Daily Scripture Reading:
2 Corinthians 4:7-10 – “But we have this treasure in clay jars, so that it may be made clear that this extraordinary power belongs to God and does not come from us. We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; always carrying in the body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be made visible in our bodies.”
“Life is like cross-stitch.”
No, this is not a line that you missed in the Academy Award winner, Forrest Gump. Forrest said “Life is like a box of chocolates. You never know what you’re going to get.” 
“Life is like cross-stitch” is my observation based on life and my experience with this needle-craft, strands of colored thread stitched in a pattern of X’s in special fabric, woven to create a picture.
Cross-stitch is two-sided. One side is the creative picture. The other side of the project shows the “real” work: the changing of threads, the underside of the French knots that look great on one side but not so much on the other side, the pull of the thread from one place on the picture to another place. If you are not careful, the underside can get pulled and stretched in a way that distorts the picture on the other side. Dark threads that are supposed to be hidden can too easily show through the lighter fabric. Threads become tangled. Stitches become undone. When the project is complete, I’m happy to show you the “picture” side, but would prefer you not turn it over.
And thus is life. We look good on one side but we’d rather that folks not look too closely underneath.
It’s so easy to get pulled and stretched. We move from one project to another. Our lives get distorted. Our lives get tangled. Our threads get loose. We become undone.
Margin creates space for us to move through life less pulled, less stretched, less tangled, less undone. Margin gives us room to breathe – to enjoy the moments of life. Most importantly, margin creates space for God to speak, for us to listen, and for His life to be shown in our lives.
Prayer: Lord, some days I just feel pulled, stretched, almost undone. Show me, Lord Jesus, what I need to change so that just for today, I will reflect your work in my life. In Your name I pray, Amen.
Reflection Question for the Day:
Is there an area of your life that is becoming distorted? What one action can you do differently today that will cause you to be less pulled, less stretched?
 Forest Gump, movie released in 1994.
Devotion from Building Margin for a Balanced Life, devotional book, small group study and sermon series
©Tim Reaves and Trish Archer
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Photo by Jon Strother