Did you miss me? 🙂
I know it’s been a second (give or take several days) since I’ve posted a new blog (although I see there was quite a bit of dialogue going on re: the last one), but I was on a much needed vacation. It’s funny, but I had planned (Proverbs 16:9) on taking a break from “deep thought blogs” while I was gone. Wouldn’t you know it? Even before leaving Nashville, I encountered a lesson that I knew I just had to share.
The Message Version of Proverbs 12:15 states, “Fools are headstrong and do what they like; wise people take advice.” For years, my mother advised me against packing a lot of clothes while traveling. One of her main reasons was because when you do, you usually end up having to check your luggage and luggage, at times, gets lost.
Last Monday, I discovered another reason.
As I put my bag—my bag that had more outfits than I came even close to wearing (Ecclesiastes 5:10)—onto the scale, the attendant told me, “You are two pounds overweight. You will need to take some things out.”
OK, now I’m still tripping that we are at a point in our economy where you can have a bag be overweight (just where is all of the oil, anyway?!?), but I didn’t even really have time to contemplate what to take out or where to put it.
“Can’t I just pay for the extra pounds?”
The attendant looked at me for a moment. “Sure,” he said. “It will be $25.”
$25 for two pounds. $25 for two pounds? $25 for two pounds!
I couldn’t believe it. After pulling out my Pay Pal credit card and signing the receipt, I immediately called the person who dropped me off: a “love brother” of mine who gets me when I call to share random “ah ha” moments. After explaning to him what happened, I said, “You know, this could be an entire devotional. When you have extra baggage, you need to either leave it behind or pay the price.”
Several years ago, Erykah Badu had a single that spoke of this very thing. “Bag Lady” talked about a woman who was going to break her back, lose her relationship and encounter a lot of unnecessary emotional distress from carrying so much of her past, her issues, her drama along. As I boarded the plane, I thought about how many times I have found myself emotionally, mentally, financially, relationally and spiritually coughing up more than I really could afford all because I refused to let a man go, a mistake go, an offense go…even a traditional mentality that I could find no real spiritual merit for go.
Like those four extra pair of shoes I took that I really didn’t need, oftentimes I would hold on to a memory, an emotion, a relationship thinking, “I can’t find any real use for it now, but I may need it later and so I’ll keep it…just in case.” Hmph. I remember an organizer on Oprah once say that if you go an entire season without wearing a certain item, it’s a sign that you don’t need it. It’s probably a good idea to let it go.
He’s not saying anything that’s any different than Ecclesiastes 3. Indeed, to everything, there is a time and a purpose. I wonder how many of us actually consult the ultimate life organizer, God, about when we are holding on to things that we no longer need. I wonder how many times we are preparing to go into a new direction lugging so much behind us that we are told, “Wait. You have to much for this journey. You will either need to leave some things behind or pay for bringing them along.” And, I wonder how many of us can afford what is required to keep them.
Two of my favorite self-help authors, Dr. Henry Cloud and Dr. John Townsend, wrote a book entitled “Safe People: How to Find Relationships That Are Good for You and Avoid Those That Aren’t“. Sometimes, I think, in our efforts to “love everybody” and “heal the world”, we forget that we are also to discern the what, when, where, why and how of those things. The Bible says that God did not only give us the spirit of power and love, but a sound mind as well. (2 Timothy 1:7) One definition of sound is “to investigate”. In other words, there should be seasonal times in our lives when we look into where we are as a result of where we’ve been and if there’s something we don’t like, we, with the help of Christ (Philippians 4:13) should look into changing it. This often requires releasing certain people, places, things and ideas as it relates to where we were.
Trust me, this is still something I struggle with, sometimes on an hourly basis, but as I mature in my relationship with Christ, this is something that I take great comfort in, whenever I feel the Holy Spirit telling me, “If you want to get to that next place, Shellie, some stuff has got to go.”
“For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.”—Matthew 11:30 (NKJV)
Sometimes, no many times, when things get too much for me, I have come to accept that it’s not always about trials and tribulations. It’s about me refusing to let some stuff go. When I don’t, I get weighed down. That’s no way for a Christ follower to live. Serving God is not supposed break you (in any sense of the word). It’s supposed to liberate you; to free you up so that you can live the abundant life that Christ died for you to have (John 10:10).
So, let this serve as a warning. If you plan on packing heavy on your summer vacation, take some extra bucks with you. And, if you plan on getting to the next level in God, with last year, last month or even yesterday on your back, be prepared to pay the price.
Take it from me, as much as you may want to claim extra baggage, you don’t need it. And it ain’t worth it.
Link to “Safe People”: http://www.amazon.com/Safe-People-Relationships-Avoid-Those/dp/0310210844