Saturday, May 10, 2014

perk #10 – lighter baggage

We are precisely 4 months and 10 days into 2014. I remember sitting alone on my couch as the clock ticked down and 2013 officially slipped into the past, and I recall thinking as I always do on the eve of a new year “I hope this is my year.” What I was really saying was “God, let this be the year the next chapter starts.” I do wish for that often, even though through this blog I can honestly say that I have come to enjoy the privileges of being single. And as I reflect on the last 4 months and 10 days, I can see that through much hard work, so far, this is my year. This is the year I’ve gone to great lengths to do what I need to do to live a happier life. This year I’ve worked especially hard on lightening my baggage and sucking the poison out of my life. It has been difficult and painful, but I’ve had people on several occasions comment on how different I seem….happier.

Everyone has baggage. Everyone has parts of themselves that are broken from sin and all forms of grief. Some of this baggage could just be difficult decisions we have been postponing for whatever reason. Whether young or old, single or married, parents or childless, we all carry or have carried the weight of something inside. Some baggage may be dealt with on a daily basis, and some could have been dealt with long ago, or some may not have been dealt with at all. I am a big advocate of honesty. I believe that the truth can set a soul free, because no matter how heavy the load, the weight of it on a weary heart is worse than a lighter heart and facing whatever the consequences may be. I’m so thankful that no matter how heavy the load I’m carrying, no matter how afraid I am of what will happen when I release what’s holding me back, the Lord is there, whispering in my ear that He loves me, is there for me, and will carry the burden for me.

And I’m realizing that during this stage of my life, it would be prudent to begin to weed through the disheveled bits of my life and do what I can to lighten the load now instead of taking it all into a future relationship. I’m sure that there will always be some form of baggage no matter what stage of life I am in. But there are parts of me I can work on now, and I can be thankful knowing that I will be more ready for what lies ahead without it all weighing me down, especially the bits that would directly affect a future relationship. So that is what I’ve done this year. I’ve slowly removed things that needed to be removed, brought secrets into the light, forgiven myself and others for various things, and have tried to be more self-aware of things I daily struggle with. I have even developed a healthier lifestyle in a number of ways, which have made me a better version of myself. I have a long way to go, and in this journey of life, I will always have baggage for certain things that are my most common sins, and I do worry about the toll they could take if left unchecked in a marriage. But I can be thankful for the fact that I am doing all I can now while it is less complicated.

This year has been difficult. It is no easy task to reach inside the deepest parts of you and pull out and let go of the things that are really just shackles keeping us bound to the past. I don’t want to be bound by anything except Christ, the only person who can give me the strength and desire to be better, and who can reach down and release me from the shackles. I’d be lying if I didn’t say that freedom from certain things means loss of other things, sometimes important things. But I have to keep thinking forward. I have to remember that not only am I doing these things because they please the Lord and they need to be done, I am doing them for the person who I will spend the rest of my life with. After all, that person is the one that has to live with me, faults and all. That person is the one with whom I’ll be sharing the details of my life, baggage and all. And when that day comes, I want anything that could be a hindrance to our marriage to be as far removed from me as possible. I don’t want to have to tell my story with anything that is a present issue that shouldn’t be, and I want him to know that the daily sins I struggle with are things I strive to keep in check. Not only does the Lord deserve my best, but the man I marry does too. I don’t want to be that girl that let’s things slide, but expects the other person to have it all together.

This is my time to do as much as I can now, not sit idly in my comfort zone ignoring the skeletons in my closet. I want to be lighter, freer, to be the best version of me I can be, for myself, for whoever lies ahead, and most importantly, for the Lord. I don’t want to be a weak person who cannot pull free of the chains that bind me, but one that is strong and joyful and full of life.