Excess baggage

‘He who would travel happily must travel light.’
(Antoine de Saint-Exupéry)

We’re just back from holiday. We camped in Austria, Switzerland & Italy. Rather than turning up at Eurocamps where the tent (& everything you might need!) is waiting for you, we decided to bring our tents & camping stuff with us. The added challenge was keeping to the Ryanair Family Plus baggage allowance!

We just about managed & as we made our way through security I was reminded how much things had changed since our honeymoon 21years ago. Back in those days we had bought a large terracotta planter & jar. They had to be placed in the cockpit with the pilot!

Last year, Caris bought a flowering cactus at the Flower Market in Amsterdam. It travelled with us on the rest of the Road Trip & made it home to bloom in NI!

I’m learning the skill of packing what is truly essential for road trips. But it’s much more difficult to reduce the excess baggage as we journey through life.

In the past, I’ve listened to the audiobook ‘Packing Light: Thoughts on Living Life with Less Baggage‘ by Allison Vesterfelt. This tells the story how Allison packed away her unnecessary possessions & crammed the essentials into her car to tour all fifty two states of America. In the book Alison shares insights gleaned along the highways:
“A special kind of simplicity happens when you leave behind all things unnecessary, and even some necessary ones. There is no noise, no chaotic motion—just silence. All of a sudden feelings start to rise to the surface you didn’t even know you had. You start to think thoughts you didn’t realize you were capable of thinking.”

So where can we leave the unnecessary excess baggage that’s weighing us down on this journey of life? How can we get rid of the bricks in our rucksacks?

I love the picture in Pilgrims’ Progress of Pilgrim’s burden falling away at the cross. The forgiveness of God alleviates our heaviest baggage- our sin & gives us freedom to travel lightly.

After I trusted Jesus to forgive my sin during Easter 1988, I remember singing Charles Wesley’s words with all the gusto I could muster:
‘My chains fell off
My heart was free’

God’s grace ushered in a lightness in my spirit. The weight of condemnation had been dealt with & my broken relationship with my Creator was restored.

But as time goes by, we gather baggage.It’s all to easy to pick up burdens we were never meant to carry. We can bear heavy bundles from our past, emotional baggage caused by anxiety, failure, regret or inadequacy. Their constant weight can hinder us in our onward journey.

I hate self-service checkouts. I mean- what is the point? We need assistance from the store staff 90% of the time,especially when the till declares ‘unexpected item in baggage area’ In life sometimes memories or situations load unexpected baggage onto us.

We need to retrace our steps back to the feet of Jesus & lay our burdens down. We can leave yesterday’s regrets, today’s pressures & responsibilities & tomorrow’s worries with Him.

‘Any concern too small to be turned into a prayer is too small to be made into a burden’
(Corrie Ten Boom)

When it comes to achieving balance & travelling light we need the help of the One who holds the whole world in His hands. When we feel like we’re juggling umpteen balls in the air, we need to look to our Creator God who keeps our solar system & light years beyond in orbit. We need to trust Him to deal with our baggage. Relief comes when we give our baggage to God to carry.

‘Cast your cares on the Lord and he will sustain you; he will never let the righteous be shaken.’
(Psalm 55:22 NIV)

‘Casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you.’
(1 Peter 5:7 ESV)

‘I wonder how much of what weighs me down is not mine to carry?’ (Live life happy) That’s a good question!

Jesus said,“Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.”
(Matthew 11:28-29 ESV)

I’ve been reminiscing with vintage Don Francisco songs this week. These words can soothe our burdened soul:
‘If you’re tired and weary
Weak and heavy laden
I can understand how
It feels to be alone
I will take your burden
If you’ll let Me love you
Wrap My arms around you
Give your heart a home’

‘So I will lay down my struggles
I will lay down my shame
All the fear I drag around through this life
like a ball and chain
(All my questions and confusion)
I will sing Hallelujah to the One who sets me free
And you will find me at the feet of Jesus’
(Steven Curtis Chapman)



PS You May like this article Emotional Baggage & Max Lucado’s book Travelling Light

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