We all have strengths and weaknesses in life and I can readily admit that one of my weaknesses is not knowing how to pack light for a trip. Although I have become better over the years, I have found myself more times than not shifting items out of my checked bags and into my carry-on to avoid overweight baggage fees. In fact, I have practiced the art of making my carry-on bag look light as a feather when I lift and place it in the overhead bin so that no one will be suspicious of its weight. As sweat drips from my brow and my arms want to shake, I keep a soft face and pretend the bag is light. The attendant asks if I need help and I kindly decline for fear they would feel the weight of my bag and send it below. The strategy has worked flawlessly… that is until an overseas trip I took this past September.
To my horror, I saw that they had a flight attendant coming around actually weighing our carry-on bags. “That’s it!” I thought, “I am doomed.” I was hoping somebody would make a scene, a disgruntled customer perhaps, a baby crying, or even better- a toddler in a tantrum- something to distract the attention of this attendant while I walked through the line….but no scene took place. The attendant took my bag, weighed it and told me it was way overweight. I would need to check my bag and they would give me a complimentary “bag” to place necessary items in. In my mind I am thinking, “These are my necessary items, that is why they are staying with me.” I had an overnight layover before I would even reach my destination. Needless to say, I did not make a scene (at least outwardly) and I took the complimentary “bag”. I am pretty sure a paper bag would have been more durable than the “bag” they gave me and I am pretty sure the gummy bears, chips, Snickers bar, three pairs of shoes, and five books (to name just a few of my items) in my carry-on may not have been as necessary as I would have liked to admit.
As I reflect back on the incident, I am reminded that sometimes that is how many of us approach life. We can have all these “necessary items” that we do not want to depart from. The problem is that all of these items can weigh us down. I am reminded of Hebrews 12:1 “..let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us.” Am I carrying a weight in my life that is hindering me in running the race set before me?
Several common areas that can hinder the race:
- Misplaced Identity: Your worth is not defined by what you do, by what you have, your family, your church, or your past. Your worth needs to be defined by God.
- Overpacked schedule: We don’t have time to run the race efficiently.
- Pride: So often we want to handle things in our own wisdom and in our own strength. Instead, humble yourselves before God and be surrendered to his will- ask him for wisdom and strength that comes from him. Seek wisdom by studying His Word and be in community with other believers.