SHARING and CARING…it’s what LIFE is all about!

Margins and Blame Throwing

Posted by on May 31, 2016 in Blog, Food for Thought | 4 comments

endorphins 1 Connie Cavanaugh ( is a gifted humourist, speaker and author, and I had the privilege of sitting under her teaching this past weekend at a Women of Grace conference at Muskoka Bible Centre. It’s been a long time since I’ve laughed so hard or for so long. I basked in a much-needed-release of endorphins and it felt good!

As I enjoyed her humour and ultimately soaked up her wisdom, I didn’t realized how much stress has become so ingrained in my life, especially when, as a participant, I was encouraged to list the things that “suck me dry, that deplete my energy.” I have to admit the list shocked me! As a result—and not for the first time!—there was much to learn and, hopefully remember to put into practise.

Let me share a couple of thoughts I brought home!

One thing Connie addressed was margins. After a previous evening of bent-over belly laughter—and admittedly, wondering where this woman was going to take us—she introduced the concept of putting margins in our lives. Being a writer and putting the final touches on my latest manuscript, my first thought was the one inch margin that surrounds a typed page. Not a new or challenging word to add to one’s vocabulary. But that was not the direction she was taking us. Connie encouraged us to apply margins to our lives, to our daily schedules, even to our relationships. She encouraged us to prioritize so that we could energize. She encouraged us to say no to anything that doesn’t matter the most to our lives, to our families and to God.

To help us do this, she suggested we write down the things that “suck us dry, that deplete our energy,” things that are toxic in our lives. Sadly, I quickly filled the larger left margin of the handout she provided! Too tired, no energy, unfocused, irritable, stress 1overtaxed, too much time in front of the computer.  And they are just a few that I feel comfortable in sharing! Now, in fairness to my self-esteem and self-confidence, I am not always feeling sucked dry… just sometimes. But the questions on the handout still challenged me to take a good look at the margins in my life and how much space I am allowing before my bucket dangerously overflows. Two questions stood out for me: What drives me, really? And, Who am I really trying to please? I’ll leave them with you to consider in your own life. I know I’m doing that in mine.

Connie also stated that we are not victims of our circumstances; we are participantsflame thrower and fingersThat was a loaded comment! Then she added, “You always have a choice.” And she had my full attention (If you’re in the habit of reading my blogs, you’ll know that I’m big on choice!). To elaborate further and perhaps to hit the bull’s eye, she said, “Put away the ‘blame throwers.’” Her antics of pointing an invisible flame thrower at the audience helped her hit the mark (no pun intended!), and I was immediately reminded of the old saying about pointing a finger: one may be pointed at the person being accused, but three more are pointing back at the accuser. We were reminded how easily and quickly we blame others for things that go wrong in our lives. Sometimes others are responsible for inflicting pain, trouble, and heartache. Fair enough. But in truth, how many times are we guilty of pointing the finger at someone else in an effort to avoid being responsible for our own choices and decisions? Connie concluded this topic very succinctly by saying we are to accept responsibility for our own happiness and this can only be done when we allow the Holy Spirit to speak to us… but we’ve got to be listening.

In all of this, I’m reminded that God’s grace has no limits. This imperfect follower of Christ struggles with margins and blame throwing, and yet I can still seek my Faithful Father, my Enduring Friend’s forgiveness any time, any day, always. And I am overwhelmed!

(Steve Green – Your Grace Still Amazes Me in Love Will Find A Way)


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  1. Cathy Di Giulio

    Ruth, thank you for so accurately summarizing the Women of Grace session this past weekend. Even though it was only a couple of days ago, the refresher helped. The one thing that I also took away was that we can invoke changes with little “keys” or by 5 degrees at a time. I already started with a couple of things …
    Very nice to see you this weekend. Love, Cathy

    • Ruth Waring

      Hey, Cathy… I, too, am working on the small changes. I like the comparison Connie made with an ocean liner turning around 5 degrees at a time, slow but sure. Like eating an elephant… one bite at a time! Always nice to see you. Just wish it was more often. Maybe I’ll take you up on that visit and spare bedroom the next time I ‘run away from home.’ Love and blessings, R.

  2. Jenn

    Great read Mom! Glad it was such a good weekend.

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