Ever feel like you're walking through life with a set of overweight luggage? Does it ever seem like you're wandering through the maze trying to find the end, and for some reason there's a tether to your arm just dragging on you?
I can't tell you how many times I've been running through airports around the world trying to make the next flight, and I just happened to pack my bags heavy.
It makes my attitude foul.
My physical body has to work harder to get to my destination.
And I look at my bag when I get there and wonder, "When am I going to use all this stuff anyway? I need to unload!!"
Well, life's not that different.
1. The Luggage of Family
Even typing 'luggage' of family made my face gnarl. I don't mean to use the word luggage in a consistently negative light. I mean luggage can be usable, functional, and needed, right? So when I write family luggage, I mean, 'What kind of ideas, world views, or habits are in us simply because of the family we grew up in?'
It's crazy to think how many marriages end up failing because of past family issues. One spouse rolls the toilet paper up, and the other rolls it down. In the midst of figuring out why, an argument will escalate, and before long; neither person really knows what they're fighting about.
The simplest little behavioral difference can bring on massive consequences, especially if we don't recognize where those behaviors came from. It's the baggage we assume everyone else carries, but actually they may be all together carrying something totally different.
2.) Financial Luggage
This one is a bit more tangible. You either have money or don't. You're either soluble or not. You can bring all kinds of financial baggage into a relationship you never intended.
You spend money one way, and your partner spends it another.
You think you need a bigger house, and your partner thinks it's too big already.
You think you need a faster car, but actually your car is just fine right now and ITS PAID FOR!!
You think you need a new set of clothes, a n adventurous vacation, or some big purchase, and your partner brings an opposite view.
For real. How many marriages have to walk through this financial baggage question? And how many people recognize that much of their spending or saving habits are a result of family, friends, or cultural baggage.
They are actually carrying relational suitcases full of opinion that seem rational to one and absurd to another.
What do we do?
3.) Faith Baggage
This one has been one of the hardest for me. Wait until the end of the paragraph before you judge, as I can see my faith friends cringing in the corner of their computer stations.
Faith is one of the most important factors in giving us a realistic navigational tool to guide our lives. It helps us decide what's right and what's wrong. It creates a story by which we live. If given full access to our own selves, it dictates who we marry, where we go to school, what vocation we choose, how we treat people, whether we give of ourselves or not. Faith is an important driver of all our decisions.
Now take a look at the landscape of faith in the world. In the Christian world, there are over 3500 different denominations vying for the title of truth. Each one proclaims they have the corner on the market for what is real and what isn't. Each group says they read the Bible better than the other.
"Well, those people are..." and "Well, they believe..." and "If they only..." and "They're not on the team yet, but we're praying..."
Think about all the suitcases full of faith being dragged through life. It's enormous. And depending on what region of the country, what state, or what nationality you come from; these statements get even more divisive.
Is there a way we can sit down and focus on the things most people of faith agree on?
I don't mean we sit down and empty the easy baggage, sing kum-by-ya and then do nothing.
I mean actually sit down and discuss, what are the things we can celebrate together, and what are our differences. What are really the things that divide us so we can stop fighting from within, and focus on our true mission as followers of Jesus "LOVE GOD; LOVE OTHERS" (Matthew 22:37-40)
I've been in nearly a dozen different churches in the past two months, and I'm convinced more than ever, we need to take a long look at the baggage we're carrying.
It's keeping us from becoming the body Jesus described, and ultimately shows the world exactly what Jesus warned us of. "The world will know you are my disciples by the way you love one another."
It's time to drop the bags.
It's time to unload the dirty laundry.
It's time to let go of the racial, economic, and social wardrobes we're clinging to.
It's time we release the fear of THE OTHER.
May we Love today as God called us to Love.