What BAG Do You Carry?
Dolce? Chanel? Louis Vuitton? Or…Generic! I LOVE a beautiful handbag, don’t you? I notice handbags. I covet handbags. I want more handbags. Our handbag is on display for the entire world to see. It goes everywhere we go! It makes a statement; it carries our most personal items; and…should the need arise…it can be quite an effective weapon. The style of handbag we choose tells the world a lot as well. The tote bag or large open top bag says we are fun! We have a lot of stuff and it is with us at all times! The crossbody bag demonstrates that we carry just the essentials - nothing more – and we dare you to try to get them. And then there is the fabulous arm bag – the one that hangs from the crook of our arm – and says, “I am sassy and I am confident, dahling!” Oh, the wonderful handbag! Then there is the “not so wonderful” bag we carry...you know the one we don’t like to talk about. We pretend it is not there. We act as if no one knows about it. (They do.) And the more baggage we carry, the more weighed down we become – and the less likely we are to live an abundant life full of peace and full of joy. It is time to set that baggage down. What do you think? Well, let’s at least talk about it.
What about Guilt? Is there something you have done, a decision you made, an action you took, or words you spoke that have left you with great regret? Do you carry guilt around? Guilt is HEAVY! If we carry this bag – then we continue to punish ourselves for something we cannot undo. (Wouldn’t it be great if we could just hit the undo button and that one thing would be gone?) Well, we have a choice. 1. We can let our guilt bind us and hold us back, maybe even destroy us or 2. We can break free and allow God to use IT and US to minister to others. Let’s choose number 2. Let’s set down the bag of guilt by forgiving our self. God promises us forgiveness if we just simply ask for it. So, let’s confess the thing that has caused us such great guilt to God. I learned this week in a Bible Study by Jennifer Rothschild that confession “is to tell God and affirm in our own hearts that we think the same way about sin as God does.” Do this! God will forgive you then you must choose to offer that same forgiveness to yourself. Move forward and let God do what he promises in Romans 8:28 “And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.”
What about Bitterness? Is that your bag? Has something happened to you that was not fair? Has someone done something to you that you cannot move past? Has it left you angry? Are you bitter? When we allow ourselves to pick up the bag of bitterness it causes us to become full of resentment and frustration; harsh and somewhat cold, even cynical. We don’t laugh as much. (It’s doesn’t sound like we are fun to be around.) I remember, years ago after going through my divorce - I was just full of pain. It was new and I was raw. I met a lady who had experienced what I was now going through. She was saying all the things I felt. Her pain was real and it was deep and she had labeled herself “the woman whose husband left her”. So I asked, “How long has it been since this happened?” She replied, “It will be eight years next week.” WOW! I immediately thought, “Oh no, no, no! That will not be me! I will not allow this to label me. I will not allow myself to become stuck here! NO! I will not be her!” Don’t be her! Life is too short! Embrace all that is good in your life and all that is right. Pray Ephesians 4:31 and 32. “Lord, please let all bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor and evil speaking be put away from me, with all malice. And help me to be kind to others, tender hearted, forgiving others, even as you have forgiven me.”
Then…there is the Bag of Fear and of Insecurity. Ooh! This is a popular bag! WHY do we carry this? We believe that we are going to fail. We believe that things will not go right for us. We believe that others think less of us and judge us and think we are not good enough. Well, that is not what God says. First of all He tells us “Do not fear” over and over and over again in scripture. What is fear? If we are honest with ourselves, we must admit that fear is simply lack of faith. Romans 8:31 says, “If God is for us, who can be against us?” As long as we are following God – there is nothing to fear. And God’s word tells us in Philippians 4:13, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” Do we believe that? Or do we battle unbelief? And in John 15:9 Jesus is speaking and He says, “As the Father loved Me, I also have loved you; abide in My love.” Wow! Read that again and again and again. Abide means to accept and act in accordance with. Let’s set down this heavy bag and abide in this truth.
Our baggage not only weighs us down – but it says a lot about us. It reveals who we are and where we are in our walk with Christ. It exposes our need for more of Christ in our life. Let’s break free from our emotional baggage, carry a fabulous handbag and go live a joy filled abundant life! Together we can do it!