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Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Pack smart!

Do you ever just feel like you need to be carried along a little?  You know, like when the burdens get so "huge" you cannot seem to see around them, much less get out from under them.  I guess we all get to this point once in a while, but the important thing is that we learn to not make this a way of life!  By definition, a burden is something which is carried with some difficulty - it has become a "load" we bear, a sense of obligation to hold on tightly and not let go.  That said, I have to ask - what are you holding onto so tightly which keeps your hands, minds, and soul so occupied that you no longer can reach out to take the hand of Jesus?

Blessed be the Lord—day after day he carries us along.  (Psalm 68:19 MSG)

If we really want to understand the burdens which get us "overloaded", we first have to learn how it is we "pack the pack".  In the military, they taught us to "pack smart", but also to pack a whole lot in a little space.  For example, they gave us freeze-dried meals - they weighed less, took up less space, and still provided us with nourishment.  All we needed was the water to "reconstitute" them later on.  If we didn't have the clean water, they were kind enough to provide us with a tiny bottle of "water-purification" pills!  The techniques for packing included rolling things tightly into small bundles, packing every square inch of our pack so strategically we could fit a week's worth of stuff in there with room to spare!  The most important stuff went on the top - like our socks, compass, and the like.  Socks?  Yep, because wet feet became a risk to us, so changing our socks frequently prevented "foot rot".

I think some of us have learned to pack our lives so "strategically full" that we no longer have any room for the important stuff!  We couldn't fit a "change of socks" in there if our lives depended on it!  We pack away everything from thoughts to attitudes, dreams to disappointments, harm to failure - you name it - we have it packed tight!  What often becomes the case is our failure to remember all the stuff we have packed in there!  When I first started traveling, I packed so much stuff - just in case.  As I have become a more seasoned traveler, I have learned you can make do with a whole lot less and to pack stuff which serves a "dual" purpose.  Why?  It makes the load lighter, and it gets packed / unpacked quicker!  

The same is true in our spiritual and emotional lives - we have to learn to pack smart - being sure what it is we pack serves a purpose and is not really just extra weight we are carrying around.  Have you ever held onto something thinking you might just use it some day down the road?  I think we do that spiritually at times - we hold onto stuff God gives us for our use TODAY, just in case we need it down the road.  God's mercies are new EVERY morning - so if he gives you something today in the form of a word to hold onto, or a truth which can begin the process of setting things in right order in your life, why hold onto it for "future use"?  We also do this with emotional "baggage", as well.   We tuck away certain things, not so much because they are good stuff to have hanging around, but because we may "need to use that some day".  Usually we need to "use it" when we argue, become critical, or just plain feel like tearing another apart.  Emotional stuff tucked away is dangerous - it gets lost in the "pack" and we seldom realize just how much "stuff" is in there.

These kinds of things become burdens for us to bear.  When we don't use the truth God gives us today to help with today's challenges, we just put them alongside the burden we are already carrying and this only serves to increase the weight of what we are carrying.  Now, we carry the challenge AND the knowledge we haven't used what God gave us, leading us to feel a little guilty for not using what he gives.  When we hold onto the emotional stuff, it is like wearing dirty, smelly, wet socks - we get "foot rot".  If you have ever smelled it, you'd know it is not something you want!  Try walking well when your feet are being destroyed by some fungal infection!  It is not all that easy!  Maybe this is why God wants us to learn to "pack smart" - so we don't carry around unnecessary burdens which limit our ability to actually hold onto the one thing he wants us to hold onto - his hand!  Just sayin!