Everyone’s Got Baggage

Ten years ago, our family went on a six week trip around the country, showing the kids major spots like the Grand Canyon, Washington DC, the grassy knoll in Dallas, and the LEGO museum in Ohio. It was a fascinating adventure, let me tell you, as we elected to camp at KOAs across the country rather than try to spend money on hotels for all of us. Six kids, two of whom were adult size, my husband and I, and all our luggage all crammed into and on top of a Chevy Tahoe. That is how we sauntered off into the trip of a lifetime.

The panic attack I had on the rim of the Grand Canyon, the time my son forgot he had a pocket knife in his backpack when we went into the Smithsonian, and the utter stillness of the Mohave desert of southern Utah were all unforgettable, and stories for a different day.

Everyone’s Got Baggage

The baggage for eight people is extensive, even though we planned on doing laundry on the road. We began our trip in late August – being Californians we had forgotten how much weather there is in the rest of the country, so we were taken a bit by surprise at how often it rained as soon as the tires crossed into other states.

It rained nearly every day for the first three weeks. Seriously, we set up our tent at a KOA in the middle of Dallas, Texas. The guy showing us our campsite turned to us and said, “You’re right next to our run off creek but don’t worry. It almost never rains here.”

It did not only rain that afternoon and all night, it deluged. I thought we’d have to build an Ark.

All that to say, we had baggage, and we had laundry days.

We each took our own duffle bag, color coded to match our own towels for the trip too. The kids ranged in age from 8 to 18, and so the older ones were largely responsible for packing their own things. Seeing what each person chose to bring on this trip really made me think.

One son brought no socks. The other brought only his favorite two T-shirts. The girls, on the other hand, brought enough clothes to last a lifetime and then some. Plus extras.

Isn’t that like us in life?

Burdened by Life

We bring our own baggage wherever we go, in our own mind. We stuff things in there that we think we absolutely cannot live without, or we carry around things that weigh us down.

First we burden ourselves with unnecessary things: guilt that we can’t let go of, bitterness toward others that we could have dealt with already, unrealistic standards and expectations of ourselves and others around us, feelings of responsibility towards things that are not within our sphere of responsibility… I’d guess you can list some things too that would count here.

We don’t always recognize those unnecessary burdens though, until we get out on the road of life and start to unpack our baggage. Until we start to try to get to the things we need and wind up having to dig through all this other stuff first. Then we see what we’ve been carrying around. And what has to go.

How do we let it go? How do we take those burdens out and toss them?

Don’t Carry What’s Not Yours

1 Peter 5:7 Cast all your care upon Him, for he cares for you.

Matthew 11:28-30 “Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavily burdened, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you, and learn from Me. For I am meek and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy, and My burden is light.”

Take that extra stuff out of your bag, tie it up, and lay it at Jesus’ feet. Then leave it there. If you have to, do it again the next day, the next hour, the next moment, until you can walk away from it and leave it with Him.  

I notice too, we often grab someone else’s ‘stuff’ and carry it around with us for them. They might not even know we have it, but it’s weighing us down, wearing us out, taking up room meant for our own stuff. This happens when we grab someone else’s offense and decide it should be ours, too. Or when someone else was the one doing wrong, but we pick up the guilt and carry it around.

It’s ok to help pick up someone else’s things, shake it out, fold it up neat…but when you’re done, put it back in their bag, not yours.

Third, we all have dirty laundry. Sometimes we want to pretend our dirt don’t stink…we give the notion that we never have issues, never get dirt stains or spills, never need a ‘laundry day.’

That attitude in us discourages others around us.  I don’t mean to air your dirty laundry on other people’s front yards…no.  Just don’t try to hide the fact that you have to clean your laundry, too.

So remember the next time you do laundry – carry only what you really need, only keep your own ‘stuff’ in your bag, and don’t hide the fact that you need to clean it sometimes, too.

We’ve All Got Baggage

We’ve all got baggage…and that’s ok.

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