Reepham & Wensum Valley Team Churches - at the Heart of the Community

Rev’d Helen’s Pastoral Letter Feb 2020


I wonder if we have too much choice and that, in its own way the amount of choice we have ‘over stresses’ us. We live in a society where we have more choice than ever. Go to a supermarket and you can buy 10 different types of tinned tomatoes…. organic, chopped, whole, with herbs, without herbs, branded, stores own brand… yet does all this choice actually help us or hinder us? When we then start to look at other factors such as which would be healthiest, which is better for the environment in terms of air miles or packaging a whole new level of choice and indecision is created with many of us yearning for a choice of one!

There is no escaping that we live in a high anxiety culture. Some people are able to manage their way through this, but others can still feel overwhelmed. Does having so many choices overcomplicate things and add unnecessary pressure?

Many of us are aware, particularly with the focus on environmental issues, of the amount of ‘things’ we all have. Some are much treasured, others hardly used. If something breaks, often it is cheaper to buy a new one instead of getting it repaired. For some people, acquiring new things is a comfort. Items are hoarded away, which in itself can be problematic. It is difficult and painful to let these items go and many people can often feel anxious about losing those objects or having their choices taken away.  When we go away on holiday or visit friends, we take less with us and we don’t need as much stuff. What if we didn’t need so much stuff in the first place? 

There are groups that I like on Facebook where you can offer free unwanted items to a good home. I love the idea of sharing when we have too much. Getting rid of the surplus in turns helps to reduce our choices, whilst at the same time offering someone who may have little choice extra options. I wonder where the balance of choice is?

In the Bible, Jesus says “do not worry about what you will wear, eat or drink”  – even then anxiety was a problem! He encouraged a way of being where one is not reliant on stuff or choices, but on being completely in the moment with the people around us. Fully attentive to each situation, listening and taking action.

So I wonder if being mindful of choice, I need a declutter of stuff and to share those ‘things’ I no longer need anymore. I wonder how that would reduce any stress.