Confession time: I was always that tiny, skinny kid with the humungous backpack. You know, the comically large one. No idea why, because it's not like I took more or harder classes than everybody else (ah, fantastically mediocre. That's me!) But my backpack was always stuffed to the seams with books, papers, notebooks, snacks, pens, and a couple reading books. I was convinced I could carry it, but day after day after day I didnt realize how heavy it actually was...It gave me back problems I still have. So somewhere in high school I switched to the you-have-a-backpack-but-you-still-carry-some-in-your-hands approach. Helped, but didn't really, because I was still carrying it.
And then after graduation, I got rid of my heavy backpack and tried the small purse thing for a while. And guess what-- it was always filled to the brim. Gum wrappers, wallet (featuring every gift card I had), lipsticks, travel hairbrush, tiny mirror, notepad, cell phone charger, church notes, old flyers, cash, anything I could collect that would theoretically be useful--even, at some point, a pocket dictionary. Yes. A dictionary. I literally carried a pocket dictionary for years.
I need a change, I told myself. And what I meant by change was….a bigger purse.
About two years ago, I went and got myself a big purse. It's so big people ask me if it's a diaper bag. It is glorious. It's one I could put my laptop and folders into. One with tons of pockets for all my stuff. (Although, finally, I put the pocket dictionary in the house and left it there.) I shopped around a lot before finding exactly what I wanted. I found a bag designed to be a carry-on, with all the pockets and organization I need to function. And honestly, I love my bag. But it is HUGE.
What is the first thing I did with a bigger purse? Filled it. It can fit two laptops, the chargers, folders, books, lipsticks, emergency tweezers, phone chargers, headphones, a sweater, a small umbrella, months of church notes, two pairs of sunglasses, stuff other people have given me, old flyers, my wallet (it's just gotten bigger), and kids' toys I've confiscated on the fly. A large part of the bottom layer is just stuff I've been randomly holding and didn't know what to do with. My purse gets heavy. I mean like 30 pounds heavy. Sometimes I'll lift it and the leather straps will creak or split at the seams.
My purse is meant to carry stuff, but its not meant to be at capacity for a long time like that. And while 30 pounds is no problem for me to lift, it becomes an awful lot to carry regularly.
Sometimes it gets so heavy of just junk I gotta dump everything out & make "keep", "throw away", and "keep at the house" piles.
Yeah, this is a thinly veiled analogy about how we go around carrying stuff.
We carry stuff. Expectations from other people or expectations of other people, fears, disappointments, resentment, offenses, just to name a few.
Sometimes, just like stuff from my friends or kids, we find we are carrying stuff from other people.
Sometimes, we're dont know else what to do with it, so we're carry it.
Sometimes, we are afraid if we don't constantly carry it, we will lose it forever.
Sometimes, we just have totally forgotten its there.
And then we wonder why we walk around feeling so heavy, tired, laden, and run down. We are trying to walk up a mountain with a huge weight on our back.
Jesus is the one to help you take that weight off of you, and put it in the correct place, or help you throw it in the trash.
Today is a friendly reminder to spend some time with Jesus, take account of what you're carrying, and if it doesn't need to be there, put it back in its proper place or get rid of it.