Packing For the Journey
Whilst packing my son’s school bag last week, it occurred to me that I only put in the things that he needs. If I put anything extra in, it would simply weigh him down unnecessarily. Conversely, my handbag seems to contain absolutely everything except the one thing I actually need. If I’m searching around in its dark, sticky (why is that?!), fluff covered depths, I can almost guarantee that I’ll come across thirty receipts, various out-of-date coupons, an old cough sweet, some ‘treasure’ from the park (usually a pine cone or acorn, courtesy of my son) and a broken, inky pen before I finally locate my keys or phone. I have no idea why I let each of my bags get in such a state. It wastes so much of my time and energy. I’ll often be found grumbling to myself at my front door, either wanting to get in (and not finding my keys) or wanting to lock up (doing a mental tour of the house to remind myself of said key’s whereabouts).
My bag and my son’s bag have one thing in common – I am responsible for them both and yet, they couldn’t be more different. His bag is tidy and light whilst mine is comparable to airport luggage! Why the vast difference? Maybe it is because I value my son’s comfort and needs more than my own. Maybe it is because I don’t want to burden him with too many decisions. All I know is that I want him to be ready for whatever his day at school throws at him, without being dragged down by surplus books/food or clothes.
It is the mother’s job to make sure that you are as equipped as a convenience store: Tissues? Medicine? Baby wipes? Emergency snacks? Spare socks? An empty container for your child’s new pet fly? Yes, we’ve got them all! So the fact that my bag is brimming with ‘stuff’ probably isn’t surprising.
When I look at my daily life, it occurs to me that I also carry around far too much emotional baggage. Instead of giving this baggage to God, I choose to pack it into my cerebral ‘suitcase’ and heave it around with me all day. Not only is this completely unnecessary, the more worrying indicator is that I simply don’t trust God enough to handle my ‘junk’ for me.
In the same way that I approach my motherly duty of packing my child’s schoolbag, I need to speak to Him every morning and say, “Father, there are many burdens on my shoulders. Please take them from me and replace them with Your peace. Equip me for the day ahead and if I find myself in need, may I look to You.”
God promises to provide us with all that we need. He longs to take care of us and His shoulders are more than capable of bearing all our regrets, fears, concerns or doubts. What is more, God isn’t just offering to share our burdens for a while, merely to hand back to us at a later stage. God can deal with them, break them down, remove them completely or better still, replace them with something of infinite more worth…something that we might not even have known we needed.
We should also follow Christ’s example of travelling lightly. For his many journeys, Jesus didn’t prepare a list of items ahead of schedule. He simply went where God called him. He didn’t take food and clothes or arrange a place to stay for the night.
Whilst I am not criticising the need to be prepared, especially when you have dependants in tow, I am asking you to evaluate the weight and size of your ‘personal belongings’ and ask if it is really necessary to carry such a heavy load. Is there anything in your life that you are reluctant to let go of?
If so, now might be the time to say, “Lord God, please help me with this load. I have been carrying it for too long and it is wearing me down. Please take it from me now and allow me, instead, to focus of You and the respite that you provide me with. In Christ’s name I ask it. Amen.”
See You In The Round!