Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Always Pack the Clothes!

What is it about women and packing? I can remember as a little girl that when we would get ready for our summer trip to Yellowstone, mom would have everything ready. I do the same for my girls when we go on vacation. I get the laundry done, I start folding underwear in ways I never do. I manage to find every sock it's mate. And, I color coordinate like a real life Geranimal.
Then, I take their little outfits a place that well folded underwear between the shirt and shorts. There. Perfect. 4 outfits per day oughta do it! That's about how many I end up packing. I always over pack.

Women know how to pack.

Now, when it comes to packing, men don't do such a shabby job either. They can fit their entire wardrobe inside the toiletry bag. I've seen my husband fold something up so tight that a sheet of paper wouldn't make the cut to get in the bag. If he doesn't need it, it doesn't go in the bag.

For camping, however, there's a twist. Growing up in my family something always got on the packing list that was maybe used once. Here's a few I can remember...

Mountain Bike
Computer (before there were laptops)

That's just my dad's style. However, there were always the things we did use.

Sleeping bags
Ice Chests

We had SO much stuff when we'd hit the road for Yellowstone. You could count on Neil Diamond and John Denver to sing us there the entire way. We could really crank out the 8 tracks. (I'm showing my age).

Packing. Baggage. Some are big. Some are small. Some are cumbersome. Some are unbearable. Unless you live in the untamed places of the world, camping bags are not needed for every day life.

And so it is if you are a follower of Christ. You were not created to carry emotional baggage that leaves you weary, heavy, tired, angry, bitter, or lonely. Over the next few days we'll be unpacking some of those bags. I'll give you the 9 pieces right now, and we'll unpack the first one today.

1. Picture your biggest suitcase.
2. Shoe bag (every girl gots ta have her shoe bag)
3. Toiletries
4. Swim suit bag (ugh!)
5. Backpack
6. Handbag
7. Tent
8. A camp kitchen
9. Sleeping bag

Grab your biggest suitcase and start mentally filling it up with clothes. The more clothes the heavier it gets. Before you know it, when you start unpacking it, you can't decide what to wear. Nothing fits right. Nothing looks good. It either hangs too big, or it's too tight. Regardless you wear it. And wear it.

And wear it.

And wear it.

You, my friend, have just opened the suitcase of guilt.

I recently posted about this on my personal blog. I was making the point that too often I walk around in guilt. Not because of sin, although I've worn those clothes out to pieces, but because I thought there was some sort of expectation I was supposed to be living up to. And I'm not referring to being changed into the image of Christ.

No, I had set up a list of things that I was supposed to be living up to. And since I wasn't, I was layering myself in guilt.

I don't exercise enough ---tight jeans
I don't love on my kids enough----shirt of selfishness
I don't make time for my husband enough -----t-shirt instead of teddy (wink wink)
I don't pray enough----coat of busyness
I don't do this or that----I just pile layer after layer of guilt upon myself like worn out old clothes. And then I walked around wearing them!

That piece of luggage, the one full of guilt, the one full of guilt ridden clothes has got to be thrown out! And throw it out IN THE NAME OF JESUS!

Galatians 5:1 says:

It is for freedom that Christ has set us free.
You are free to live your life guilt free! Find out what pleases the Lord and live it! I can tell you right now what pleases Him...faith. Have faith in the one who has set you free, even from your own definitions and expectations. Of course, live with honor and responsibility, but do it for His glory and for His praise! Enjoy being who you are in Christ. Enjoy living your life guilt free.

Guilt free from expectations.
Guilt free from sin!
Guilt free!

He didn't die so that we could carry the heavy bag of guilt! Rest dear one. Rest in Him and let Him fill you with His Spirit to be everything you need and want to be!

He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak.

Isaiah 40:29


deleise said...

Oh Natalie, God really used you for me today! I had been searching verses on freedom and had literally just written Gal. 5:1on a notecard in several different versions. How fun is that???

Another one I wrote that goes along here is Psalm 119:45 "I walk about in freedom, for I have sought out your precepts." I LOVE that! HIS precepts, not OURS.

His yoke is EASY.

Natalie Witcher said...

Oh Guuuurrrl, HE IS SOOO GOOD!

lori said...

Let me tell you....those suitcases of GUILT tend to be those lovelies passed down from our MOTHERS....how nice of them....:)

I threw that baby out a LONG time ago...got me my OWN, new suitcase...guilt free..(yeah..right!:))

They COME with that paper all STUFFED inside...it's up to us with HIS help to unload it! You know otherwise it just gets all mixed up with what we REALLY have to put in there....

Girl, I hear the guilt...daily...that is WHY I do so many of the things I do...like, er...uh...exercise...I'm learning that it's not to be done for GUILT...but FOR LOVE!

I'm throwing that ratty ol' suitcase out to the curb...it IS trash day around here....no more...IN the STRONG name of Jesus...clinging to Galatians 5:1 with you....

Whew...I feel lighter already!
this is just what HE ordered!!

I just LOVE how HE led me to HEELS!
HE is just a FUNNY guy!!
Peace girl...peace!!

Natalie Witcher said...

Oh, blessings on you today LORI!

Sheryl said...

Wow, that is one suitcase I actually do not carry around. Guilt has not been an issue for me, but let me tell you I've got plenty of others. So I'm sure the rest of the baggage has my name all over it. A long time ago I learned that guilt was a tool of the devil. Now, conviction that is from the Holy Spirit.

Love the way you write and I'm looking forward to learning more??? I think!

Tammy said...

I have learned as I have gotten older that living for Jesus is about not having guilt. When I have guilt that is the work of the devil and we know he is always on the prowl. When I begin to feel that baggage pulling on me...I am on my knees.

thanks so much for a wonderful post.


Julie said...

I wonder why we can't seem to let ourselves off the hook, but Christ does?

I spent many years living a guilt-centered life. It just about sucked me dry.

Thank God He is renewing my mind to learn that guilt is never His way...

I heard a speaker say once that when Jesus has to show us our sin, He takes us by the hand and leads us to the cross where grace, mercy and love wash them all away. Even seeing our sin is covered in love. He shows us our sin, not really to convict us but to restore us. He doesn't want us to feel bad, he just wants us to let Him change us. Think about it. How many of us really want our children to feel bad about their sins. Don't we really just want restoration and change?

I am so grateful that Papa continues to renew my mind.

Thanks for sharing. How many days a week does the study go? I don't want to miss any. I'll just add you to my sidebar where I can check it every day.


Julie said...

PS. I just went back and reread the post....cause sometimes I miss things reading, which I did. I love the verse from Isiah 61. It's one of my alltime favorites. Papa led me to write about rest on my blog a couple of days ago to. Seems like I am seeing that word in several different places. I love when He does that.


Theresa said...

I like this one!! Even though I thought you were giving away purses. :) Not really

It is hard to give away the quilt. I like the unpacking it idea.

Can't wait for more. Teach me!!

Chelsey said...

I have lived with this one girl. Guilt aint no good. I had to learn to deal with this one or it would have eatin' me alive - it was literally making me sick. My best friend died just over 2 years ago shortly after giving birth to her ninth child. We had an issue that was unresolved between the two of us when Jesus took her home. Amist all the pain and heartache of loosing her, I was dealing with the guilt of our unresolved issue. But, I finally came to realize that that guilt was only weighing me down and so not what Jesus was calling me to carry. So, I gave it to Him. There are still times I want to pick it back up, but I remember how heavy that "suitcase" was to carry around for so long. I don't want it back and I know Jesus doesn't want me to take it back.

Thanks for the great thoughts Nat.