Baggage: Packing for the “Just in Case” Moments

by Dawn Aldrich

“It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.”  –Galatians 5:1

It amazes me how little my husband needs to pack for a trip. Whether it’s a week or just a weekend, he fits everything into a carry-on. I, however, need the largest suitcase, an overnight bag AND a large tote bag!

You see, I pack for the “just in case” moments. Maybe you can relate? I pack that pretty dress “just in case” we visit a fancy restaurant, (which also requires packing an extra pair of shoes, a clutch, matching jewelry and perfume). I pack a long pair of pants for a summer trip down south “just in case” the weather turns cold, (has the south ever known a July day less than 85 degrees?). Oh, and I pack an empty tote bag for all those “gotta haves” I find along the way.  So, you can imagine how heavy my baggage is on our return trip.

Emotional baggage can weigh us down, too.  It comes from living in a broken world, from circumstances that wound us physically, emotionally or both. We might pack things like fear, anxiety, unworthiness, and unforgiveness – for those “just in case” moments. We tuck fear in our bags because it keeps danger at bay, anxiety to keep us on high alert,  unworthiness to ensure low-risk, and unforgiveness to keep our relationships in check by reinforcing the walls built around our heart.

Gone unpacked, all this emotional baggage  eventually immobilizes us, enslaves us and holds us captive. But we are meant for more. Jesus came to set us  free so that we might know freedom.

He has sent me (Jesus) to comfort the brokenhearted
    and to proclaim that captives will be released
    and prisoners will be freed. He has sent me to tell those who mourn
    that the time of the Lord’s favor has come. Isaiah 61: 1b-2a (NLT)

Freedom is ours if we want it. All Jesus asks is permission to sort through our dirty laundry. It’s scary at first. Who enjoys showing off their stained rags?  This sorting process may seem unpleasant, even painful, at first, but Jesus is always gracious and compassionate, never condemning, only loving. And, as He unpacks our bags, sorts through our dirty rags,  he trades our old for His new. He takes our fear and gives us confidence, replaces anxiety with his perfect peace,and unworthiness with Kingdom significance.

Have you over packed for all those “just in case” moments, too? Are you tired of carrying all that heavy baggage, living in bondage to it? Jesus is ready to take it off your hands and give you a whole new wardrobe, if you let him.

Lord Jesus, give us the courage to face our dirty rags and the strength to give them to you. Mend our broken hearts and release us from bondage and heaviness so that we might know the freedom you so willingly offer. Amen.

(Emotional baggage should never be trivialized. If you find yourself immobilized by emotional baggage please seek a professional, Christian counselor to guide you through the healing process).

To read more of Dawn’s posts visit her at Dawn’s New Day