I hate packing! Whether it’s to move house, go on holidays or to a conference it is one of my least favourite things to do. And because it is such a despised activity I inevitably leave it to the last possible moment and usually pack all sorts of weird and wonderful items while forgetting some of the essentials.
It’s quite a daunting prospect for me to stand before an empty suitcase and start to try to work out what needs to be going in. While my lovely husband has packing lists that help him in this process I find them only part of the answer. The list might say ‘5 x shirts’ and so I then wrestle with which shirts should I include and which should I leave behind? And then which pants should I take to go with those shirts? And what if I feel like swimming? Or running? Or hiking? I often get quite stuck trying to make a decision and choose instead to walk away and find something less traumatic to do, like defrosting the freezer! To be honest, I would be perfectly okay with someone else to make these choices for me.
I usually pack too much in activities, that is books I intend to read, craft projects I might get around to doing, work tasks that need attending to, all with a ‘just in case’ mindset. I don’t want to find myself away from home and not able to have access to these things. What I end up doing is having a far heavier burden to carry in my suitcase and bags because I don’t want to leave stuff behind. Most of these items don’t get touched and so it ends up being a pretty pointless exercise that ends up inconveniencing me along the way.
How often in life do we choose to carry around extra baggage that we don’t really need? Those hurts and disappointments that remind us that others are not to be trusted. The painful moments in life that have caused scars in our life. Those times when we have not lived up to our own expectations or those of others.
Jesus spoke some beautiful, comforting words recorded in the book of Matthew, chapter 11 and verses 28 to 30. They speak of all who are weary and burdened having the opportunity to exchange the load they are carrying with His, and have some rest. What I noticed recently is that it doesn’t say we end up with no burden, but a lighter one, His burden, which I imagine would have all the essentials we need without the extra stuff to weigh us down.
Tomorrow, we head off on a 6 week overseas adventure and I have tried to be super disciplined in what I have put in my case and backpack, or more accurately, what I have left out. Only time will tell, I guess, how good my choices in this have actually been, but I know that the burden I have been given by Jesus is just the right size for me to carry. No excess baggage charges there!