How to Pack Lightly

An entire suitcase of shoes?

When it comes to traveling, people fall into different camps. There are those who bring multiple bags for even a simple overnight trip and those who make do with just a clean shirt and a toothbrush for a weeklong excursion. It doesn’t take much time in an airport to easily spot the difference.

The souls who travel frequently- most notably pilots and stewardess- have perfected packing to art form. Not only do they pack lightly they pack well, fitting multiple days of clothing and toiletries into a small case. They know too well the pitfalls of carrying excess luggage.

Once I traveled to Spain for a family wedding along with my sister and her then sixteen year old daughter. It was our first trip abroad and an exciting time, though our luggage created difficulties. 

We had five suitcases and several carry-on bags between the three of us. It was a challenge to figure out how to handle them all- especially in light of the fact that only one was wheeled. To manage, we’d strapped two of their suitcases to mine. I pulled while they carried.

Our trip took us through multiple airports across three countries, flights on several planes, rides in cabs (two because our luggage wouldn’t all fit in one) and an extended train ride until we finally arrived. By the time we reached our hotel, we felt like pack mules. Without anyone else in our party to help us, nor assistance at the stations, handling our baggage became a major chore. We were exhausted.  

Imagine my surprise to learn that one suitcase -lugged across the globe- held nothing but shoes. Unsure what she needed, my niece had packed them all. She hadn’t realized how much trouble carrying unnecessary luggage would be.

How often do we find ourselves in the same situation- carrying unnecessary baggage in life? We cling to past resentments, bitterness over wrongs, feelings of jealousy, anger or even insecurity- replaying them in our spirits as if they were favorite tunes. But we don’t need to carry these; we have help. Jesus has set us free from every chain -including those from emotional pain and self-defeating messages. Through him, we can simply leave them behind.

Message for the Journey:
Because life is filled with imperfect people we each can have baggage, but through Christ we have the freedom to choose what it is we want to carry. We don’t need to bring it all with us, nor place it temporarily in baggage hold to come back and reclaim later. All we need to do is simply set it down at the foot of the cross (where it belongs), let go and walk away. Whether in life or travel, the trip is experienced best when we pack lightly.                                                  

©Ann Wilds                                  

So if the Son sets you free, you are truly free.
(John 8:36)

And for the record, that same niece is now a frequent traveler and an excellent packer. 

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