Hauling around past failures, regrets, and hurts in a ridiculously large suitcase (of course it’s large, there’s a lot of that stuff, right?) is exhausting. And just when you think you’ve got a good grip on it and can handle it, or maybe you’ve figured out how to hide it so you can forget about it, you find yourself tripping over the contents that have spilled out in an ugly display at your feet.
You hear laughter.
What in the world is going on? What are these painful things, these ugly memories doing all over the place? You loaded them up a long time ago and stashed the suitcase. Somewhere. In your closet or maybe in the basement where you store all the musty things from your past you hope to forget.
But there they are: the very details of your past glaring at you. They’re not forgotten at all but were merely hidden. And as you bend to pick them up and shove them inside, ONE MORE TIME, you realize this is like the millionth time you’ve done this and the simple act of touching these things again and hurrying to get them out of sight is absolutely draining.
Tears are landing in fat plops on that big failure of yours; the one where you think you let everyone down. And you feel sick to your stomach when you shove the memory of someone who unknowingly crushed your spirit back into the suitcase. What is it? A photograph? A note; the careless words used lightly, still weighing heavily on your heart? You’re not sure what it is, you can’t even see it because everything is a blur, but you can feel it in your hands. The pain is still very real. You give it a good crumple and thrust it back in the suitcase.
Your face is soaked and your heart is aching all over again as you shove all the garbage back where it belongs into the suitcase you plan to hide again. Only now, you can’t even close it.
Somehow, there’s more pain.
You fall to the floor in a heap and sob. You don’t know how to handle it anymore. There’s no one who sees all that you try to carry or all that you’re trying to hide. And now, it’s too full to close and too heavy to move.
Again, you hear some sort of sickening laughter.
Your head hurts and things are so blurry. The truth is even blurring. What was that you just thought a moment ago? No one sees you and all you’re trying to carry or hide?
That, my friend, is a lie. And you know who the father of lies is, don’t you? The enemy is the one who finds joy in your pain and laughs when you’re down. (Don’t be surprised if you notice a bunch of rocks hidden among the contents of your suitcase…each one is a lie meant to weigh you down even more.)
If the enemy can keep you slumped over and discouraged over your past, he’s going to do it. If he can stop you from letting go and moving on, well, he’s going to do that too.
The truth is GOD SEES YOU. He knows all about your suitcase and every article down to the most minute stitch of material, every crinkle on the papers and photographs, and every word on every note you’ve tried to ball up and forget. (Yes, He sees those rocks too. He crushes those lies into a fine powder and brushes them aside, right down the gutter.)
You know, God is the One who gave you the suitcase. Not so you’d carry everything around or stop and open it to relive the moments that have hurt you, remembering past conversations that cut you, or those so-called failures of yours.
Actually, those “failures” have drawn you closer to God so can you really call them that?
God will help you hang on to those important things. Those things that shine with truth. Those things that have made you stronger and have helped you become the person God wants you to be.
God didn’t give you the suitcase so you’d stash it somewhere, but so you could pack up all of that stuff and hand it over to Him. He’s the One who can carry it all. He’s the One who wants to. For you.
That’s how much He loves you. And that’s how much He wants to free you so you can move on to live the abundant life He has for you.
Hand it over, my friend. All of it. And let go.
“When he [the devil] lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies.” (John 8:44c NIV.)
“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” (John 10:10 NIV.)
“But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 3:13b-14 NIV.)