December 20, 2012
Well, Christmas is rapidly approaching, and for many that means a road trip, congested airports, weather delays, holding patterns, sleeping in odd beds, rushing between relatives, and stuffing ourselves with ‘special’ foods. One part of travel that I enjoy is packing. Quick, efficient, taking only what I really need. I am good with wearing the same clothes several consecutive days without problem. My girls are really efficient as well. Another person in our family, I won’t mention who she is, takes days to pack way more than she needs and really has trouble getting rid of the excess baggage, no matter how short and simple the trip is!
Extra baggage on a trip weighs us down, but most times, at least it isn’t harmful. On the other hand, when it comes to our minds and hearts, it’s amazing how much extra toxic baggage we voluntarily keep jammed in our hidden compartments. Try as I may, I find that the brokenness and sin of my past is like huge stone hanging around my neck. Carrying that stone brings guilt, shame and weakness. I know and believe I have been forgiven, but applying that thoroughly and practically in every moment of the day, I struggle with laying that stone down and walking away from it.
Our yesterdays hold broken and irreversible things for us. It is true that we have lost opportunities that will never return, but God can transform this destructive guilt and anxiety into a constructive thoughtfulness and hope for a transforming future. Trusting God’s forgiveness is a big and difficult stretch for most, myself included. It takes time to receive God’s forgiveness … to absorb the full depth and power of it … allowing it to seep into those hidden compartments.
For me, I had to work up to this huge step of trust by practicing, implementing, and applying trust in much smaller areas of life and in my relationship with God. Trusting Him when … there is an illness … a flat tire … a change of plans … someone else is in charge … a deadline is moved … a random expense comes into the mix … protection for my children is needed … I don’t feel loved or valued. Like any skill, starting small, practicing, then stretching it, can lead to powerful skills. Trust is the same way. Trusting in His power of forgiveness is one of the richest skills you can develop. Unpack some baggage, but pull it out of your heart with the loving hand of Jesus Christ. This is why He came to earth, to set us free from our baggage and the stone of sin.
Today, leave the broken, irreversible past in His hands, and step out into your invincible future with Him. Start by trusting Him, His agenda, promises, character, and instruction in 5 separate situations today. You already do this at times, but learn that what you are actually doing is trusting in God so you can grow this skill and finally be free from your past. Our workshops are designed to specifically help you properly unpack your toxic baggage and make great Christmas presents for those in need. Unpacking your baggage or carrying it in this life is your decision, so choose well.
Dear Father God, I can easily become paralyzed with shame, guilt, and fear over my past. I have hurt You … and I know I have hurt others. I am so thankful for Your promise of forgiveness – Thank You, Lord. I ask You, Father, to help me lay down this heavy stone of my past that I have been carrying. Let me remember and be accountable for my past brokenness and sin … but let it not keep me from moving toward You with freedom. I pray in the name of the One whom You sent to remove my toxic baggage, Jesus Christ; and all God’s children say – AMEN!
But you will not leave in haste or go in flight; for the LORD will go before you, the God of Israel will be your rear guard.
If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 1 John 1:9
I will cleanse them from all the guilt of their sin against me, and I will forgive all the guilt of their sin and rebellion against me. Jeremiah 33:8