Saturday, April 3, 2010
I don't have emotional baggage.....I have a whole freakin set of luggage.
Who can say they don't have their share of emotional baggage? Everything in your life from the time you're born until the day you die is contributing to who you are. The question isn't whether you've got baggage....the question is what do you do with yours?
In an effort to be completely transparent, I'm going to tell you about a few pieces of luggage I've acquired along the way. I used to have a suitcase that belonged to my obsession with Stephen King books in High School. Sorry, but you can't read that kind of twisted terror day in and day out without feeding seeds of fear buried deep within. Combine that with a strict upbringing where I was led to believe that God was 'out to get me' made for a lethal combination and suddenly I was a 26 year old married mother of two who wouldn't let her husband drive her kids anywhere alone because the possibility of catastrophe was huge and God would take that opportunity to carry out His 'Vengeance is Mine' verse on me. God helped me begin to unload that suitcase when I gave up Stephen King.
The fear of God thing still shows up every so often but I'm getting better. Let's face it, we are supposed to have a healthy fear of the Lord. (Key word: healthy) But if you're not also being reminded of God's grace, how is anyone supposed to have any hope? I'm so grateful to attend a church that preaches a balance of both. Once I got to the point in my life when I realized that God isn't hanging an iron fist over my head just waiting for me to screw up, my load got a little lighter. Another less burden to carry, but as usual, something was waiting to take it's place.
Three years ago, the emotional rug got pulled out from under me and I hit rock bottom. The who & why doesn't matter. The fact remains that suddenly I had several extra emotional suitcases to carry along this path of life. I was unexpectedly carrying loads of abandonment, fear, and anger. And as often happens when we're carrying too many heavy things at one time, I stopped in my tracks, sat down on my path, and explained to the Lord that I just wasn't able to go one step further. "Sorry, but I'm just gonna sit here for awhile." And do you know how God responded? He didn't let His iron fist drop on my head in my moment of failure and He didn't reject me out of His disappointment in me......I believe my Savior sat down right beside me and let me cry on His shoulder, as any good loving Father would do. How do I know that's what He did? Because I felt Him. Every time someone called to check on me, I knew my Savior was listening. For every one of my extended family members who showered me with love, I knew they were showing my Savior's love to me right here on earth. And when my dear sister, Susan, bought me a Beth Moore workbook called 'Breaking Free' I had no idea that she was actually handing me the key to a freedom I've never known.
It took me two years to do a ten week workbook. I'm not ashamed to admit that. That was a hard journey God took me on. We had to sort through lots of luggage. I couldn't do it every day, but it never ceased to amaze me when I would pick up my workbook and God would talk to me about something I needed to hear that very day! I always knew in my head that God is real, but suddenly God was personal. I found myself clinging to Him and thirsting for more of what He was showing me and slowly my burden was light enough for me to stand back up on my path. And pretty soon, I was moving forward again. And I enjoyed picturing my 'luggage' dropping behind me one by one. How could I possibly carry around a suitcase labeled 'Abandonment' when I'm so loved and accepted? Same goes for 'Fear'. No need to carry around a load of fear because I've never felt so safe as when under the watchful eye of my Savior.....and one by one my burden got lighter. (I'm working on anger.....it can't happen overnight, people.)
I still carry extra burdens unnecessarily. Sometimes for what I believe are legitimate reasons but most are out of my own control issues or insecurities. Basically, I'm still a hot mess. But, I'm confident when I say it doesn't do anyone any good by pretending I've got it all together when clearly I don't.....but it's one less load to carry by putting myself out there, faults and all.
Easter is a perfect time to remind ourselves of the price Christ paid for us on the cross. He carried our load for us then and He wants to carry our load for us today. And you might just find that the perfect place to lay down your emotional baggage is at the foot of the cross........
"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