“We are here for only a moment, visitors and strangers in the land as our ancestors were before us. Our days on earth are like a passing shadow, gone so soon without a trace.” 1 Chron 29:15 NLT
We forget this sometimes. We tend to accumulate a lot of stuff as we go along. Stuff we’re convinced we desperately need. Can’t live without.
Some of this stuff — we think it makes our lives easier, more manageable. Or brings us comfort … or that it protects us or keeps us safe. Some of it is stuff we think we have to have, because everybody else has it — or because (for better or worse) we think we deserve it.
We can’t imagine going through life not carrying this baggage. It’s what people do.
But it just weighs us down.
Keeps our arms full — not free. Obscures our vision, so we can’t see. Distracts us from more important things. Occupies all our free time — sorting, organizing, maintaining, controlling, hiding…
Yeah, I’m thinking a little of the physical baggage… the material possessions that contribute to so many of our “first-world problems.” The simpler our lifestyle, the less stress, the less obligation…
But I’m mostly thinking about the emotional baggage — the spiritual baggage.
Guilt, shame, and regret. Unhealthy attitudes, bad habits. Misplaced priorities. Impossible standards and unrealistic expectations — for ourselves and others. Unresolved hurt, bitterness, and unforgiveness. Prejudice, self-righteousness, complacency. Fear, worry, and negativity.
“Beloved, I implore you as aliens and strangers and exiles [in this world] to abstain from the sensual urges (the evil desires, the passions of the flesh, your lower nature) that wage war against the soul.” 1 Pet 2:11 AMP
We just do not have the strength, the energy, the room in our suitcases for all this JUNK! Especially in times like these. Especially as the days grow evil. (Eph 5:16)
We need to be able to travel light. Free.
So what should we take with us?
With material possessions, I think it’s whatever we need to accomplish what God has revealed to us as His plan and purpose for us. It’s what He has provided for us, and how He has directed us to put His provision to use.
We’re not slaves to fashion or the advertising industry; we’re not competing with or trying to impress anyone — in our neighborhoods or our families. We do our best to live responsibly, so we can give generously and (ideally) make decisions about our future freely. If God calls us to give it all away, to live by faith, with our brothers and sisters in abject poverty — we do that, too. But we make sure that’s His call, and not our first-world guilt or fear of materialism talking.
When it comes to our spiritual possessions, well, there are things we really want to make room for — by letting go of all those other things!
We want to carry with us the love of God, His light, His Truth, His mercy and grace, His freedom, His healing. The peace… the joy… the hope…
As I was preparing for our Holding on to Hope Bible study this summer, I made a list of all the ways the Bible describes our hope in Jesus:
He (and His salvation, His love, mercy, and grace) is our only hope, all hope, eager hope, blessed hope, living hope, confident hope, enduring hope, wonderful hope, glorious hope, eternal hope.
May you carry this hope with you always… as He carries you.
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Virtual VBS Assignment:
This is the last post in our series Virtual VBS for GrownUp Girls: Holding on to Hope… When Life Is Hard. If you’re participating, here are your instructions for this week:
Virtual VBS Craft Project / Journaling:
Below is a free printable PFD outline of a suitcase for one last special VBS craft! Here are a couple of ways to use it:
- Print the suitcase on regular paper or cardstock and cut it out (so you can put it on your fridge or or in your journal or scrapbook). Fill in the blank space with up to five things you want to remember from our time together this summer — your takeaways from the Bible study. Or your favorite quotes or Scripture verses. Or your own definition of the word “HOPE”… or an acrostic or a poem…. You could draw symbols of hope, add a few colorful flourishes… or just keep it really simple. Whatever works for you!
- If you want to make it even more of a project, use the suitcase as a template and trace your own shape on construction paper or even colorful scrapbooking paper (so it looks like a tapestry / carpet bag). Again, find a way to depict what you’ve learned or want to remember from this study: Use squares of construction paper (like luggage labels) for individual notes / Scriptures / quotes OR use lightweight 3D objects, such as scrapbooking stickers, shells, feathers, ticket stubs (as though they are items packed IN the suitcase) to represent specific concepts.
Click here to download your PDF. Feel free to post photos below or on Facebook… I’d love to see what you come up with!