“Anything to Declare?”

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.

Patience…not just for Doctors

Patience is a virtue they say, forgive me because i seem to have missed that day when they were handing patience out. Patience has always been a struggle for me and I always jokingly say that I once prayed for patience and got four children. Interestingly enough though I consider myself to be blessed by not only my children but by this family that God has blessed me with. They put up with me and sometimes that’s saying a lot!

How are you in the patience department? Do you get bent out of shape when your food you ordered at a restaurant takes longer than expected? Do you huff and puff at the minor inconveniences of life?

One of my biggest areas of discontent and struggle in the patience department is being on time. For me I have been taught that you don’t ever show up late, you arrive early but with four kids arriving early to anything would be a miracle. I really struggle with this and find it hard to have patience in the midst of those moments.

Whatever your struggle today, patience or otherwise, it is always healthy to take a step back from time to time and look honestly at yourself. Ask yourself “Am I proud of those moment when I huff and puff at things beyond my control? Am I really proud of my behavior when I lash out or am irritable?” Of course the answer is no, so what are we going to do about our poor behavior? Do you want to change, improve your life and physical/spiritual well being? Then we have to dismantle our impatience and stop fueling the fire of our tempers. If you are at all like me, I want to change I honestly don’t want my impatience and poor handle of my emotions to rule me.

Take a hard look at your life today, don’t sugar coat it or bury it but look closely at your life and begin today to make those changes…small steps at a time! Pray to the Lord for guidance and strength to be an overcomer in your struggles. He will guide you and remain at your side through it all. What have you got to lose but to try?!

-Just a thought.

Crushed, Mushed, Yet Persistent

crushing your head

Ok I admit it, I used to love this sketch, but today it reminds me of something more than just comedy…although HA! This sketch still makes me laugh.

“In every way we’re troubled, but we aren’t crushed by our troubles. We’re frustrated, but we don’t give up.”

(2 Corinthians 4:8)

This has been one of my favorite passages for a long time, and I’ll tell you why…one word ‘Hope’.  Not ‘hope’ in the sense of wishes, like “I hope it will be warmer tomorrow”, but rather the confidence in something so much more absolute and dependable.  The hope that is conveyed here by the apostle Paul is a confidence in God and in the mission of this great truth of Christ.

If someone who had been beaten for his faith could relate to such an emotion as hope, then there must be something to it for us as well.  Paul had been obsessed with eradicating these heretic followers of Christ when he was known as Saul, before the blinding celestial lights on the highway to Damascus came on.  His experience there transformed him into a “won’t back down” kind of missionary and evangelist.  He wasn’t in it for fame, certainly not fortune because there was none and his political and notoriety took a nose dive following his decision to declare Christ’s message to the known world.  Paul knew that this road he was on would lead him to his eventual death…yet he didn’t take the next exit off this highway.

It kind of boggles the mind doesn’t it?  This dude was beaten for his faith; he had been put in chains, and was serving Christ in various house arrests, ship wreaks, and eventually his ultimate sacrifice of execution.   If there was ever a “who’s who” of hard-core Christ followers, Paul would most definitely be on that list!  Yet in his difficulties, in his personal struggles and leadership struggles, he writes this letter of encouragement and hope to a church he hadn’t seen in a year.

The very first chapter he writes; “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in ALL our afflictions so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, which the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.”(2 Cor. 3-4).

Not only was Paul confident in this hope that was in God, but he wanted others to know this comfort, confidence and hope too.  His love for others placed him in danger yet he didn’t quit, withdraw, or deny his allegiance to God through the Messiah Christ Jesus.

Have you been crushed, pressed on all sides?  Do you feel discouraged, let down, torn by life circumstances?  Have you considered throwing up the white flag and giving up?  You are not alone!  I’ve been there, might be there again tomorrow…I don’t know.  But what I do know is that this message that Paul wrote a looooooong time ago, is for me and you too!  We may not face certain death for our convictions or declarations of faith, but we do face trouble because of it.  Your struggle might be spiritual, physical or a little of both.  Whatever you’re going through today, you are not alone, and God does NOT want you to give up either!

I’ve never been or wanted to be on the “who’s who” list of Hard-core followers of Christ, but I know still today, God calls us to take giant stands for Him, and whatever comes of these convictions and proclamations…we won’t back down or quit.  This isn’t some call to arms, or some strange militia rant, this is a declaration of faith, and the knowledge that God will comfort you and me even in the most difficult of circumstances.

So stand firm, be bold, and don’t give up!

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