Dear Baggage,

 We pick you out at an early age in life. We grab you when you are bright and shiny. We grab you because we don’t know any better. You start off fairly light and not too cumbersome. You know just when to walk into our lives.

I’ve seen you pinpoint the shy pre-teen girl who feels like she doesn’t fit in. You whisper in her ear her that boys would like her if only she were skinnier or prettier. She picks you up and believes that you are just what she needs. You show her how to starve her body or hurt herself. You become a part of her.

You are sly one, oh baggage; yes, you are. You never overwhelm us with too much weight at once. You add the weight slowly and steadily, so that it isn’t even noticed. Once a girl has chosen to take hold of you, you convince her that she needs to fill you, because what good is empty baggage?! If she really wants to move forward in life, she has to add things to you.

You tell her that though she may not be pretty, she can get looks from a man if she dresses a certain way. You convince her that freedom is found in proudly displaying her body for all to see. She realizes that this does, indeed, get her attention from males, so she stuffs the weight of indecency in her bag. She picks up self-hatred, too.

She starts to realize that looks no longer are as exciting, so you tell her that having sex will surely make a man stay. She tries it once to see how it goes and realizes that she gets quite a bit of positive attention, even if for only a moment. She starts to crave those moments and does whatever she can to feel truly desired, thus adding the weight of promiscuity to her bag. Oh, and know that her grabbing self-destruction isn’t too far away either.

She sees her friends getting married and having babies. You once again come close and tell her that they stole her dream. Her friends didn’t deserve a husband. She deserved a husband. After all, she is the smarter/cuter/funnier girl. The weight of bitterness doesn’t need to be added, because it practically leapt into her bag. Self-righteousness tags along with its buddy, bitterness.

“Why stop there,” you say. “After all, if God was truly sovereign, He could have given you a husband, ” you add. You convince her that God is purposefully hurting her and withholding good things from her. You got a little brave on this, because you added a bit more weight at once. You added both doubt and anger toward God in one good dose. After all, they do go so well together- why would anyone want one without the other?

You tell her that the man she is dating is a good choice. “He doesn’t have to be a Christian,” is what you preach to her. He is kind and kindness is enough to get her into heaven and him too. After all, he makes he feel really pretty and he makes her feel desired. The baggage of being unequally yoked and having to choose between 2 worlds is thrown right in with the rest of the baggage.

She starts to feel a little doubtful of you. Her arms are actually getting kind of sore from hauling you around. You pull out the big guns now. You help her see that God couldn’t really love a girl like her, and certainly no man could. You convince her that she is both not enough and too much at the same time. You add despair to the good stash you’ve got going. She picks you up without a fight.

You help her to see that she shouldn’t try to get rid of any of the pieces. Each one flatters her so well, at least that is what you tell her. You convince her that each weight is a part of her and folks and God should really learn to accept and love her as she is. You make her believe that she would have no identity without each piece in the baggage. They are a part of her; they are her!

Baggage, I could go on and on about the weight you add, but frankly, I am tired of giving you so much credit. See that girl, well, she could be me, or she could be so many women I know.

You have no place in my life. Do you want to know where you belong? It is the last place you want to be. I’m not going to say you belong in a desert, because you would find some camel to bring you back to me. I am not going to say outer space, because some asteroid would bring you back to my home. Your place is at the foot of the cross!

The reason I know, is because that is where I left you. Only, I wasn’t one of those girls in a pretty white dress who had the shiny bag with neatly folded contents. Nope! I was the girl with tattered clothes from the long journey, matted hair from the winds trying to fight me, calloused feet from almost taking you there so many times but turning around, puffy and swollen eyes from the tears I cried.

There was a draw that was stronger than you. It was the draw of the cross, the draw of the Spirit, the draw of Jesus’ sacrifice, the draw of God Almighty. I couldn’t resist. I wasn’t quite sure at first. But, once I stuck out my finger for the tiniest drop and got the first taste of His grace, I was sold! I was the girl who came barreling to the foot of the cross, flinging my dirty laundry out for all the world to see. It didn’t matter what anyone thought, I needed it covered by the blood. Because you know what I realized, baggage? Whether it is my dirty laundry or some neatly folded laundry, at the cross, it is all covered and washed in the blood. The stains and rips don’t make my baggage unacceptable, the blood washes them clean.

Baggage, I cannot say that I miss you, because I don’t. I don’t miss the extra weight that was added by all the weight I willingly added. You were never content. You had to keep piling on more. You had to slow me down, drag me down, and weigh me down. My savior lifts me up and my heart quickens in His presence.

There is nothing heavy in His presence. Supernatural peace is quite light. Amazing grace practically leaves you with negative weight, like you’re floating. Unconditional love makes you soar.

So, baggage, you see, there really was no choice. You had to go. You know how people say, “It’s not you; it’s me”? Baggage, it is totally and completely you. You don’t get to coexist with my Savior. You don’t get to compete for my energy. You don’t get to dictate my time. My energy, time, soul, flaws, gifts, weaknesses, heart, mind, body, service, and yes, even you, baggage all belong to my Savior to do with as He pleases. I don’t have to worry about load becoming too much or being unbearable. I am safe. I longed to be able to say those words for so many years…I am safe! That makes tears flow down my face with such a thankful heart I cannot put into words. That, baggage, is something you can never pin down with weight. That is out of your reach. If fact, everything is out of your reach. You have no place in my life anymore. So, please, take your rightful place, at the foot of the cross.

Forever signed,

Lee Ann

 

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