Dr Richard Swenson is a medical doctor has noticed that “something is burning” his patients. On top of all the ‘normal’ problems with illness, depression, and just being human, something else has increasingly thrown society into a deeper and deeper state of stress and anxiety. A friend lent me a earlier book of his called “Margin” which basically talks about trying to live within our means financially, emotionally, physically and especially in planning our time. He talks about factoring in ‘wiggle room’ into our week, ‘margin’, some space for things to go wrong. The concept is that we have packed so many unrealistic expectations into our lives that when one thing goes wrong on the Monday, the dominoes we stacked too closely together all fall down and by Friday we are emotional wrecks. If we assertively plan some space into our lives, then we might begin to live within the creaturely limits God has built into us and into the rhythms of his world. (See the book of Ecclesiastes for a joyful celebration of the moment-by-moment changing nature of this world, and how we should live within it. Note: the NIV translates the word for ‘vapour’ or ‘mist’ as ‘meaningless, meaningless, all is meaningless’ and some transitions translate it ‘vanity, vanity’ but in reality the word seems to mean ‘changing, transitory, mist’ which may actually point to a different mindset from the author).
Now it appears Dr Swenson has written a new book called “Balance”. Swenson’s new book promises to be a rebuke to the perfectionist expectations the media encourages us to indulge. I can only applaud the CMA for hosting this excellent speaker, who will no doubt rebuke the top-end of the Christian town.
Most of us live lives of “quiet desperation,”, as Henry David Thoreau put it, except we’re no longer quiet about it. When exactly did ‘all stress, all the time” replace the “green pastures and still waters”? And what can we do about it? We try to manage all the details thrown our way, but we lack a sense of calm and steadiness at the centre. Richard Swenson, MD, author of the best-selling book Margin, helps us understand the dangers of living in a post-balance world and gives us hope for recovering a foundational sense of equilibrium.
Dr Swenson offers not only important organising principles for making sense of our lives but also scores of practical prescriptions for recovering our balance. Having worked out his principles as a physician, author and speaker, Dr. Swenson gives advice that is grounded in the daily realities we all experience. But his wisdom has been honed by the big-picture perspective of an exhaustive study of the stresses of modern life and progress, the forces that relentlessly give us “more and more of everything faster and faster.”