checking my baggage

“Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28).

I read this verse the other day and later, maybe while I was washing dishes or in the shower (I don’t remember exactly), I thought about it again.

We often use the term “baggage” to describe past emotional trauma, family drama, or other internal issues. In a literal sense, baggage is what I take on a trip. I pack my suitcase and backpack and drag them through airports and onto planes. Traveling is made more difficult with baggage. I have to lift up my suitcase and cram it into the overhead compartment. My back aches from the weight of the book-filled backpack. Even on wheels, luggage is awkward and uncomfortable to manage while trying to navigate an airport or public transportation.

If I didn’t have to carry baggage on a trip, I wouldn’t do it.

Luggage is needed on a physical journey, so I assume it’s the same on my spiritual journey. My suitcase is filled with guilt, regret, frustration, anxiety, anger, fear, impatience, and pain. Once in a while I unzip the baggage and sort through it, but when I try to stuff it all back inside, the contents seem to have multiplied.

Why does it seem pious to carry guilt? Why do I rationalize fear as “caution” or “self-protection”? Why is my impatience always someone else’s fault? Why do I hide my pain, covering it like it’s an embarrassing blemish?

The truth is, I don’t have to carry any baggage. Jesus said if I come to him, he will give me rest–and when I do, he does. And I wonder why I didn’t drop my bags earlier.


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