A city known for her romance, art, fashion, food, architecture, museums, jazz…the list goes on and on. Iconic in many ways, it’s intimidating to even plan a trip because there is simply too much to see, to eat, to experience! I know this because we’ve been strategizing our 7-day trip for the last few months, and I still don’t know how we’re going to fit everything in.
Speaking of not knowing how to fit everything in…can we talk packing? There is much to consider, including a strictly enforced baggage weight limit. Paris is dressier, so shorts and sneakers will not do. Temps can be hot in the day and chilly at night, so layers and options are needed. And have I ever mentioned my compulsion to have multiple shoes options? Let’s just say, packing light and me are in a fight right now, and we need some serious counseling.
But if I show up at the gate with a carry on like the picture above…we all know I won’t be making it on the flight. (The short SNL clip is below, so make sure to read to the end.) My lack of restraint for packing those last three pairs of the cutest ever shoes will prevent a Paris stamp from ever making it into my passport. Unfortunately, I’m going to have to endure the painful process of packing light: a) to actually make it to France, and b) to afford room to bring back what I’ll buy in France. I know…first world problems, right?
And then, in the middle of all my dilemmas of “Do I pack this or that?” and “What if I don’t pick this, but then wish I did?”, God totally slid in a spiritual metaphor. Out of the blue. Like, I wasn’t even asking Him to spiritualize my packing experience or challenge my thinking. But this is how God rolls. Unlike my current state of meticulously compartmentalizing my packing, with the toiletries going in this special pouch, and the shoes (packed with underwear, of course) tucked away in these corners, God doesn’t do compartmentalization. There is no distinction between the spiritual part of our lives and what we consider non-spiritual.
We are spiritual beings. Period. So everything we do is spiritual to Him. Praying, going to church, working, watching movies, playing on our phones, changing diapers, chatting with our friends, fighting with our spouses, disciplining our children, painting our toenails, and now apparently, packing for Paris. ALL of it is spiritual to Him whether or not we choose to connect the dots.
Anyway, in the middle of my packing, He spoke to my heart. What if you only packed the absolute essentials and trusted I would miraculously provide everything else you need? Think of how easy and light your travel would be. I knew immediately He wasn’t talking about clothes. Or shoes. Or Paris. He was using the visual of a thousand items trying to fit into a small suitcase as a picture of the baggage I was carrying around in my heart. A pretty shirt of bitterness here, an old shoe of resentment there. A necklace of greed here, a pair of jealousy glasses there. A scarf of fear here, a spanx of anxiety there.
You see, it’s usually not the huge items, the major abuses and life issues, that prevent us from going where God wants us to go. Those are a no-brainer. They’re easy to identify as unable to travel, and we know we need to deal with those through prayer and counseling. But those little things…the seeds of bitterness, unforgiveness, secret sin, jealousy, gossip, judgement, and the like, these tuck themselves away in our hearts. Almost undetectable at first, they eventually grow into heavy weights until we look like this SNL guy in the picture above. There’s no way we are going to get to enjoy the adventure of God’s travel itinerary with baggage like that.
The Fearless 365 Week Twenty Challenge: BE FEARLESS TO PACK LIGHT. God has a magnificent life journey for you…but you can’t experience the fullness of it if you’re bogged down by oversized baggage.
This week, take some time with the Holy Spirit to assess what you are packing around in you heart. Are there unnecessary resentments, anxieties, or jealousies tucked away in secret places? Sometimes they’ve been there so long, we’ve forgotten they were still taking up space! But lately, God has shown me some extra baggage I’ve been packing, and I’m submitting to His gentle and loving Spirit as He is helping me leave it all behind. So as I trim down and use self control to pack for my Paris trip, I’m using this as an exercise to open up my heart and get rid of needles hurts and fears. I pray you’ll do the same.
“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us. We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, the champion who initiates and perfects our faith.” -Hebrews 12:1-2
Make sure to check back in next week, as I will be blogging from PARIS!!