Do you ever find yourself experiencing routine dissatisfaction, discomfort, or a gap in your life? Have you ever felt that what you’re doing doesn’t support or communicate what’s important to you? My friend, when this happens, you’re in the middle of a value conflict.
In my experience, the more you seek to trim the excess in your life by setting boundaries on your schedule, making your money obey your plans, and getting a grip on taking care of and stewarding what God’s given you, the more you’ll be confronted with value conflicts.
Need an example? Allow me to humiliate myself for your benefit.
My husband and I are passionate about helping churches in non-English speaking countries share the Gospel online. For a season of our lives I volunteered hours each week with our non-profit organization and every extra penny we had was poured into this cause. One day our car needed to be replaced and I was faced with a value conflict when I discovered I was pouring too much time and money into one area and not serving the other. I had a God-given passion to support churches overseas in ministry both with my time and finances. But I also have a family and live in an area where we are unable to walk most places we need to go, meaning having a working vehicle is of necessity. Both needs are valid, but I had to make a choice. The growing frustration on my mind showed it was time for me to shift my actions (by stopping monthly contributions long enough to pay for a car) to support my belief in prioritizing family needs.
Sometimes a value conflict isn’t obvious. It might take months of driving our child to sports practice before we realize our heart rate increases every time we think of time spent on the road and missing out on weeknight family dinners because of the sport. Occasionally a person discovers she’s putting energy into something that’s detracting from what matters most. Some people experience a breakdown before noticing that earning a paycheck from a company whose vision he doesn’t support is gnawing away at him.
In my opinion, if you’re in a situation that cannot (or should not) be “and” but should be “or“, it’s actually a win for the minimalist lifestyle. You’re making a choice, ruling out opportunities that could add chaos or confusion, and living out your values instead of living on a whim.
Are you feeling pulled in two directions? Continuing to operate in the same manner will only add stress and dissatisfaction to life. Identify the values you place in each opportunity, then prayerfully make your choice.