Posted 3 years ago

“I packed my suitcase and in it I put…..”
The school holidays are upon us; for some that will mean packing suitcases and heading away on holiday; for others it means definitely staying at home until all the busyness of the summer holidays is over and a break taken later in the year, if we are lucky enough to afford one.
So what is it that is most important for you when packing your suitcase? For me, my hat and sun cream and a selection of books have to be accommodated, as well as the normal stuff of clothes and toiletries. You might want to pack your artist materials so you can make a quick sketch or complete a painting, of, if you are a keen photographer, the camera with batteries/battery chargers, and spare memory cards if you are really serious. For some people, walking boots might be a priority (depending upon where you are going, of course) and for bird watchers, there will be the binoculars as well. If we are going to Cornwall in the caravan, the first thing Tim thinks of is his surf board and wet suit (closely followed by the camera). With young children, perhaps the bucket and spade and/or the crabbing line are the essentials for a beach holiday (as well as the favourite teddy). For many of us, our phones and electronic gadgets must not be forgotten.
How often do we take too many things with us? Carting our belongings around the country or across the world, when we really don’t need to. Do you have a bit of a panic when you arrive with your suitcase at the check-in, and say a prayer that it will be within the luggage allowance? Especially on the way home? The funniest thing I ever saw at Stansted airport was a group of young Italians waiting to check in for a budget flight home, frantically emptying cases and putting on shirts and jumpers to avoid an excess baggage charge – and this was in the middle of August.
It isn’t just excess holiday baggage that we carry either. How many of us carry stuff from the past that just weighs us down such as hurtful things said and done to us, or our determination not to forgive – because we feel someone doesn’t deserve to be forgiven, or shame about something that we have said or done and just can’t forgive ourselves. We carry excess emotional/spiritual baggage - stuff that we just don’t need – around with us every day.
Holidays are a good time to think about and deal with these things; as we lay quietly on the sun bed, or sit in a garden or on the beach. If you are a walker or a surfer, there is usually plenty of time to think/chat to the rhythm of footsteps or waiting for the next wave. If you have children, it is not always that easy! But, if we don’t get rid of the excess baggage, in due course it becomes just too heavy to carry and we suffer the inconvenience of having to sort things out because we have made ourselves ill.
One of the dangers of our time is that we don’t give ourselves time; we fill our every waking moment engaged in the busyness of life/work or on social media. The Bible is full of quotes that tell us that rest is important in our make-up.
Be still and know that I am God Is a helpful verse. Be still – that brings me to a place of rest. Know that I am God – he is in over-all charge, and will meet my needs, if I am still enough to allow him to help me deal with the baggage that life dumps on me.
If you can, this summer, take time out to check in with God and off load your excess baggage, then settle back and enjoy a time of rest, relaxation and restoration.