“You just have to get rid of so much baggage to be light enough to dance, to sing, to play. You don’t have time to carry grudges; you don’t have time to cling to the need to be right.” – Anne Lamott
“There’s a luggage limit to every passenger on a flight. The same rules apply to your life. You must eliminate some baggage before you can fly.” – Rosalind Johnson
“Do you have anything to declare?” This is commonly heard at international airports as a traveler, sometimes weary, enters their destination. It’s a question that must be asked for safety and security purposes that I think begs answering in our lives as well. I’ve never received a degree in counseling or psychology, but I’ve been around long enough to know that sometimes when we enter the present moment which is the doorway to the future we often are still carrying baggage from the past that prohibits us from entering and from moving on. Baggage, which is anger, regret, hurts, fears, scars (emotional & physical) can seriously limit us and that of the potential for personal and spiritual growth if we continue to carry them with us.
Jesus even alluded to these types of burdens when he said, “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)
What is Jesus saying here? He is telling us to let go of our baggage! He is saying if you learn from me you will understand that you don’t have to carry this heavy burden any longer, my way is lighter and it will free you of your past, your baggage, your worries and fears. Jesus says to us in this passage that we ought to let go of it all…it doesn’t matter anymore…we can be free! Wouldn’t you like to forget some things about your past? Wouldn’t you like to let go of burdens that you’ve carried around with you for far too long? We were never meant to heap these worries, regrets and scars around with us for the rest of our lives! That was not God’s plan for us. Sure from time to time we have screwed up. Sure from time to time others have hurt us so very deeply. Sure from time to time we find it difficult to forgive that one person who broke our heart or betrayed us…yet that’s precisely what Jesus is asking us to do. He wants us to leave our past behind. He wants us to lay it down at His feet and for us to allow Him to help us.
I don’t presume to understand how God’s grace works, but I do know that it does. By faith, daily I must once again surrender my past to Him. I know that from time to time that even Satan will try and remind me of those things from my past. He will try to discourage me and persuade me that I really haven’t changed…and yet when I seek the Lord, when I read His word God shows me just how far I’ve come. The same is true for you as well. You can let go. You will be free. The answers to healing your past and restoring your future lies with the One that made you, not the ones that have hurt you, or the situations that you fiercely regret.
The Lord is asking us today; “Do you have anything to declare?” If we are wise we will declare everything to Him, and allow Him to restore our present and future by letting go of the baggage that weighs us down and holds us back. Don’t let your past dictate where you go today or tomorrow! You and I can be free…but first we must confront and let go of the baggage.
There’s an old prayer chorus our church used to sing and it goes like this:
“Burdens are lifted at Calvary, Calvary, Calvary, Burdens are lifted at Calvary…Jesus is very near!” Jesus wants to be near to you today, He wants to lift your burdens, your baggage from you…will you let Him?
Lord I have been carrying around this baggage from my past for far too long and it is weighing me down. This baggage is holding me back from growing in your grace. Help me to surrender it all to you today! I know that it may not happen all at once, but grant me your strength to surrender it all to you! I want to learn from you, I want that freedom that only you can offer. Thank you Lord for guiding me and for being here with me each step of the way. –Amen.