I hope this blog finds you well. I wanted to share something with you that God has placed on my heart and I’m hoping it’ll help you (and me) free ourselves from some of the baggage we’ve been carrying around.
It all started about a week ago when I decided that I needed to clean out all of our closets. I know it’s not Spring but I felt like we needed some Spring cleaning… maybe Winter cleaning, instead. I felt like we needed to do this because we moved to South Carolina with all of our junk. We literally boxed every single thing in our house in Ohio and moved it to South Carolina and a lot of it has been sitting in the same bins that it came off of the truck in. We are carrying around so much junk! And as we think about what’s next for us, I refuse, REFUSE, to carry this junk back with us.
It’s sort of silly that we do this, isn’t it? We carry junk around with us. We haven’t worn something in 3 years but we don’t get rid of it. The kids aren’t playing with these toys anymore but we hold on to them. We’ve changed the décor of our house completely but we’re still packing away the old frames we used before. We just continue to move our junk from one place to another.
My husband works in Human Resources and we talk about poor performers quite often. Sometimes a manager may get really tired of a poor performer but instead of coaching that person to do better or to get rid of them altogether, the manager asks if my husband could move that employee to another department. My husband’s answer is always the same… “we don’t move problems.” Sometimes, we do the same thing with our excess baggage. Instead of just getting rid of it, we move it around and try to make it pretty again. Or we try to move it and squeeze it into our new life.
Anyway, getting back to our winter cleaning… this process has taken about a week to get through. I have 3 boys whose rooms I had to go through. And then there was asking my husband to do his closet, and my poor husband finding the actual time to get it done. Finally, my turn was up to clean out my clothes. As I sat there in my closet, deciding what to get rid of, I had a total crazed moment. I realized that I was afraid to get rid of my excess.
I realized that there were two reasons that I was having a hard time getting rid of things. One reason was because I grew up appreciating every single thing that my parents gave me. We knew that we weren’t rich and so my parents instilled in me a grateful attitude and with that, the idea that we don’t take anything for granted. So to actually throw stuff away or donate it to Goodwill was sort of hard.
Secondly, and even the bigger issue, is that I didn’t want to get rid of the bigger clothes that I own just in case I gain all the weight back that I lost last year. As I glanced over my clothes in my closet, I kept thinking “oh, I should keep this…just in case.” I have pants that can swallow me whole now but I felt that I needed to hold on to… just in case. Just at the moment that I was having this epiphany, my husband walked in the closet and asked if I was okay. I told him I needed an intervention and explained what was going on. Immediately, he prayed for me. He prayed for my mind and for this stronghold on my life about how I view myself, how I value myself, and what I think of myself. I’m so grateful to have him as my life partner.
I think that we do this in life a lot. Maybe for you it’s not clothes but maybe it’s emotional baggage that you’re carrying around with you from relationship to relationship. Maybe for you it is materialistic stuff that you keep carrying around from house to house. Maybe for you it’s a need to be a people pleaser and you carry around that burden.
As I sat in the closet and my husband prayed, I had a vision of myself carrying around a garbage bag of 40lbs on my back. That is essentially what I’m doing. I’m carrying the excess with me and saying “nope! can’t get rid of that quite yet!” I’ve become so accustomed to it that it has become a part of me. It’s hard to see me any differently, even with my clothes fitting differently and people telling me that I look great. My mind hasn’t been transformed yet.
There are many of us that are carrying around the excess baggage because we haven’t figured out how to get rid of it. We have been carrying it around for so long that we don’t even recognize it anymore. We have become so accustomed to carrying it around that we can’t imagine life without it.
Well, I’m here to tell you (and myself) today: He whom the Son set free is free indeed (John 8:36)! Shake of the excess. Drop it off at Goodwill. Throw it away on garbage day. Burn it. Whatever you need to do, do in order to free yourself from the excess. Because let me tell you, God is not carrying that baggage and holding it against you. You are doing that to yourself. He has set you free so be FREE!
I dropped off about 20 bags at Goodwill this morning. Guess what wasn’t in the bags? A few pairs of pants that are way too big but that I couldn’t get rid of quite yet. It’s going to take some time. I have work to do. God has work to do in me. But I look forward to the day that I drop off those things at Goodwill and drive away transformed.