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Preserved by Purpose – Leaving Baggage at Home

“Everyone’s got baggage.”  True or false?  Some may say that they have no baggage because God or 6 weeks with a psychotherapist took care of that.  There are so many different types: emotional, physical, spiritual, financial and sexual.  Some baggage that we carry is the result of our poor decisions while others are a result of us being victimized by others.

Shewanda Riley
Shewanda Riley

Whatever the source of the baggage, eventually we have to decide what to do with it.    God’s desire for our lives is that we live peaceful and emotionally whole lives regardless of our past or current circumstances.  This doesn’t mean that we won’t struggle or have trials, but once we find ourselves in difficult situations, we will know how to respond.  For many of us, the response to being hurt by someone is taking that pain with us for the rest of our lives.  The worst part is that we rationalize holding onto the baggage by saying “After all, everyone has baggage.”   But that’s not part of God’s original plan for our lives.  God’s desire is that we would give whatever our burdens are to him.  Part of the “smart” response to a troublesome situation is to know when to give our hurts to God.

Once when I traveled out of town, the unthinkable happened —the airline lost my luggage.   From this experience, I learned to pack and travel lightly.  What was so frustrating about the airline losing my luggage was the fact that they could not tell me where exactly my bag was.   Even though they finally located my luggage on a later flight, while I was waiting I kept thinking that things would have been easier if I’d been smarter and traveled light like some of the fellow passengers who happily walked past the baggage claim area with neatly packed briefcases and backpacks.

In this era of tight airport security, passengers are advised to give themselves extra time to make it through security checkpoints because all bags, those that are checked and carry on, must be carefully screened.  It’s a total inconvenience to some but a necessary one that will affect most passengers because most have some form of baggage.  But smart travelers know how to leave some unnecessary things at home.  Traveling lighter and smarter reduces your travel time from the initial screening to your arrival at your final destination.

Some of us should adopt the same attitude of traveling smarter when it comes to our emotional baggage.  Why carry around baggage when you don’t have to?   I Peter 5:7 reminds us, “Casting all your care upon him, for he cares for you.”   However, it’s not enough to cleverly leave your spiritual, emotional, financial, sexual and physical baggage at home and travel lighter because you can still pick it back up at some point in the future. The really smart travelers only take it on one trip….to the altar when they decide to give it to God.


Shewanda Riley is a Fort Worth based educator  and  author of the Essence best-seller, “Love Hangover:  Moving From Pain to Purpose after a Relationship Ends” and “Writing to the Beat of God’s Heart: A Book of Prayers for Writers.”    She can be reached at lovehangover@juno.com.

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