Textbooks. Laptops. Backpacks. Book bags. Computer bags. Briefcases. Purses. HEAVY WEIGHTS. Heavy weight that can eventually, over an extended period of time, damage your back and affect your mobility. Keep that visual in your mind. There are other types of baggage, or weight that we don’t “see”, that many people carry and have the potential to do the same kind of damage and affect mobility, or ability, to move forward in life. We don’t “see” it as obviously as we do a purse or a book bag, but we can “see” it in people’s personalities. We can “see” the evidence of a person who carries unforgiveness, guilt, hurt, disappointment or anger. Unfortunately, as bad as we may want to help them with their baggage or even take some of the load from them, it doesn’t work that way. Each person has to do his/her own work to rid himself/ herself of baggage- baggage that can weigh you down, baggage that can stunt your growth and baggage that can stop your purpose. There are three specific types of baggage that you should closely examine your “closet” for if you are doing a personal inventory.
YOUR PAST– Whether it is a bad decision you made or it is a decision someone else made that hurt you, carrying the emotional baggage of the past is a hefty load to carry. Ask yourself: Is there someone that I need to forgive? Have I resolved all of my past conflicts to the best of my ability? If not, how is it affecting my relationships and my self-image today? Have I forgiven myself? Do I define myself only in terms of my past mistakes and behavior or the things that were said and done to me? In many instances, we think that it is as easy as just “moving on”, but it is not always that simple. Sometimes we must process the pain, whether it is through therapy, journaling, prayer,support groups or others ways to help us make sense of the incident that has happened. Do not be in a rush to leave the “crime scene”. There are many lessons to be learned there to help you grow into a better version of yourself. Pain is never meant to keep you stuck. It should be used as impetus and motivation to help you GROW then GO in the direction of your life’s purpose.
OTHER PEOPLE’S EXPECTATIONS– Are you a people pleaser? Do you find yourself saying yes or agreeing to things only because you want to “keep the peace” and not make anyone angry? Do you want to make other people happy at the expense of your own happiness and contentment? Do you have anxiety when you think about what others think of you? Other people’s opinions and expectations can be a heavy burden. You can find yourself examining every decision you make based on what other people think and what other people say. Who wants to live that way!!?? Determine what makes YOUR soul happy. Make sure you are clear about YOUR priorities and what adds to YOUR happiness and helps to fulfill YOUR purpose THEN make decisions using a clear, sound mind. Anything less than that is too much for you to carry.
OTHER PEOPLE- I have advised many of my friends before to “STOP BABYSITTING GROWN FOLKS!!” Many of us have a tendency to want to play superhero and save everyone we think we can. We are the “go to” person- the person that people come to when they need advice, need nurturing, need money, need a place to rest, need wisdom, need encouragement…you get my point. Eventually, we need to wean people, especially the needy ones who continue to take our advice but never use it, from being so dependent on us to carry them. We need to stop carrying the luggage of other folks because they bring tons of luggage with them. If we don’t discern when and how to be in relationship with them, then we will find ourselves carrying them and their luggage, which is definitely not a load that is beneficial on the road to purpose.
There are 54 days left in 2018. That is enough time for us to get quiet and let God speak to us to tell us how we need to exit this year so that we can enter 2019 with the right mindset. Instead of saying yes to one more appointment, business meeting or obligation, make a date with yourself and do some quiet introspection about the luggage that you need to get rid of. Take some time to invest in your spiritual and emotional well-being. BE STILL and LISTEN. You will emerge from your quiet time refreshed, refocused and renewed with plan to move forward baggage free, and what a difference THAT kind of freedom will make on the road ahead.