We recently took all of our kids on vacation with us and my daughter was so excited for the trip that she decided she would "help" me pack her things. She proudly set her train case on top of the suitcase I was packing and proclaimed, "I PACKED ALL THE STUFF I NEED!" I entertained her and opened the little case and found all of the necessities she thought she would need: 2 pairs of shoes, a headband, a first aid kit (who doesn't hate having a scratch that isn't even bleeding but could potentially bleed at some point in their life), a necklace and 2 stuffed animals. She was so proud of her foresight for the things she would need while we were gone, but internally I was laughing because none of these things were going to be needed.
How many of us have tried to "pack" for the journey of our lives? If you were to pack a suitcase with the things you thought you were going to need throughout your lifetime, what would you pack? I am assuming those items would be laughable to God because only He has the ability to see what lies ahead for your life. I look back and I think about all of the things that I thought would definitely set me up for a successful future only to find out they weren't necessary and only made the suitcase unnecessarily heavy. I look at the friendships I forced myself into having because they would get me one step closer to where I wanted to go (wherever "there" is), I look at the titles I "had" to have because those would carry me farther in life, I look at the striving and the fighting I did to open doors that were never meant for me to walk through because "I knew best", I look at the un forgiveness I harbored in my heart because I would NEVER let anyone walk on me that way again, I look at the rage I packed for the times I needed to show my dominance, I look at all of the tears I cried because of the frustration of not being where I thought I was supposed to be at that point in my journey. I was packing for a life I thought I was supposed to have and wanted to have but all of that packing was in vain. Only God knew what was ahead of me and I was trying to pack laughable items into the suitcase of my life.
I look back and I see that I SHOULD have packed trust, patience, faith, prayer, peace, joy, grace, forgiveness and obedience. I look at the friends I passed up because there was nothing in it for me. I look at all of the opportunities to selflessly love that I unpacked because of pride. I look at all of the moments I had to say I'm sorry I didn't take because it meant I had to admit to my faults. I look at the times I should have prayed instead of acting immediately that would have saved me from heartache and confusion.
The suitcase my daughter chose for the trip was tiny but what was actually needed was much, much bigger. May I humbly suggest you look at the size of the suitcase you are packing? I am going to assume it's far too small for the life God has in store for you. Jeremiah 29:11 "For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." When God has a plan for your life, it's not a small plan, it's actually huge and full of ups and downs but fruitful none the less. I never thought I would have kids, I never thought I would be an author, I never thought I would be in ministry, I never thought I would have a husband that adores me, I never thought I would have the friends that I have. I also never thought I would face some of the challenges, heartbreak and mountains that I have faced either, but God never abandoned me in those places and in those seasons. There is no way I would have been able to pack for the life I have lived so far and have yet to live. The suitcase I was packing was far too small for all God has in store for my life.
And may I also encourage you to stop packing crap in your suitcase that you aren't going to need. Stop going after things for mere selfish gain, stop engaging in relationships that are toxic because you think they are necessary for your future, stop saying 'yes' to things that will actually steal your time, stop fighting and striving and let God be God in your life. You don't want to look back on your life and regret all of the garbage you packed that took up valuable space and time. I spent a lot of time worrying that I wasn't "doing enough" that I wasn't moving "fast enough" that I wasn't "smart enough" that I didn't have what I needed to be what God created me to be. So when I would worry I would make really stupid decisions that ended up stealing my time and peace. I'm going to be honest, this is still something I have to actively choose daily, "God, today I choose to trust YOU. I choose to trust your plan for my life. I choose to trust the timing. I choose to trust your process." When this is my train of thought when I first wake up, my decisions are not made by panic or worry they are made from a place of peace and trust.
Matthew 6:25-34 says, “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? 26 Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? 27 Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?
28 “And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. 29 Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. 30 If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith? 31 So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. 33 But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. 34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own."
If you find yourself in a state of panic, don't worry God's got you. He hasn't forgotten about you. He sees you and He knows you. He has a plan for YOU. He loves YOU. Today, take an inventory of what you have packed. If it's garbage, unnecessary crap that will only hold you back and weigh you down, get rid of it. Enter each day with the mindset of surrender and trust and place the journey in God's hands, He always provides what you need when you need it just ask Him and He is faithful to provide.
-What decisions are you making out of fear, worry or being impatient?
- What have you packed that isn't necessary for your journey?
- Would you say that you trust God with your life? If not, why?
- What are some things that you have done in your lifetime that you would never had anticipated (good and bad)
- Do you believe that God has a plan for your life?