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"How to identify useless baggage" by Laura Mary Phelps (CatholicMom.com) Image credit: Pixabay.com (2017), CC0/PD[/caption] The reason I write and speak of the everyday battle is because even after speaking and writing of it, I can still be tripped up by it. After prayer, early  yesterday morning -- which is truly the greatest time to pray, because the rest of the world has yet to wake up and scream at you -- and trust me, it will -- I was struck by a longing to lose the useless baggage I carry. The spiritual, emotional, literal bags of heaviness and distraction that hold me from keeping my eyes on my destination. And so I asked God to reveal to me all day long ... what is that one thing? That one thing in my everyday that I am carrying? That one thing that has become an obstacle on the narrow road to Jesus? That one thing that grabs my attention and pulls it away, and sets me on a road that leads to despair? And that one thing will change and that one thing will most likely be three or five or eighteen million things. But if you had to choose just one ... what would it be? Can you name it? Can you identify it? Can you call it out by name? Yesterday, for me ... it was comparison. That one thing trying to block my way to Jesus was comparison. More specifically, it was "what you are doing is not nearly as good as what others are doing."  Which bled into "you will never have what she has ... that experience will never be yours ... you will forever mourn this loss and carry this grief because her story will never, ever be yours." And once I was able to call this lie out by name ... there was a sigh of relief. Because it is relieving. To breathe out all the poison and take in fresh air ... the kind of air that fills the lungs and reminds the heart that, your story? Your story is 100% good. Your story is not meant to be compared to the woman to your right or left. Your story serves specific purpose here on earth and in the Kingdom of God and so you better own is fast, sister, and not only accept it, but start living it well, and not only living it well, but sharing it with the world. Or at least the person in front of you, who is most likely half dead, but hiding it well, and desperately needs to hear what you, and only you, have to say. Once I identified this baggage, that I unknowingly strapped to my back, waist, ankles and wrists, and brought it out of the closed, dark suitcase and into the open light, I heard another whisper reminding me of truth; of simply going about your work for an audience of one and doing it for no other reason but to please the Lord ... the Lord, who once you dig out all the garbage and throw away all of those heavy suitcases that are crushing your heart ... whispers, "I see your work, and it is good." This is a good message to hear, you know. In a world where we base our worth on our number of followers, and our talents on how loud the praise, and measure how lovable we are based on being noticed, it is essential that we hear this. That we quiet ourselves before the sun rises, and invite God into our presence and ask Him to reveal to us just one thing ... one useless bag ... that we can drop today, so that we can endure the road ahead. You see, all roads are dangerous. I believe this. Show me the path that does not involve heartache and suffering. Show me the life that doesn't encounter trouble. But there is one road that ends safely. It won't always feel safe...you will most certainly suffer on the way ... but like a child in the game of tag, you will find "home base." You will tag that tree trunk, and shout out, "Safe!" and you will be right where you are meant to be. Home. Safe. The road is long and hard enough without packing useless things. You would never pack a backpack to run a marathon, would you? You would never wear your heaviest clothes before stepping on a scale, would you? That bag you are carrying holds no purpose, other than weighing you down and making you feel heavier than you really are. We are not meant to live heavy lives. We are meant to travel light. To pack nothing for the journey. To be the light, we need to travel light. Name that one thing today. Uncover that one bag. Then leave it on the side of the road and continue running your race. Journey it, every bit of it, obstacles and all, with fresh air and with free hands. Run it, sister, and do not stop until you reach you that tree. Then reach out your empty hands, grab a hold of the trunk, and shout out, "Safe!"
Copyright 2019 Laura Mary Phelps