Friday, 16 March 2012 our teen ministry meet together for their devotional at the Mitchell’s home. I lead our discussion that night, entitled “Baggage.”
You see, we all have baggage in our lives that we acquire through our lives. Whether you believe it or not, whether you see it or not, it’s there. Baggage comes in all different forms shapes and sizes. Nevertheless, it weighs us down and effects our daily lives.
We carry around baggage from so many places in our lives. The video “Baggage” from the SkitGuys.com does an excellent job describing the different kinds of baggage that we pick up voluntarily or involuntarily throughout our lives. We began our discussion with this video.
You see, baggage comes from a variety of places in our lives. From the earliest of memories, the deepest of emotions, to the little incidents and conversations that we are directly or indirectly involved with. We pack baggage, we give out baggage, and we pick up extra baggage throughout our lives. One of the video’s greatest points is the importance of finding your self-worth in Christ and our relationship with him. Point taken, it’s not easy. But it’s important that we begin to realize that as life moves on, it becomes easier and easier to collect more and more baggage.
I get it, we all want to be accepted. We want to fit in. We want to be respected. We want to be loved and admired by other people. We were built to have relationships to cherish as well as to be that cherished relationship. But if your self-worth comes from other people’s thoughts, values, and opinions, you’re only picking up harmful baggage that ultimately puts a strain on all the relationships that you desire. Finding your self-worth in a relationship with Christ will only strengthen and dramatically enhance all your other relationships. Unfortunately, we’ve grown up teaching each other myths and lies, finding creative ways to twist our minds into believing these sayings or mottos until we’ve drifted so far from the truth that the only truth that we have are the myths and lies that we feel so uplifted in possessing.
“And our friends. They’re just trying to get through life the same way we are and sometimes they’re going to make poor choices – and we can either learn to forgive them or we could pick up more baggage.”
As you could see from the video, things happen to us sometimes that are just out of our control. The closest people to us and those that we love most will hurt us along the way. You could take that to the bank! And it’s quite interesting that God is fully aware of these, sometimes seemingly unfair, events in our lives. Funny how there’s a scripture for that: “For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins. Matthew 6:14-15 (NIV, 1984)“
Many times I feel that we tend to get into a routine of doing things because it is so. For instance, yes i’ve been wronged, but i’m going to forgive that person…because the bible said so. Yes I’ve been wronged, but i’m going to forgive that person…because Jesus said so. Yes I’ve been wronged, but I’m going to forgive that person…because God said so. Although that’s great motivation for a time, I think it’s not going to be enough motivation for the long haul. Sometimes, you’re going to need a different kind of motivation to finish the marathon.
You see, it’s great to understand that by forgiving people you in turn will be forgive by God. But what’s also important is to recognize how God is truly taking care of you as you follow his teachings as well as relying on an intimate relationship with Him. By forgiving where instructed to do so, you prevent yourself from picking up baggage that will harm you in the future. Baggage that has the power to destroy relationships and just weighs your life down tremendously.
Baggage doesn’t have to come from other people. Sometimes we pack our own baggage by comparing ourselves to other people. We begin to buy into the lie that other people’s success is the measure to which I should live mine. Looking at yourself in the mirror thinking, “I’m not skinny enough as they are, I’m not as beautiful as they are, I don’t have nice things, I’m not as good at this or that as they, I’m not as smart or as talented.” But guess what? BAggage!
“And sometimes, sometimes we pick up baggage from people who love us dearly. They just don’t realize that their words cut like a knife.”
I relate to this kind of baggage the most. I love my family and they love me dearly. But sometimes, it’s just hard to not be hurt by some of the things they do or say. I’ve made strides with Christ in my life. I’m becoming a man that I never thought I would ever be. I’m becoming a man that I never thought I would want to be. But my relationship with Christ has completely changed my life for the better. Learning to find my self-worth in Jesus as turned my world upside down and nothing has been better for my life than that. I still have a long ways to go. There is still baggage that I’m carrying that is going to take some time to be completely free from. But there is nothing that could take my baggage away and free my life so that I could live it to the full the way that God intended it to be. “Therefore Jesus said again, “I tell you the truth, I am the gate for the sheep. All who ever came before me were thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not listen to them. I am the gate; whoever enters through me will be saved. He will come in and go out, and find pasture. The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full. John 10:7-10 (NIV, 1984) emphasis added“
“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. 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. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” Matthew 11:28-30 (NIV, 1984). Jesus offers us rest. He offers to take away our baggage. But, how does he do that? That’s the question that was asked to everyone. Yes Jesus offers to take our baggage and he absolutely follows through. But have we dealt with our oversized baggage of faith? We were encouraged to stretch our faith if necessary. It’s one thing to know what Jesus is going to do, it’s a completely different thing to believe that Jesus can give us that rest. I believe that Jesus gives us rest and takes our baggage by offering us the tools and resources that we need to be freed from those burdens.
The first step though, and for some, maybe the hard step that they don’t want to take, is to become aware of your baggage. Do you have baggage? What does your baggage look like? What size is it, what color is it, what shape is your baggage? If you can’t see the baggage in your life, you can’t see how much more fulfilling of a life there is that Jesus promises.
If you have baggage, are you dealing with it or are you walking around with it stumbling around just trying to stand up straight?
The point is, we all have baggage. Each and every one of us has baggage. The challenge is to try to identify that baggage, then, figure out how do get rid of that baggage through the only possible way; a self-worth found from an intimate relationship with Christ.