Setting Down What Weighs us Down

It’s easy, when attempting to be prepared for any and every situation, to pack too much in your suitcase before a big trip. My husband rolls his eyes and reminds me that we’re not going to the middle of nowhere and that there are stores where I can purchase anything I may need. Oh, yeah; I knew that. Today’s devotional, reposted from Holley Gerth, offers a vital, timely lesson about traveling light in this life.

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My parents still tell the story of how I, at six years old, marched right up to the airline counter and demanded the plane arrive soon because I was ready to go see my grandparents. I have no recollection of this audacity, only the memory of my hand wrapped around the handle of a small red suitcase. I don’t remember the contents, whether I packed dolls or tennis shoes, books or candy bars. But I must have traveled light because I carried it on the plane all by myself.

I think we, as children, start out this way. We don’t have much to weigh us down. Then the years go by and there’s life and hurt and responsibilities. Before we know it we no longer have a little red suitcase. We have the kind as wide as the side of a bus that gets a “heavy” sticker slapped on it.

Does it really have to be this way?

This is what I sat down with my friends Jennifer Watson and Suzie Eller to discuss in our latest More Than Small Talk Video. We said that we serve a Savior who tells us, “My yoke is easy and my burden is light.” (Matt 11:28-30). Then we asked each other, “How can we begin to set down what weighs us down? We talked through the three steps below as a starting place

It seems the first step is the courage to let go. We have a good reason for everything we’ve placed in our suitcase. We want to keep it safe. Or we think it proves our worth. We think we just can’t live without it. It takes guts to pause and ask, “What’s one thing I need to move forward without? When I answer this question it usually takes grit and tears and counseling. This is all bravery. 

Then we can look at what’s left and decide what’s not only appealing but essential. Perhaps we don’t need the ten pairs of sandals, although they’re all just so cute. We can review our crowded calendars, our long to-do lists, our honorable intentions. We can ask God, “What’s not just good but Your very best?” We can hold onto that and know we’re free to set aside the rest.

Finally, it’s also important to know where we’re going in this season of life. Alaska requires different attire than Hawaii. Raising toddlers takes different resources than transitioning into retirement. We can evaluate, “What might be wonderful for another destination but not for where I’m going right now in my life?” It’s okay for some things not to be in our suitcase. It’s just not their turn right now.

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That day in the airport I eventually boarded the plane and sat in a row of fellow six year-olds {remember when children traveled alone like this?}. We were served a beverage of choice. My seatmates chose ginger ale, which I scandalously believed to contain alcohol. I virtuously chose Sprite.

The plane touched down and there, right at the end of the jetway {remember when you could greet planes right at the gate?}, were my grandparents. They reached out first for a hug. Then my Grandpa, so strong and good, took the suitcase from my hands.

This is our story too. “Cast all your cares on him because he cares for you” {1 Peter 5:7}. This is the ultimate truth and life-changer: When life gets heavy, we can hand off our suitcase.

My Grandpa knew I would need my hands free for what was to come–eating salty waffle fries from my favorite restaurant, picking up shiny quarters from the bottom of the deep end of the pool, holding a flashlight so I could read under the covers at night.

Children seem to understand the less you carry the easier it is to grab on to joy.

I’m learning this all over again too.

XOXO

Holley Gerth

(c) 2017 Holley Gerth Used with Permission Source: holleygerth.com

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