Check That Baggage

Hey! Hola! This picture was taken the second I moved to Mexico. This picture tells a lot. I’m standing there with a huge smile, filled with excitement and a little bit of nervousness. (I had no idea what was ahead of me). I’m holding onto the two suitcases and backpack that I somehow managed to fit my life into. I’m holding onto that luggage, but what this picture doesn’t show is the baggage that my heart was also holding onto.

That’s right, I said it. Baggage. Literal heart baggage. Ya know, the stuff that always feels a little bit better to just shove under a rug, put a blanket over top of it or even push it to the back of your mind and hopefully you’ll forget about it. But at the end of the day, it’s still there. Lift up that rug or blanket, and the mess is just tucked away. Maybe it seems to be an “organized mess,” but a mess is a mess.

In our Christian circles, there’s this unspoken myth that your life needs to look perfect or else unbelievers won’t know that you’re a Christian. (Even though we know that our lives will never actually be perfect). But that’s what I want to unfold right here, right now.

We all have baggage. Deep in our hearts, we all have things that were holding onto or that get held onto for way too long. Past mistakes, hurt feelings, broken relationships, insecurities, shame… whatever it may be, it’s there, it’s heavy and it hurts.

Since we’re talking about baggage and using the imagery of luggage, I like to think of holding onto heart baggage like the walk into the airport.

Picture this: you just got to the airport. You were dropped off or you just struggled to find a parking spot, either way, you’re at the airport now. You’re about to go on an adventure of a lifetime. But in order to begin that adventure, you must check in and check your luggage at the airline counter and make it to your gate on time. Your hands are full. Your cell phone and wallet are under your armpit, backpack on your back, carry-on suitcase in one hand and the other hand and arm is occupied with wheeling the suitcase that will most likely weigh in at 49.9 pounds when the limit was 50. Long story short, your mind is only fixed on making it to the check-in counter. Your hands are maxed out and absolutely cannot carry anything else. You make it to the counter, check in and check that heavy suitcase. Next, you put your phone and wallet in your backpack and you’re on your way to find the gate. Finally, you find the gate and you’re still on time. You find a seat and settle in before they begin the boarding process. YOU MADE IT!

The part of the airport journey where our minds are so focused on getting to the check-in counter and our hands are completely maxed out is what I want to compare our heart baggage to.

When we hold onto baggage, we’re weighed down. Our minds are so fixated on how to carry the baggage, that we don’t actually think about what we need to do to get rid of the baggage. There’s no way that you could easily run with a backpack, carry-on and full-size suitcase, right? You can try to run, but it is definitely going to be a struggle. The same is true in our lives.

When we carry the baggage of this world, our hands are tied and we are weighed down. Because we weren’t created to carry around our baggage, we were created to live free. Free to love, free to serve and free to worship our Lord and savior.

“It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.” Galatians 5:1

So earlier I said that when I moved to Mexico, I came with two suitcases and a backpack. Well, there was hidden baggage that came along as well. The kind of baggage that springs from the depths of your heart and hurts really bad when it’s revealed. After months of not sleeping throughout the night, I knew God was trying to show me something that was not lining up in my life and relationship with Him. I was obedient and followed the calling that God had for me to move here, but I wasn’t running at the full speed that God had created me to run. I was weighed down and my hands were tied. Although from the outside, life looked like it was going great. And honestly, that’s all that mattered to me. That people thought I was doing great and everything was organized in my life. But deep down in the wells of my heart, I was burdened and hauling around baggage that only wanted to stop me and completely consume my identity of who I am in Christ.

And your baggage wants to do the same. Hold you back. Weigh you down. And ultimately stop you from loving, serving and worshiping our Lord Jesus.

It wasn’t until I stopped wheeling that baggage around and asked God to “check” that luggage for me. Then I was free. You see, I wanted to wheel it myself. I wanted to take matters into my own hands. But when Jesus died on the cross for our sins, he already KNEW he had to help us. Or else we would be wheeling unnecessary baggage around and around and around.

At the foot of the cross is where we lay our baggage. The final roll of the suitcase, the lug of the backpack and the grip of the duffle bag is left there. It’s not for us to carry any longer. We let go and experience the freedom that is in Christ Jesus. PRAISE THE LORD!

“For those who are led by the spirit of God are the children of God. The spirit you received does not make you slaves, so that you live in fear again; rather, the spirit you received brought about your adoption to sonship. And by him we cry, “Abba, Father.” Romans 8:14-15

I don’t know what your baggage looks like, only you do. But I do know Jesus has already paid for your sin on the cross. You can permanently “check” that baggage that is weighing you down so that you can continue along on the adventure of a lifetime that is living in the freedom we have to love, serve and worship our King and Savior Jesus!

Kayla Miller, GEM Missionary