My three year old daughter is insistent on carrying her backpack to and from daycare every day. And everywhere else she goes. One day last week, she asked me to carry her whilst wearing said backpack. As I lifted her (and nearly threw out my back in the process) I could swear she had doubled her weight. When I asked what she had packed in her backpack, she replied, “My stuffs.”

When we got home, I opened her backpack to discover she had been carting back and forth her most prized possessions: a jigsaw puzzle, her favorite blanket, a makeup bag containing a variety of chapsticks, a bouncy ball, shoes, dress up dresses, a variety of trinket toys, etc. None of it made sense to me. Most of it was impractical and unused at daycare. As I began to unpack it and put things away, she caught me. “No!!! That’s my STUFFS!” she protested. She very angrily and in her spirited way began to repack all the nonsensical items back into the backpack. And the next morning, as she laboriously tried to pull on her backpack, she nearly toppled onto her back like a turtle! She had added even more items to the backpack. Seriously, did we buy this thing from Mary Poppins?!

This reminded me of how we react to God sometimes when he attempts to relieve us of our baggage. All the hurts, anger and resentment that we insist on packing around every day. We think we need our “stuff.” We justify its importance. “That person hurt me. I must protect myself with these walls,” we explain. “This terrible thing happened to me as a child. How can I possibly just forgive?!” we insist. “That event changed me, shaped me, and now defines me. I can’t just let go!” we say.

But Jesus paid the ultimate price. He sacrificed his life and raised from the dead so that we could live in abundance! He paid for freedom! Freedom from our past, our baggage, and our burdens. The cross was enough! And when we defiantly insist that we need to drag around our pain and scars like badges of honor, we discredit the love and victory Jesus poured out on the cross. When we worry, hold grudges and cling to resentment, we only hurt ourselves much like my toddler falling on her back under the weight of her backpack.

There’s no need to cart around your baggage anymore. Trust in God, the Creator of the universe to unpack your burdens.

“…Come to me [Jesus], all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” Matthew 11:28-30

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