Unnecessary Baggage, Hope For When You Don’t Love Your Life

Redhead girl with suitcases at outdoor

Years ago a classy lady that I absolutely adore walked up to me and grabbed my hands. I knew a moment was coming. As we held each other’s hands I waited on her to find words to say to me.

Words can linger in lonely moments and be a reminder of connected hearts and moments shared. With one carefully crafted sentence you could set a heart free and be the catalyst for a life-altering change. I want my words to be a lifeline, not a vast ocean for others to drown in.

During that season of life when I felt like I was sinking, I held onto her sweet hands and listened.

“You have such an amazing life. You really do. The things that you are doing, the open doors, and the ministry that you do weekly…you really lead such an amazing life.”

As she began to elevate me to a place that I didn’t deserve, nor did I want, a pedestal of importance that I seriously don’t belong on, I wondered what my face looked like while I wrestled with my feelings. How could I graciously receive her kind words as a gift while not fully believing them in my heart?

“…You really lead such an amazing life.”

In my heart I asked a question, “Then why don’t I love it more?”

Why do I feel stuck and stagnant?

On so many levels I was completely exhausted trying to keep up with an overactive social life that my husband loves with a fiery passion, busy ministry schedule, children, writing, housework, and all the other things that came with this amazing, jacked-up life.

I held her hands and told her that I really do have a blessed life, not a perfect life, but a blessed one. I nodded and agreed with her; I offered her the respect of receiving words that I wrestled with because it was her way of loving me and affirming me. And more than anything, holding hands and connecting was the exchange that we needed most.

A lot of people ask me questions about our ministry life and I love that we share our hearts with so many people. And sometimes I have moments that I don’t love, the times that we are criticized, on display, and under a microscope. Sometimes even by people we thought were better friends than that. But, those times are fleeting and I have learned not to focus on things that are not worthy of my time or worry.

Leadership is a funny beast. Years ago in a fragmented moment, I didn’t love my life because I was too busy trying to keep up with it and survive it. I didn’t want this gorgeous, older woman to wish somehow that she could have been me if she would have followed a different path in life.

I wanted her to know that walking in my shoes would leave her verbally barfing words in broken moments like… “I am not taking medication just to be married and in the ministry.”

Leadership doesn’t exempt you from hardships and struggles, it often magnifies it.

When you are so busy taking care of the hearts of others sometimes you wonder who is going to tend to the heart inside of you. I have found that my constant source is Jesus.

In messy moments we can be sure what our real source is:

“He is your constant source of stability, He abundantly provides safety and great wisdom, He gives all this to those who fear Him.” (Isaiah 33:6 NET)

He will always be the unchanging One who orders steps and calms chaos. We waste so much time striving to be something, or someone, we are not when the person God has created us to be is the very person that God desires to use the most.

Often our biggest obstacle is ourselves; we get in our own way.

To lead others we must do the very hard work of unpacking unnecessary baggage and the things that we need to let go of to usher in real and lasting change.

unnecessarybaggage

Most of our baggage comes from a cluttered heart and mind from keeping records of wrongs, both against others and ourselves.

We can unpack lies and replace them with the truth from the Word, not how we feel.

We can forgive and move on and repeat this step as often as needed.

We can pay close attention to what is coming out of our mouths and the feelings that others stir up inside of us.

A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth that which is good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart brings forth that which is evil: for of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks. (Luke 6:45 KJV)

If what spills out is continually messy and critical, I know it’s time to get alone with God and pull back from whoever, and whatever, is causing me to be in a negative mindset. Guarding my heart first has to proceed guarding my words. Negativity breeds negativity. If I have a relationship that is based on venting and nothing else, I might have to break up with that friendship until our hearts are less stormy and wild. Sometimes I will need to steer the conversation differently, or simply be brave enough to end a conversation that will most likely be damaging anyway.

“Above all else, guard your heart for everything you do flows from it.” (Prov 4:23)

“Let your speech always be with grace, seasoned with salt, that you many know how you ought to answer each one.” (Col 4:6 NKJV)

Just above in verse 5 it says, “Walk in wisdom toward those who are outside, redeeming the time.”

May our focus be the redeeming of time, not the wasting of time. God can restore what was stolen or lost concerning our broken moments, even the moments where we don’t like our life and our “right now.” He alone is our constant source of stability in a really unstable world.

Much love to you,

Jennifer Renee


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