There is nothing quite as embarrassing as finding out that your suitcase is the largest on your team, the largest on your row at the airport, the largest in the car transporting the group, or worst of all – you can’t lift it. Sitting on your suitcase in an effort to close it with your heels pressing into the floor for more leverage, and then having the thought is this zipper going to die on me!? is a sure sign that you packed too much stuff. I speak from experience.
The more you travel, the more you learn about how to pack effectively. You learn what you need, and what you don’t need. Most of the things that you think you need, you don’t touch. Somehow, the things you need the most still get forgotten. Oh, the terrifying discovery on the road of finding out that you are without your toothpaste, clippers, or a phone charger – yet again. And that all the more exasperated when you are headed straight for a stage, as I often am.
My packing skills grew immensely in recent years through a lot of travel. My suitcases are finally small. I own the most important things for trips in double, they remain packed. It’s a game to me now to only bring what I need, and negative points to carry home things unused. I can race through the airport without baggage now. My bags are light. This is a far stretch from where I started, studying abroad over ten years ago with two enormous suitcases bursting at the seams. Those bags held a queen-sized sentimental quilt and a full-sized keyboard that I simply “could not live without.” The zippers on both of those bags actually did break before I made it to my destination! Duct tape!
Our souls can act like a suitcase at times, carrying things that we need. Our souls also carry things that we don’t need. At times, our souls carry way too much, weighing down our entire being to exhaustion. The soul has a tendency to absorb and preserve more than it needs to, gripping experiences like an administrator who loves filing more than life. It often requires a directive from us to let things go, simplify, forgive - re-pack. Otherwise it becomes the historian we would be better off without, always reminding us of what hurt, when, why, and how.
Some people are carrying oversized soul baggage all the time. Others embrace repeated seasons of cleansing in order to travel light. Can you tell the difference when you look at someone? The heavy-packer has a heavy-heart. They tend to be intensely focused on self-protection, and unable to see passed their own needs. Most of their efforts are self-serving, and they live in fear of not having enough – thus the emotional hoarding. Those who travel light in their souls tend to be more joyful, able to engage in things outside of themselves, found giving to and serving others, largely judgement and negativity free. The light packer has a dependence on God, a firm trust in His provision for their needs. A person’s countenance often reveals the condition of their soul – how much is packed into it, if they have been able to forgive, if their passed is largely behind them or still with them.
I feel God challenging me to re-pack in my soul these days, to clean out and get rid of old baggage. In that process, I am reminded that you and I are unlikely to let baggage go until we know for certain that it matters to someone outside of ourselves. Friend, it matters to Jesus. Our burdens and pains matter so much to Jesus that He absorbed them, carried them, paid for them – with His own life.
This is an invitation to re-pack, to let go of old offenses, fears, anxieties, cycles of questioning, baselines of distrust, shadows of disappointments, and learn how to travel light again. Our souls were not made to carry too much. No one is forcing us to carry insecurity, no one is policing our baggage for heaviness and painful histories. It’s our choice what we are carrying in life. And, it's possible to get a skip back into our steps if can leave some things behind. Let's let go of what we would rather live without.
You and I can go so much further,
And with so much more joy –
if we are carrying less on board.
And, it is a journey.
Grab a Pen: Is there something you are carrying that you need to let go of? Is there someone you need to forgive? What do you need to release to Jesus in order to be traveling light in your soul again?
p.s. Sometimes it is helpful to have someone else assist us in the process of letting things go. We have a prayer ministry that focuses on helping people connect with God, and a wonderful team of people doing sessions for people online weekly. To sign up or for more information visit, www.iconnectup.net.
Katie Luse is a speaker and writer who is passionate about navigating life with eyes on a hunt for beauty.