Christian Living

Spiritual Life

Leave Your Baggage Behind

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A new year always holds the promise of a fresh beginning. This year was no exception. The first two days of January went very smoothly. The year was off to a wonderful start. After working a short week last week because of the New Year’s holiday, I came into work this week excited to begin the first full work week of the new year.

Unfortunately, my optimism was short lived. To be quite honest, this first full week stunk! But in hindsight, God taught me a valuable lesson through the experiences of this week. Let me explain.

I logged onto my computer Monday morning only to find that it had been infected with a virus. There was no easy fix for it, which meant it would have to be in the shop for several days.

For someone who spends the entire day working on the computer, life comes to a screeching halt when it is not available. Everything that I need to do my job is saved on my laptop, so attempting to work without it for several days was frustrating to say the least.

With no computer to work on, I decided to tackle a project that I had been putting off for some time – cleaning my office. It turned out to be quite a monumental task.

It would be no big deal were I not such a pack rat. I tend to keep everything “just in case I ever need it.” My pack rat tendencies are never more apparent than when it comes time to clean and organize my work space. All the drawers in my desk and shelves in my bookcase were filled with stacks of paper that I have not touched in several years. I found press releases dating back several years, multiple copies of books I will never read, and old files full of information that I no longer need.

As I cleaned out each space, it felt good to throw things away. I completely filled our huge departmental trash can with the many piles of paper and old files from my office! I also gave my unwanted books to co-workers so they would be put to good use. I couldn’t believe I’d held onto so many unnecessary things for so long.

As the dust settled and I vacuumed my office floor, I had an amazing feeling. I felt very free. The drawers were clean and well organized. My files were in order. And my bookshelves were not only better organized, but they now have much more room for new books.

I felt like a huge burden had been lifted off of me. That’s when God gently reminded me that He offers me the same opportunity every day.

So often I carry around burdens that I do not need to bear. Whether it’s past hurts, past failures, regrets, or concerns and worries about the future, I continue to tote the same emotional baggage with me into each new day and each new year. God was telling me it was time to let those go and give them to Him.

Scripture instructs us, “Cast all your anxiety on Him because he cares for you” 1 Peter 5:7. It’s an offer that we can take the Lord up on with each new day. Regardless of what happened in our lives today, yesterday, last week, or last year, every morning is a new opportunity to start over.

God waits for us each day to let Him take over the things that we tend to worry and fret about. The past hurts and scars that we carry around can be laid at His altar. That emotional baggage only serves to weigh us down and make us less effective in our work for the Lord. When we surrender it to Him, He heals us and lifts those burdens. We can be like the psalmist in Psalm 118:5 who experienced this: “In my anguish I cried to the Lord, and he answered by setting me free.”

What things do you need to be set free from this year? Whether it is financial worries, deep wounds from someone that has hurt you, attitudes of bitterness and unforgiveness, or addictions that you have struggled with for many years, God wants us to experience the freedom He offers. The problems may not go away, but we can face them with peace as we release our fear and worry to God and trust Him to walk with us through whatever we face.

Christian musician Lincoln Brewster has a new song that expresses this idea well. A portion of the lyrics say: I’m casting my cares aside. I’m leaving my past behind. I’m setting my heart and mind on You, Jesus. And the chorus says: Today is the day You have made, I will rejoice and be glad in it … and I won’t worry about tomorrow. I’m trusting in what You say. Today is the day.

"This is the day that the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it." Psalm 118:24 (ESV)

That can be our motto in this new year. Make a commitment now to greet each day with a new sense of hope. Take a moment each morning to thank God for a new day, relinquish any concerns or worries that you have to Him, and ask what He would have you to do or learn today.

God will use each new day in our lives for our good and His glory regardless of any trials, foes, or unexpected circumstances (including nasty computer viruses) that may be lurking just around the corner. We can face each day with a renewed sense of the peace and freedom that comes from knowing God is in control.

May this year (even this day) be a new beginning for you and those you love!

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