Imagine that you’re preparing for an amazing trip to somewhere warm, snow free, with clear blue water, bright sunshine and a balmy breeze. (I know, I know, if you’re like me, COVID is SERIOUSLY cramping our style, but I’m envisioning the my next vacation, and a girl can dream 😩). But I digress.
You’ve packed your suitcase, maybe a bit ambitiously, and as you attempt to close and move your bag, you realize it’s DEFINITELY going to be over the weight limit, which will cost you unnecessary money, and is probably overkill for a short trip anyway. You decide to attempt to lighten the load some — just taking out a couple items should do.
However, as you decide to actually LOOK at what you have in the bag, you realize that you’ve included a whole lot of items that simply don’t belong. In addition to having more outfits than you can practically wear, you’ve got a winter coat, a pair of boots, 5 textbooks (with zero intention of doing any studying), your own souvenir jar full of sand from past island vacations, and your entire jewelry box. And it’s all just thrown in there – no folding, no arranging, just a Marie Kondo fainting spell in the making.
As you continue to look at the chaotic contents of your bag, you realize that you not only have items that don’t belong, but some of your essentials are missing. What happened to the swimsuits? Where are those sunglasses? Not a single pair of sandals or a sunhat in sight?!
It’s a very strange feeling to think that you’re ready to level up and take flight on your journey to an amazing future, only to come to the startling realization that you’re still carrying what you don’t need, and have no room for what your journey requires.
That suitcase situation looks a lot like some of our lives.
Okay, okay, that suitcase is my life.
Maybe you’re like me, and you’ve been doing ‘all the things’ to prepare for the amazing opportunities that await you down the road. You’ve picked up classes, courses, coaching and consulting sessions galore (I mean Zoom, Teams, Google classroom and all of the other virtual co-conspirators have made it SO easy and accessible now). You’ve gained insight, skills, and a sense of direction you didn’t have before. You’ve had time to pray, meditate, reflect, journal, but it’s almost gotten a bit “checklist-y” and bit routine, and it’s starting to feel like “one more thing to do”, so you have a packed schedule even though ya don’t really have anywhere to go.
In the meantime, you’ve picked back up that social media habit, scrolling first thing in the morning and last thing at night. Netflix…yeah, we’re not even going to talk about Netflix…or Hulu…or Disney +…I think we understand each other at this point. Your relationships and friendships are taking an interesting turn, because there’s something weird that happens when you can’t just ‘go out’ anymore, and now you actually have to have con-ver-sa-tion to really connect and engage, and you realize that some relationships aren’t what you thought they were.
And man, is that spirit of comparison going awf, because for a lot of people, you’re getting the highlight reel version of them, and now you feel like you’re behind, and failing, and why can’t I just get it together?! Aaaand then there’s wine…and more wine…because COVID ain’t stop those sales. Aaaaand the other stuff…the private…personal…”I’m doing me” stuff you put in that zipper pocket of the suitcase so it isn’t readily visible when the bag is opened.
Whew. I’m already tired thinking about getting this bag together. *sigh*
So what do you do when you discover that you’re carrying too much?
Sometimes, you have to go back to the beginning, and start all over. That’s right. (Feel free to do the motion with me). It’s time to turn that bag over and dump it all out…or you can pick the stuff up in piles and put it on the bed if you’re particular like me, lol. We’re emptying our bag and starting all over again.
Tonight, we’re emptying ourselves, and starting all over again. Find a position that works for you, and spend some time just giving it all to God. The good, the bad, and the oh so very ugly. The thing is, if you’re going to prepare for your journey, then you need to make room for what you must carry.
This moment is all about giving ourselves some breathing room. What have you picked up in the last day, week, month, year, that you need to lay down so that you can have room to breathe again? To think clearly again? To strategize again? To create again? To love again? To be free again? To live again?
When you find out you’re carrying too much, when you find yourself overwhelmed, distracted, stuck or stagnant, it’s a sign that it’s time to lay it down and start over again.
What’s in your hands, your heart, on your mind, in your space that you have the power to put down?
Hear our Good Shepherd calling you now:
Then Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light.”
Matthew 11:28 (NLT)