Living on the Corner of Conflicted and Turmoil

Living on the Corner of Conflicted and Turmoil

I live on the corner of “Conflicted and Turmoil.” How I think about time and money especially confirms this.

I think deeply about life. I want to live with intention and make my life count. If I’m honest, I am often trying to achieve elusive perfection in the way I walk out biblical principles on how to spend time and money.

Functionally, this looks like excessive pondering and over analyzing to figure out how to do the right thing, say the right thing, live the right way.

In matters of how to spend money, I believe money is first and foremost God’s money that He simply entrusts to us. The Bible provides principles and general guidelines on how to steward those finances, but it leaves many details up to us. It is the details that can confound me on how to proceed.

It seems to be a battle between the wisdom of Proverbs and the not storing up for yourselves treasures on earth that the book of Matthew speaks of.

For example, if there is financial room to choose, should I purchase quality clothing and home goods that will stand the test of time but may cost a bit more? Spend more upfront but possibly save in the long run? Should I pour money into making improvements on our home knowing this would likely improve our return investment later? Or should I live carpe diem, divesting myself of surplus in order to serve those just scraping by or even barely surviving?

Wanting to spend money wisely yet longing to free up any and all resources to serve the less resourced in this world can come in conflict when it comes to making these practical decisions.

How does one live practically and wisely while also living with eternity in view, knowing this world is not our home?

(*Spoiler Alert: I actually don’t know the answer.)

How we spend our time holds similar quandaries for me.

My husband and I read a book entitled, Margin: Restoring Emotional, Physical, Financial, and Time Reserves to Overloaded Lives by Richard Swenson a few years back and were profoundly challenged by its theme.

We recognized our tendency to prioritize too many things and overestimate how much we could accomplish within a 24-hour/7-day period given our unique levels of capacity. Our efforts to simplify schedules and not over extend have been motivated by humility for the most part, recognizing that we are not the answer for all the world’s problems. We can indeed bow out from time to time, and everything and everyone is going to be okay.

At the same time, we desire not to waste a single second that God gives us here on earth to be about His business of redemption and reconciling Himself to man. We know our life here on earth is fleeting yet carries with it the awe inspiring invitation to participate in the divine nature, the work that God is doing all over His Creation.

We are humbled by our human capacity.

We are equally humbled by the opportunity to share in God’s work. And, we don’t want to miss a thing.

We have a phrase we use to encourage one another when faced with weariness in serving God’s purposes: “Leave it all on the field!”

Any sports fan will understand that we mean to give life our all, empty ourselves fully each day in the good works God has prepared for us. I recognize that some days the good work is taking a nap! Some days, it means spending our time doing three things at once in service to others.

The thing is, I don’t always know how to call the day. I can’t always discern, “Is this the day to nap or is this the day to go beyond that which I think I am capable?”

Is this moment for restraint or abundance? Is this money marked for giving or saving?

Ecclesiastes 3 speaks of there being a time for all things, even those things that are contrary to one another: a time for living and dying, breaking down and building up, mourning and rejoicing, keeping and throwing away, staying silent and speaking up, loving and hating, war and peace. As long as we live on earth, there will be these contrasting emotions and behaviors.

I live on the corner of “Conflicted and Turmoil” in part because this is true. This truth confronts my desire for balance in life and for clear cut answers.

In life, there are times to spend time and money with abandon as there are also times God calls us to austerity and rest for the sake of His Kingdom work progressing.

I do not always feel certain about my personal pursuit of one or the other, but at the end of the day, I must act. I must step out in faith rather than sight because I do not see clearly.

My faith is not in my ability to make the right decision; my faith is in the ONE for whom I prayerfully wrestle with these decisions — God.

n the ways I end up spending my time and money, my faith in moving forward must be in Jesus, the one Who DID do everything right. He always discerned the Father’s will accurately and then obeyed it perfectly. And, because He did, I can have peace while living on the corner of “Conflicted and Turmoil.”

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About

Briana is a truth seeker who wrestles with how to love God with all her heart, mind, soul, and strength and how to faithfully live Micah 6:8. She rarely turns down coffee, chocolate, red wine and soft cheeses. Eschewing labels and boxes, she’s reluctant to share she homeschools her 3 children and is completely sold on the real food movement. Briana “wears her heart on her sleeve” and married a “close to the vest” kind of guy, both having strong and opposite preferences for just about everything which makes for a “conflict more often than not” marriage, but one worth fighting for. She writes privately to order the chaos in her head. She writes publicly to encourage and persuade others of the one thing of which she is utterly convinced: that God is a big God and a good God and loves His people with an indescribable love. In her feeble and stumbling attempts to describe God’s love, she writes occasionally on her blog, Pleasant Places.


  • Amy Kannel

    I so get the feeling of constantly being conflicted and in tension. The older I get the less black and white I see, the more gray–and it is so much harder and more complicated to live in that “messy middle” than to go to one extreme or the other. I can see how in many ways it has been so good for me in that it requires me to pursue God in dependent humility, as you’re saying here, rather than rely on my own formulas, performance, answers, etc.

    I think you would really enjoy and be helped by Joe Rigney’s excellent book The Things of Earth. It was so, so good. I should revisit it actually–way too much to soak in/chew on in one read-through.

    • Briana

      Thanks for the book rec., Amy! I’ll put it on my good reads list. And I’m with you..the older I become, the fewer hills I’m willing to die on and the more I find myself just relishing the communion with Jesus.

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Living on the Corner of Conflicted and Turmoil

by Briana Almengor time to read: 4 min
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