At the Night of Worship, we saw an illustration in which each phase of life came with another “bag”… a collection of experiences from that specific season of life. Those experiences shape you and influence who you are becoming. Who you are today is the result of words spoken over you, the culture you were formed by, the people in your life, where you grew up, and all the things you saw, heard, said, felt and lived through. It’s a beautiful mosaic that God can use to tell His story of redemption through you.
However, from the outside, it often looks like a mess with some covert organization system that only we understand. It takes a lifetime to become who God has called us to become! In the waiting room, you could take some time to check your bags. Are there things in your story that cause pain, pressure or even shame? What are you carrying? Are you certain that God has ordained that for you? What may He want you to leave behind in the waiting room?
Hey there! I’m Donna Dibble, a 62-year-old staff Pastor at 12Stone and a newlywed. Recently, my husband and I took the trip of a lifetime – 15 days in Europe on an “Alpine Adventure!” When we booked it, I was so excited, until my husband said, “Let’s take only carry-on bags.” Wait! What? Europeans are SO stylish. I need my 8-piece Louis Vuitton luggage set! Okay, I do NOT have LV luggage, but I thought I would at least get Big Bertha out of the attic! And then as men often do, he urged me to, “Take only what you need.”
Do we even know what we need? Often, we pack for all the “what ifs” or bring the comforts of home when some of our “comforts” are things that can actually weigh us down. Has our “baggage” been a part of us for so long, we don’t know how to unpack it all? Hebrews 12:1 encourages us to “put aside each heavy weight so we can run our race…” How can we check our bags and put aside our heavy weights?
Take an honest look at what you’re carrying. What is from God? What has Satan stashed in your bag to burden you, frustrate you, or make your race harder? What are you trying to smuggle into your future that could delay or damage everything God wants to do in you and through you? Insecurity has always been my stowaway. It’s been one of those misplaced bags because if I’m nobody, then there are no expectations of me. One problem… God has expectations, plans, and a hope for my future (Jeremiah 29:11). Be courageously honest with yourself and God about what you’re carrying. (Hint: He already knows. The honesty brings freedom for you.)
Redistribute the weight. Have you ever seen someone at the airport on their hands and knees pulling items out of their suitcase asking their travel buddies, “you got room in yours for this?” Their baggage was obviously too heavy. There’s a steep cost associated with traveling with heavy baggage during your life’s journey. And you’re not the only one who pays for it. Those you love often bear the weight too. Here’s the best news… Jesus already paid that price on the cross so we can return to God what was always His to carry. Check the tag. Your name is no longer on it.
When my late husband died 6 years ago, I remember crying out to God, “I don’t know who I am without him! Who am I?” (that identity thing again) Then the Holy Spirit replied, “Who do you want to be?” My grief became a gift when I allowed myself to partner with God and become who He wanted me to be for the next season of life. What an exchange! I had to lose my baggage so I could love my life. So, I don’t carry the pain or loss from my experiences. Now I carry the benefits from them, the lessons learned, the faith fanned.