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Ahead of the pack

1 April 2020

Lighten the load in your suitcase — and life — by not carrying around excess baggage.

I hate packing! Whether it’s to move house, go on holidays or to a conference, packing 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 pack all sorts of weird and wonderful items while forgetting the essentials.

I find it quite a daunting prospect to stand in front of an empty suitcase and start to work out what needs to go in. While my lovely husband writes packing lists to help him in this process, I find these are only part of the answer for me. 
The list might say ‘5 x shirts’, but then I wrestle with which shirts I should include. 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 stuck trying to make a decision and choose instead to walk away and find something less traumatic to do, such as defrosting the freezer. To be honest, I would be perfectly okay with someone else making these choices for me.

I usually pack too much in ‘activities’, such as 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 be away from home and not have access to these things. So, I end up having a far heavier burden to carry in my suitcase and bags — and (let’s be honest), as most of these items don’t get touched, it’s a pointless exercise that just 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 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, 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. 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.

Belinda Davis serves as Salvation Army officer (minister) in regional Victoria.


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