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Excess Baggage: Learning to Travel Light

Matthew 11:28-30 “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”

My cousins and I use to always love to take little road trips to the beach. Some would be random and others would be planned. We would all pack our bags and then try to fit all of our luggage into one trunk so that we could ride together. Well, I have one cousin in particular who tends to over pack despite where she is going or how long she is staying. In her words “you never know what could happen, so it is good to be prepared”. Well, I guess that’s true in a sense. The problem with her theory is that when she over packs, her excess luggage doesn’t leave much room for anyone else so the rest of us have to travel light.

The same can be applied to trying to move to a different position in life or starting a new relationship. You can’t bring excess baggage with you on your journey. You have to filter through to discover what you need to bring and what you need to let go and leave behind.

Holding on to the baggage of the past is a heavy load to carry and carrying all that weight can be a hindrance to your progress. It can also be a hindrance to the relationship that you have with those around you. If you are bringing all of your baggage from past relationships, past friendships, and past experiences, you are not leaving much room for those current relationships, friendships and experiences. When you bring all of your past “stuff” into new experiences and relationships, everyone in your current life is going to be impacted because there is no room for them and all of the emotional baggage that you are carrying.

Let’s say that you’ve been praying for God to give you a loving, loyal and caring husband and God gives you the desires of your heart and sends someone who embodies all that you have requested, but you bring your past hurt into your new relationship. Despite all of your husband’s loving ways and good character, you are unable to fully accept that he loves you or accept that he is faithful because of how men in the past have treated you. You’ve brought all of your excess baggage into your new relationship and there is very little room for the man that God has blessed you with.

Now, let’s look at this through another lens. Suppose, you were raised in a negative environment. You were never praised but instead you were always put down and belittled. You were always called “stupid” or told that you would never amount to anything. These words or things that were said to you when you were younger are now embedded in your mind. They are no longer just words to you but have become your self-perception. This keeps you believing that you are undeserving of all of the greatness that life has to offer. This prevents you from going after what you want in life because you’re stuck with some baggage that someone gave you in your youth.

Excess baggage is just what it is, excess. Its extra baggage that you do not need. In order to travel with ease on your life's journey, it is important to reevaluate what you are carrying. Sift through excess items that are "too heavy" or burdensome to carry. Sometimes when we evaluate our baggage, we realize that some of the things that were in our luggage were not even ours to carry.

If you are feeling overwhelmed, have consistent negative perceptions or thoughts about the world or others, have consistent negative interactions with others, struggle with your self esteem, dissatisfaction with your life or lack of enjoyment in life, these may all be signs that you need to sort through some of the things that you are carrying. Therapy is a great way to begin sorting through some of the excess baggage that you may be carrying around with you.

Unpacking excess baggage is not an easy feat but it is necessary in order to begin living a healthier life. Life is an adventure. Life is a journey and while we are on our journey, it is important for us to travel light.


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