It’s in the bag

Sometime your bag is just too full. Photo by: Abi Andujar

Sometimes your bag is just too full; hence the frowny face. Photo by: Abi Andujar

Well we made it. Another season of holiday travel is upon us. I’ve just returned with the family from a Thanksgiving in Iowa (burr…Florida girl in the snowy mid-west. Crazy, right? It was actually delightful.) So all this travel makes me wonder… Have you noticed how much carry-on luggage people bring since the airlines have changed their checked baggage protocols and fees? In one form or another, you can see passengers with rolling carry-on bags, backpacks, satchels, and in some cases a large purse. (For me, I know this personally because the older I get the more facial creams and hair products I need to pack just to get out the door.) We look like pack mules preparing for a 500 mile trek through the wilderness in winter.

I’m a huge people watcher. I enjoy seeing them interact and move from point A to point B rolling their bags behind them as they navigate their surroundings. So many times they look belabored and tired. I can relate. I don’t enjoy the packing, unpacking and the going to part of my trips. I’d much rather just go the Star Trek way, and “beam” right to my destination. The process of traveling is hard for me.

What’s even harder is dragging your bag everywhere you go. I’m not talking about your luggage and 2 pounds of face cream, but your “stuff”—you know your emotional junk. I remember hearing mom saying once, “Wow, she comes with a lot of baggage.” I didn’t know what that meant at the time, but now understand that it can be those things you think you’ve gotten rid of or probably know you should get rid of.

If I had to put a face or an image to what my baggage used to look like, it would look something like a suitcase that’s been packed beyond capacity with everything spilling out the sides. I can see myself sitting on top forcing it to close–pushing my stuff down deep where nobody can see it. Well, at least that’s the goal. It’s those things that make us feel shame, guilt, embarrassment, self-loathing, and defeat. Those bad decisions or actions we may have made like failed relationships, addictions, abortions, abuse, or abandonment just to name a few. They are emotional and sometimes physical burdens or weights that equate to basically carrying our unresolved past with us everywhere we go.

So how do we get from carrying an oversized, overstuffed travel bag of an unresolved past down to a manageable size, like a more fashionable clutch? First, we remember who we are in Christ. When we accepted Him as Lord and savior in our lives, He made us into a new creation. (2 Corinthians 5:17) That means that the old ‘stuff’ we carry with us has been put under His sacrifice at the cross with the guarantee of John 14:27 that Jesus has given us His peace. It’s peace of mind as much as it is to make peace with our past. The past is part of who we are and how we move forward with those experiences. They allows us the empathy and knowledge to help others.

I love what author and speaker Patsy Clairmont who in one of her writing, said something to the effect of “We are all like clay pots—broken and chipped by the life experiences we’ve endured. Through Christ, we’ve been put back together to make a usable vessel for His kingdom; however, the signs of cracks and chips remain. The light of Christ which is in us, then shines through those broken and chipped areas.” Isn’t that an incredible visual?

Second, as a new creation in Christ, Romans 12:2 reminds us to be transformed with the renewing of our minds. Huh? How do we renew our minds? We do this by making our thoughts His thoughts. What is important to Him should be important to us. We must continually pray or stay in communication with God. (1 Thessalonians 5:17) It’s an ongoing conversation throughout the day with Him while we work, drive, eat or play. It’s what we’d do if our best friend went everywhere with us and we chatted the whole time—bonding, sharing and building that relationship.

And what are relationships? Relationships are doing what God commands us to do “Love your neighbor as yourself”. (Mark 12:43) You cannot see this commandment through if you do not learn to love yourself. Learning to love yourself requires you to forgive yourself of those wrongs in your past. Remember that they are an integral part of who you are—that’ll never change. What changes is our attitude and thoughts regarding those experiences. Liberating and freeing ourselves from the weight.

In essence, our bag is not about carrying the weight of the world on our backs or dragging them behind us. It’s about replacing the old thoughts with the new: love, patience, kindness, peace—all of the things Jesus mentions in Matthew 5:3. We know them as the beatitudes–that inner transformation to peace or as I say, replacing your luggage with a smaller, lighter handbag filled with the gifts of the spirit. For me, it’s a dazzling evening clutch.

My favority kind of baggage. What about you? Photo by: AllthingsMissOlivia

My favorite kind of baggage. What about you? Photo by: AllthingsMissOlivia

Until next time, stay chic


John 14:27 (NIV) Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.

2 Corinthians 5:17 (NIV) Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!

Romans 12:2 (NIV) Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is–his good, pleasing and perfect will.

1 Thessalonians 5:17 (NIV) Pray continually

Mark 12:31 (NIV) The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself. There is no commandment greater than these.”

Patsy Clairmont

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