As someone who hates being unprepared and likes knowing and planning for every outcome before I have even made a choice, I find myself being asked the “what’s in your bag?” and “why is your bag this heavy?” type questions almost every day.
Whilst packing up my apartment and all my belongings for a 7-hour drive back home, I have been made very aware of what belongings I have felt were necessary to make four walls feel less isolating. How often do I use these things, and do I actually need them to get through the next 3 days?
Simultaneously, I’ve been led to ponder the things that we ascribe value to, the things that we’ve packed into our bags and carry around with us on a daily basis.
Does this bring you joy?
As part of life, we carry different bags; from family and relational bags to faith, health, finances and the list goes on and on. Maybe you’re into the whole minimalist trend and only carry things with practical meaning. If minimalist works for you, if it brings you an ease in life then I commend you, but my bags are heavy and overflowing.
Whether we place the imbalance on ourselves or allow society to determine the weight of our scales, we often find ourselves imbalanced and somehow trapped in a wilderness season all at the same time. Usually that’s when someone utters those dreaded words; “Do you have space in your bag for these?”
Would this fit into your bag?
Whether it’s a set of keys or a bottle of sanitiser, sometimes there simply isn’t any more capacity in your bag. After all, it is the proverbial last straw that broke the camel’s back. Maybe you’re like me and find yourself in a dry season carrying your bags on your own. Maybe behind your silence and walls you safely look for validation and community without exposing your vulnerability to the world.
“Are you weary, carrying a heavy burden? Come to me.I will refresh your life, for I am your oasis” (Matthew chapter 11, verse 28).
Whilst finding out what’s really in my bags, I’ve had to come to terms with the truth that God already sees my burden. I would not need relationship, faith, or an oasis to refresh my spirit if I were not carrying a burden greater than myself.
What’s in your bag?
Just between us, I love knowing what people pack in their bags, from travel luggage and daily handbags to laptop and work luggage. There’s something that I find simply fascinating about looking for maximum efficiency and use.
I’ve been learning that the more I pack into my bags, the heavier my burden becomes, no matter how efficiently I think I’ve done the job. “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid” (John chapter 14, verse 27).
We cannot fill our bags according to the things we’re told by society, rather focusing on the peace and relationship we have built with our Creator. I’m not about to promote any form of extreme minimalist lifestyle, but rather suggest that we (meaning you and me both) cease placing emphasis on the misinformation and pressures of those around us.
What are you hiding?
What are you carrying around in your bag? What emotions are you hiding under the external façade? What mask are you wearing? Have you become so lost under the weight that you can’t find your way out anymore?
There is hope! Focus on spending time developing the relationship with the One who makes everything out of nothing. Peace is not easily achieved, but we were not promised a life of ease, but a life of purpose in our identity in Christ.
Hailing from South Africa, Crystelda is an avid nerd and an unapologetic dreamer. With a BSc. Biological Sciences and BCom Hons in marketing, she has launched the Christian lifestyle blog - Selah Blogger and is the joint winner of the 2019 International Theology Award. The blog can be found at https://selahblogger.wordpress.com/ and her previous articles may be viewed at https://www.pressserviceinternational.org/crystelda-naidoo.html