More Everything Plan. Last week, a commercial from Verizon Wireless nabbed my attention. Their latest plan, to offer me the best service I can imagine and secure my loyalty as a Verizon customer, is called the More Everything Plan.
What could be better? More data. More talk. More texting. More storage. More international messaging. More options for family members. More, more, more. What could be better?
Here’s what makes me crazy. Rationally, I see through the gimmick. It’s one more way to get me to spend more money over more time. Can they be more obvious? Who do they think I am?
Yet, some part of me was sucked in by their subtle seduction. I started to wonder what it would be like to have more. I started to imagine who I could message internationally—never mind that I don’t message anyone internationally now. I could always start. I started to ponder what it would be like to not worry about overages on texting or data, though I rarely go over my allotment anyway. In other words, they had me. I was like Pavlov’s dog, salivating at the mere suggestion of MORE!
More is better! Though we say we don’t believe it, we live it. The great paradox of a more obsessed culture is that we do end up with more; more anxiety, more depression, more loneliness, more stress related maladies for adults and more stress induced manifestations in our kids. More, more, more.
That’s the bad news. The goods news is this— we can choose not to buy in. Instead of a More Everything Plan we can choose a More Essential Things Plan.
With a More Essential Things Plan, the driving motivation of life is not to do more things, but to do essential things more often. What are those essential things for you? I don’t know, specifically. But, in general, as a follower of Jesus, anything that connects us more fully with the life-force of God reflected through the character of Jesus, is essential and life-giving.
Jurgen Moltmann describes this life as a “vital life”— a life connected with the creative energy of God. You will know you are experiencing this life when you can rest securely in the grace of God and not be bound by the expectations of others; when you can reach for new possibility though mired in recurring struggles of life; when you embrace the paradoxes of life rather than default to black and white thinking; when you experience the wonder of the natural world and the relationships you engage each day; when you know your life matters wherever that life is lived; when you stop long enough to refresh, renew, revitalize.
I’ll be reflecting and writing more about this “vital life” later this summer and into the fall. This spring, the Vision Board granted me a three month sabbatical to complete the writing of a book contracted through InterVarsity Press. Every seven years, the pastoral staff is eligible for a three month sabbatical. Sabbaticals are intentional times set aside for renewal, for study, for re-engagement with the “essential” things that feed life into our bodies and minds and spirits.
My sabbatical time (July 20-October 20) will primarily be spent writing about the characteristics of a vital life—a life open to the creative energy and power of God. For me, writing is life-giving and scary and risky. It’s a discipline that pushes me beyond my natural limits. In other words, it’s a pathway for growth.
It’s Monday. What would an essential things plan look like for you? Peace. Kai