Are you a light packer or a heavy packer?
I'm talking about packing for a trip. Some people can use a small duffle bag. They throw in the necessities, the bare minimum, and they are ready to go.
I have to confess. That is not me. Every time I prepare to go on a trip, whether it is for one night or one week, I tend to cram everything I can into a large suitcase.
I take more clothes than I will wear. I have a phobia about running out of underwear, so I pack at least twice the number that I should need. The old saying about making sure you have on clean underwear in case you are in an accident has always stood out in my mind.
Based on the number I pack, I can be involved in approximately three accidents per day and I'm covered!
My point is that I tend to carry more baggage than necessary. Loading my suitcase into the car is physically draining.
Today, I want to talk with you about baggage we often carry that is emotionally draining. This baggage comes in the form of three particular suitcases that we carry in our soul.
The first suitcase we tend to frequently load is the baggage of regret. This comes from our past. We fill our souls with such statements as, "I wish I would have" or " I should have."
People who pack this suitcase live in the past. They drive down the highway of life looking in the rearview mirror. They dwell on hurtful happening in the past or on missed opportunities. They yearn to go back in time and change certain decisions they made.
These are the "If Only People." If you are in this category you need to realize that you cannot change the past, but the past can change you if you do not quit packing regrets. It is God's intent for us to look forward instead of backward. His forgiveness is all about going forward. There is an old gospel song with a line that reads, "What sins are you talking about? I don't remember them anymore." If God doesn't waste time thinking about our past mistakes and bad decisions, why should we?
The second suitcase we often pack contains the baggage of the present. This comes in the form of stress. Stress is all around us daily. You may have marital problems, health problems, work problems, or financial problems, and even
young people often have school-related problems. An overabundance of stress can cause you to experience physical, mental, or spiritual sickness. The devil will help you pack this suitcase because he hopes that, with all of your stress, you will simply give up on God. Once you give up on God, you give up on yourself. You become defeated and an easy prey for the devil.
The third suitcase we often pack is all about the future. We typically begin to pack worry and anxiety in our souls. These are what I call "But People." The focus is on the future but it is all bad. They tend to say things such as, "But, if I get sick…", "But, if I get hurt…", "But, if the car won't start…", "But, if I don't measure up in my Christian life…", "But, but, but." Following every "But" is a negative.
These may even be Christians who go to church every Sunday. By Sunday afternoon, however, their "Buts" start to show. "But, I've got a big bill due this week," or "But I have to face my boss on Monday." Worry and anxiety show a lack of faith in God. Without faith in God, the suitcases become too heavy to carry.
Today, I've identified three suitcases that we need to unpack. How do we do that? For that answer, you will need to read next week's column. I'm going to tell you how to become a light packer. It is time for me to use smaller suitcases!