The Truth About Baggage

baggage claims

Typically I am not the girl who likes to live in the past. My glory days are my “right now” days. I don’t miss being twenty-two. I don’t miss wondering if I would always feel like a train-wreck because I couldn’t stay pregnant. I don’t miss being overly ambitious, striving to be all things to all people and not liking who I was. I don’t miss being the girl who was all over the map, but had no clue how to gain real ground in her life. I don’t miss the girl who continually strived to measure up to unrealistic expectations outlined in my jacked-up headspace. But, I’m so grateful for that season of becoming. I’m so glad it wasn’t easy and things weren’t just handed to me.

I’ve spent this past year writing about emotional baggage and how to unpack it, unfolding those moments and putting things in its proper place: at the foot of the cross. My goal was to not write anything remotely like, “How to get your crap together and win at life in seven simple steps”…but to simply live the uncharted life of a woman completely set free.

I wanted to look back with gratitude, thankful for what the scorching heat and refining process did in me.

I would like to say that it’s been all butterflies and rainbows and skipping through a field of daisies with a cheesy grin on my face. But, it hasn’t been. It’s been brutal and messy. All hell broke loose. And instead of plummeting to the pit of depression like I used to, I found a different girl standing in my shoes, one that I really, really liked.

I started going to counseling, not just for some really great material for my book but because I knew in my heart that I needed extra backup for the season of life that I was in. I went to counseling because I needed to. I needed to make sure that as these memories surfaced, I was dealing with them instead of just writing about them. I knew that was the only way I could truly turn the page, move on, and lead others to do the same.

I needed support and reinforcements to buildup what God was doing inside of me. I wanted homework and books to read. I wanted to hold in my hands the things that I could not control and leave them in that beautiful space with just her and me, and Jesus.

I removed the default setting of useless venting and complaining that would only stir up anger inside of me. I refused to call friends and cry about the same-old-things. I became increasingly aware that the cycle of complaining and whining only set me back and wasted my time.

Here is the real truth about emotional baggage; it never stops. So I decided to take all the necessary steps to stay free and unchained by things that I couldn’t fix. All I was responsible for was myself.

I put all the things that I had learned over the years into practice and kept unfolding these broken moments until there was nothing left for me to do…except for moving forward one obedient footprint at a time.

Lately I have been thinking about the pattern most of us revert back to in our lives and began writing these words on a yellow legal pad:

“You are wearing yesterdays hardships and hang-ups, not the promise of new life and mercy that begins again daily.”

Each morning provides another opportunity for a fresh start and moving forward. Of course we have so much that we could cry about and so we allow ourselves free space to grieve and deal and throw some fits about things. But, we don’t camp out there. We ask God for a portion that satisfies and sustains us in our seasons of waiting and brutal becoming. Because we know that as long as there is breath in us…we simply aren’t finished with the painful process of growth.

It’s true, our baggage doesn’t stop, we will always be making choices about the things that we are going to carry throughout life. We simply unfold and unpack and do all the necessary things to travel light through life. Each day we begin again and find mercy right there waiting on us. We cannot wear yesterday’s hardships when we are clothed with strength and dignity. (Prov 31: 25)

 

Through the Lord’s mercies we are not consumed, because His compassions fail not, they are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness. “The Lord is my portion,” says my soul, “Therefore I hope in Him!” The Lord is good to those who wait for Him, to the soul who seeks Him.” (Lam 3:22-25 NKJV)

 

Much love,

Jennifer Renee

Photo cred: mbirt1