Monday, February 1, 2010

Lighten Your Ship

Too much baggage can be a hindrance while traveling on a business trip, a vacation getaway, and especially on this journey we call "life". Immediately after I woke up this morning, the Holy Spirit led me to open up my Bible and turn to Acts, chapter 27. Even though I read the Word regularly, I was led to a passage that I don't recall reading before. Paul was taken prisoner and forced to sail on a ship that had begun experiencing great turmult due to some very treacherous weather. Paul advised the others in verse 10, "Men, I perceive that this voyage will end with disaster and much loss, not only of the cargo and ship, but also of our lives." Then in verse 18 it says, "And because we were exceedingly tempest-tossed, the next day, they lightened the ship."

There are times when we all need to lighten our ships. Reading this passage today made me think about the things that we carry with us as we travel along our way. Unlike the girl in the image "Travelin' Trunk", who packs only what she truly needs , we often drag unnecessary, burdensome, or even harmful things around with us year after year, to our own detriment. Sometimes the baggage that we carry is a job that we have become complacent with. This job can be stressful, thankless, and dead-end, yet we hold on to it for dear life. Because we are bound by fear, we never step out to pursue our dreams, and instead resign ourselves to the perceived safety of the "status quo". Sometimes the baggage is a relationship that, although it is abusive, stressful, and unfulfilling, we just can't envision existence without. In most of these cases, "staying put" seems far less scary than opening ourselves up to someone new. Sometimes our baggage is the opinions, judgements, and expectations of other people in our lives. We can become bogged down with feelings of inadequacy, low self-esteem, and condemnation. We spend so much time seeking the approval of our parents, friends, spouses, or employers that we never develop into the person that God has called us to become.

Whatever or wherever the baggage comes from, we must begin to walk in wisdom and discernment regarding these things. Once we become aware that we are carrying around this excess baggage , we can then take the necessary steps to "lighten our ships". Most certainly, saying good-bye to what isn't working is easier said than done. In challenging times like this, I always remember to seek God in prayer, get some godly advise from someone that I trust, and study the scriptures that pertain to the situation. After that, the only thing left to do is to plow through the fear and do what needs to be done by faith.
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