My kids are obsessed with bags.
If I’m being honest, so am I. A bag is so alluring. It offers a sense of creativity. You give a bag a purpose: You, Kate Spade, will be my every day reliable pal. You’ll sit on my shoulder, be slung into carts, stepped on by little feet getting into car seats. You’ll hang on bathroom stall doors. You’ll carry the essentials of my life and always be at the ready. You’ll never leave me without the items I need or might need.
I need a bag for everything. Well, don’t need, but want or can devise a reason to buy a beautiful new bag. Some people it is jackets or shoes. I’m a bag lady.
Bags are a part of life. We learn to rely upon bags from infancy, knowing diaper bags have all our needs stashed away in there. School backpacks carry the treasures of our knowledge and needs back and forth to school.
Bags allow us to bring items for just in case.
They hold the things we hold to be important.
Bags—back packs, hiking bags, purses, travel bags, and more.
We love them.
But I wonder about some other bags we carry. We all have baggage from our past that we carry into our present. The bags carry things that have shaped us, scarred us, taught us life lessons… changed us forevermore.
Sometimes I wonder if we ever leave those bags behind. Or if we carry them and let them determine our life’s path? I wonder if we carry things like blame, shame, lies, defeat, names, feelings, neglect, abuse, adultery, divorce, or something else in those bags. I wonder… if our bags are the filter through which we view the world and ourselves.
The problem with baggage from the past is when we think our bags are too big. There’s too much crap in there. When we believe our bags are too big we tend to push people away. Leaving ourselves isolated. Alone. Insecure. Unsure.
We see those other people seemingly free of bags.
They move freely through the world, they seem secure in themselves and their purpose.
They seem to get right back up after a stumble or even after a major hit.
They don’t stay down.
Don’t feel held down by the massive weight of their baggage.
How do we get to a place where we can be like those people?
Leaving your baggage at the door is not the key to finding freedom.
Read that again.
Think about it, what would happen if we didn’t let go of our baggage, but instead took time to sit down, in the quiet, and open up the bag?
What would we find, really?
What would we be faced with?
What would it be like to feel through what we face in those bags?
Maybe, like me, you’d find you believed something about yourself that wasn’t true. There are some significant people in my life that told me in multiple ways that I was too much.
Danielle you’re too loud.
Use too big of words.
Too into this Jesus thing.
Too high of goals.
Too much hope.
Too high of expectations.
And I believed that for far too long. I felt uncomfortable in a lot of situations because if I showed who I really was, I’d likely be ostracized. If I said the wrong thing, I’d be reprimanded. If I voiced my opinion I’d be lectured.
Because I was different, I was taught to shrink into the molds people created for me.
When I believed the people who saw me as too much, the negative repercussions not only hurt myself but also hurt those around me.
All that did was cause depression. Caused me to lash out in other ways.
I ate food. Too much food.
I extreme dieted because in order to fit in I needed to make myself physically smaller.
I was promiscuous.
I stole things, because if I’m too much I’m too much to get caught.
I drank too much.
I worked too much.
The too much mentality sunk deep into my mental state, but also in all areas of my life.
When I started opening up my baggage years ago, I thought I could run through it quickly and check off boxes. That’s not how healing works, though. It takes years. Pulling each item out and fully examining. Feeling. And then turning the things over to God that we cannot control. It requires therapy. It requires brutal honesty. It requires ensuring the people you let into your inner circle are going to speak Truth into your life and not their truth.
It took me years to realize the bags I carry can actually carry good things.
Things of above.
Things holy, pure, and purposeful.
That those bags can overflow!
The inside of my bags shaped who I am. They give me unique opportunities to encourage those who are going through similar experiences. All the hard things in the bags, those aren’t meant to harm us, no. They’re meant to mature us and teach us perseverance through the hard times. They’re meant to be a tool to use to help inspire another soul scared to open her bag and see what’s really in there. They’re meant to give light to darkness in someone else’s life. They’re meant to remind us Whose we are, and that He has never left our side. He’s been there through every good and hard time.
Your bags can be used in my very purpose of encouraging others to do the hard work and get through what needs to be gone through.
Life doesn’t just start and end.
Life is meant to be lived in abundance. Living a life of abundance doesn’t mean I’m too much.
It means I’m free.
Free from lies. Free from other people’s lies and insecurities laid in my lap.
I am secure in who I am today because I didn’t let go of my baggage. I opened my bags and dealt with what was in there. I continue to carry my bags, but now they are of abundance and overflow meant for encouragement.
No longer do I shrink myself to fit into anyone else’s molds.
Someone has a problem with who I am, that’s a reflection of their insecurity, not a reflection of my value.
No longer will I believe I’m too much.
What’s in your bag?
What are you willing to do with the items in your bag?