to? 
  • Do I have the space to answer the call once I hear it?
  • Do I feel like I’m living and leading in the way I am meant to? What would it look like to change?

If you want to talk through any of those tugs on your heartstrings, feel free to shoot me (kat@ministryincubators.com) a message and we can talk about it. After all, I have a little free time all of a sudden. 

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Kat Bair

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