Go ahead. Admit it. We’ve all got unwanted baggage.
We’ve had our share. One year our garage sale was so huge, a neighbor left a message on our phone saying, “You’re not moving, are you?”
Where does this “stuff” come from, anyway? How does life get so messy?
But more importantly, what do you do with unwanted baggage? Whether it concerns our relationships, our homes, our possessions, or our emotions, our excess “baggage” can interfere with God and His peaceful presence in our lives. And getting rid of it usually involves a process, sometimes a painful one. But there’s something you can do that inevitably brings sweet blessings–to you and others.
Three women give us a practical plan and help answer that question, “What do you do with unwanted baggage?” in their book, Messy to Meaningful, My Purse Runneth Over. They use a purse–a bag–as a metaphor to demonstrate some of the “stuff” we carry around in our lives, but their practical applications will apply to anyone who wants to experience the blessing of peace and freedom in their lives.
Here’s an excerpt from their book by Monica Schmelter, Rhonda Rhea, and Kaley Rhea:
Got baggage? And seriously, who doesn’t? On the physical side, our tendency is to attach baggage to a heavy-duty purse strap and lug it around like the treasure it may or may not be. Never mind that our purse shoulder sags about three inches lower than the other.
Is there a purse-reflex that causes us to unthinkingly shove every little item, need or not, into our bags? How many used tissues can one purse handle? We only have two nostrils each, for goodness sake.
Spiritually speaking, it’s all too easy to haul around baggage that, as followers of Christ, we simply don’t have to lug around. Some signs you might need to dump some of that baggage?
- Life feels overwhelming practically all the time.
- There’s anxiousness and stress–sometimes you can’t even pinpoint why.
- You’re overflowing with anger and the smallest happening can unexpectedly set you off.
- Fear is heavy and ever-present.
- You feel like a failure before you try–often.
- Contentment and satisfaction always seems out of reach.
- The peace you long to possess feels like it’s for everyone else.
We can stuff baggage into our lives without thinking. Sometimes we cling to everything we don’t need without fighting for what we do need. But guess what. You can sort through some of that baggage. You can. Keep what you need, toss out what you don’t, and learn to better walk out your faith life unencumbered. Lighter. Less weighed down by the unnecessary. Free.
We have a gracious and powerful God who wants us to live in freedom. He can take the craziest messes we tend to carry around and not only free us, but bring about glorious purpose and meaning from the process. Messy to Meaningful.¹
In summary, I can add that the authors of Messy to Meaningful will take you on a sort and clean of your purse—just in time for spring. Only the baggage you’re carrying around doesn’t stop with an overflowing handbag. I love both the humor and practicality of this book and the spiritual applications they make to the messy baggage in our lives. Whether you’re carrying stress, fear, unforgiveness, or a host of other unnecessary clutter, this book, grounded in God’s healing truths and spiritual principles, will help you find freedom and deeper purpose in the sorting process.
One of the quotes I especially like in the book is: “Unconditional love is exactly what grace is like for us. We can’t earn it. We don’t deserve it. But oh, how it is our good and merciful Father’s pleasure to wrap us in His grace and take all that is wrong and make it right.”
Monica Schmelter, author and speaker, is best known as the host of the daily television show Bridges, which airs nationally on Christian Television Network. She is also the General Manager of WHTN, CTN’s Nashville affiliate. You can find more about Monica on her website.
Rhonda Rhea is an award-winning humor columnist and author of more than a dozen books. She is a pastor’s wife and mother of five growns (with one Kaley Rhea in the middle) and lives in the St. Louis area. Visit Rhonda on her website here.
Kaley Rhea, also a St. Louisan, is an award-winning devotion writer. In addition, she teams up with mom, Rhonda, for some hilarious romantic comedies, including The Christy and Selah Award finalist, Turtles in the Road, and the new Off-Script & Over-Caffeinated. Learn more about Kaley on her website.
¹Monica Schmelter, Rhonda Rhea, Kaley Rhea, Messy to Meaningful, My Purse Runneth Over (Friendswood, Texas: Bold Vision Books, 2021) 9-10, Used by Permission
What Do You Do with Your Unwanted Baggage?
So then, with endurance, let’s also run the race that is laid out in front of us, since we have such a great cloud of witnesses surrounding us. Let’s throw off any extra baggage, get rid of the sin that trips us up, and fix our eyes on Jesus, faith’s pioneer and perfecter (Hebrews 12:1-2 CEB).
It’s Your Turn
Do you have unwanted baggage cluttering your life? How are you dealing with it? I’d love to hear from you anytime. You can always write me through my contact page. Just fill out the basic name and address info,and then the email will come to me. Your name or info will never be shared with anyone without your permission.
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