Wednesday, December 12, 2012

The Baggage Claim

A few years back, I went on a trip with some girlfriends. Just boarding the plane to our Florida destination, created unmatched excitement and anticipation--no kids, diaper bags, or schedules to worry about...just time away to recharge our batteries, for the year ahead!

We had a great time. The weather was sunny, the conference encouraging, the music incredible. All in all, a great long weekend away. I was doing fine, until we started boarding our plane home. It seemed that the airline we were flying with wasn't as courteous, on our return flight, as they were when we departed. Instead of offering to store our carry-on luggage, at no charge--now, we were told it was too big to take on the plane. We had to swipe our credit cards, at the terminal, at $25 a bag, before boarding.

Even though the dimensions of our luggage fit within the written guidelines, they didn't fit into the box at the terminal. I could feel the hairs standing on the back of my neck, as I tried to reason with the attendant. We watched as dozens of passengers filed by, with similar-sized luggage, no charges incurring for them. Finally, a promise was made, by me, to report the incident. I flew home that day, feeling angry and taken advantage of. My poor friend had to sit next me, while I vented my way home. I can laugh about that a few years have passed!

We never did get our money back. When I think about it, I still shake my head. There are much worse situations to be angry over. This one falls into the category of "life is not fair, minor annoyances." Airlines may not have 'consistently-courteous people', from one hub to the next. And life will give us baggage to carry, from one adventure to the next.

For me, it raises a question: have I dealt with my stuff? Most of the time, I think I have. But then life sends me in a new direction, and I find myself carrying around the same junk--with more to add, coming back.  Like the baggage claim, my stuff keeps going around and around...waiting for me to pick it up, claim it as my own, and deal with it.

Isn't it liberating to purge out the old, and bring in the new? We try to do that from one season to the next--getting rid of forgotten toys, clothes outgrown, things we don't need. I always feel better once I've made room for new things to enter our lives : )

In the heart, it is much the same: allowing God to bring to the surface those things that no longer fit or belong. I'm glad that He is always doing something new, in our lives! We aren't designed to carry around those old burdens...

Matthew 11:28-30

"Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light."

..and He wants us to be freed up for what He is preparing, ahead of us.

Jeremiah 29:11-13

"For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope. Then you will call upon Me and go and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart."

With the Christmas season upon us, I am reflecting on the goodness of God. Letting go of the things that were never mine. Getting rid of what no longer fits. And looking to the New Year, with anticipation, of what He will bring into our lives. Blessings!