"Preach the gospel at all times, if necessary use words." - St. Francis of Assisi

Monday, November 07, 2011

Me and My Baggage

I’m heading off this weekend for a church retreat and I am already remembering that…...my friends hate to travel with me. Whether it is vacation, a weekend camping trip, an overnight hike or a musical tour, they hate to see my car pull into the driveway. Why is that? I am not one to travel lightly. Even if it is a weekend trip, there are always those circumstances for which I must plan.

You know, the ‘what if I fall in the pool or lake more than once’ and need extra socks and pants. ‘What if I find a good wireless connection for my laptop’ and I can get some surf time in? So, I usually end up with one bag full of my electronics (Laptop, iPod, iPad, Blackberry, digital camera, portable DVD player and various chargers and cables), then another bag full of twice as many clothes as I actually need, then another bag with the essentials of travel, like chocolate and potential water balloons.

The point is that I’m known for all the baggage I trundle along with as I travel the highways. Are you the same way? Regardless of how you pack for a trip, we all do have one thing in common and that is the unseen baggage that we carry. We have accumulated it from failed relationships, financial problems, abusive situations, employment problems, broken or dysfunctional families, lack of education and so many other areas far too numerous to name. It is much easier to leave a suitcase at home than it is to leave some of our internal baggage behind.

Now, before you get all excited about this being an expose’ on my life I will just share that I have my own fair share of baggage. I’ve also learned that it does not matter what age we are, we can still add to the stack of luggage we carry and it gets heavier and heavier with each day unless we learn to deal with it. By this time in my life, I’ve got a trainload full. As a Christian, it is easy for me to say, ‘Oh, just turn it all over to God and He’ll take your cares away” (I Peter 5:7), but to be honest, sometimes that just doesn’t cut it for me. My personality is one to take care of things myself and effect the changes I need to make.

One of my favorite vocalists and Christian brother is my good long-time friend, Kirk Talley, who wrote a song several years ago entitled “Past Your Past”. In it he speaks of a young lady who was struggling with a lot of old baggage and could not put it behind her to begin living in today. You can find it on iTunes, if you are interested. The song goes on to encourage her (and us);

“You can get past your past. You can walk away from painful memories. Get past your past; you don’t have to be alone. You can stand upon the Word of God; your yesterdays can be gone. Let Jesus bring you past your past and then you can go on.”

Music is the medium that speaks to my soul. Be it good jazz and blues, rock and roll, or contemporary Christian; music can stir me like no other vehicle. Each time I hear this song, I am reminded that I can put my baggage behind and move on into today. First I must ask God’s forgiveness and then I have to forgive myself. It’s hard, it’s scary, it can be emotional and it may require accountability with others, but you can begin to leave your past behind, one tote bag at a time.

And for today my friends, this is the gospel according to Jimmy.


At 5:51 AM, Blogger scatterbrained said...

An excellent and timeless message. I have excess baggage but praise God!!, the load is lessening.

I so enjoy your blog. God uses it to speak to me in areas He is working in my life.

At 9:35 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

What is it about you Americans and GOD. Ridiculous!

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