We all have baggage don’t we? As we navigate our lives with people, professions, challenges, and changes our baggage will show up, we can count on it. Sometimes the baggage with be very evident and sometimes it sits under the surface but ~ we all carry around some baggage.
Recently our church has been doing a quality series on the Baggage in our lives. We have been given some good steps to help us to get free of our baggage IF we are willing to do the work. Walking out healthy lives will require all of us to do some inventory to see just what our personal baggage is, how it affects us, and how does it affect those around us?.
Les Parrot and Dr. Neil Clark in their article ” Losing your Emotional Baggage express this thought “Wouldn’t it be nice if we could simply lose our emotional baggage the same way our luggage gets lost by airline companies? If only we could turn off our emotions and memories that easily.” “History is what has happened in our lives. Baggage is how we feel about it. Your perspective on your past determines, to a great extent, your personal health and vitality.”
Those statements make it sound as if our Baggage holds the power of negatively affecting our whole life if we never take the time to address it.
Our baggage may come from a traumatic upbringing and yet even those from healthy homes walk away with baggage as well. The way we experience and perceive the events of our lives; no matter what, can shape the type of baggage that we carry.
I grew up in a family where I knew I was loved. However, many hours of my young life were spent attending church events. Though I gained a lot of wonderful mentoring in those days I also heard the teaching of sini I learned that if I wasn’t sinless I would indeed be “left behind.” This consistent teaching created fear and self loathing in me because I knew I was not a perfect person–therefore, unacceptable. I realize that this teaching may have been taught with the best of intentions, but my PERCEPTION was that I would never measure up enough to be loved by God. The baggage I carried from that experience followed me into adulthood as a Pastor’s wife. My perception of that teaching caused me to feel uncertain, to have trust issues with God, and made me afraid to teach because I felt unworthy. This baggage took a long time to lay down–well into my 30’s. When I was able to “unpack” my baggage and seek out what was really true about God’s heart for me, I gained fresh freedom.
So how can we begin to un-pack our Baggage and walk in fresh freedom?
1. Get some outside insight: Ask trusted friends or family if they can see any “blind spots” that keep sabotaging your relationships or occupations. Identify the themes and try to find the source of this baggage.
2. Take some time to reflect of past hurts or disappointments. Are you carrying baggage into this season of your life because you refuse to forgive, haven’t tried to gain real truth? feel like a victim? Are you bitter? If we won’t look at these things we will always be a slave to them. Be brave. Look at your challenges and ask yourself if being free of the baggage would be worth the effort it will take to move forward.
3. Choose to forgive. It’s said that “unforgiveness is like feeding ourselves poison while hoping our enemy dies!”. When we choose to forgive the people and experiences that “handed” our baggage to us, we open the door to freedom ourselves. Forgiveness does not mean we minimize the pain, that our offender’s behaviour has been acceptable, or that we have to reignite situations and relationships that are simply unhealthy for us. It simply means we lay it down. Piece by piece we drop off one “suitcase” after another until we can stand tall, breathe deep, and experience a hope like never before. In the same article mentioned above the authors express “Letting go is not easy and a person may not deserve forgiveness and may not even ask for it, but you should extend forgiveness because of what it will do for you. You may also need to forgive yourself.”
Walk in renewed freedom and hope today!