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You are a rock with little to no emotions. At least, this is how some have interpreted your words, mannerisms, etc. It’s funny how when one looks at another person who seems to be a “rock,” there is wonderment by the one looking about “why can’t I be that way?” On occasion, some look at this so-called rock with a far different perspective: “Since you present yourself as a ‘rock’ on some sort, I don’t think you can relate with me and my own experiences.”

Interpretation. One struggles how to properly understand what he interprets in the words and actions (or the lack of each). Others will look at the very same thing and struggle not one bit. It is often the case that those who are quick to interpret negatively (regardless of the frequency of this actually being done) have internal negative interpretations of self. That with which one continually struggles is (or can be) debilitating. So pitiful and miserable does one feel that there seems to be no person who can be of any help.

We all have psychological baggage of some sort. Some have a good deal more than others. Whatever our baggage load is – why is it that we insist on carrying it around with us wherever we go? We recognize that it is too heavy and it serves no real productive purpose for those things that we are doing to today, so why the “carrying-case”? A counter reply to these two questions might be this: “On the contrary! Because of my experiences I am better able to handle events today than I was yesterday. I will keep my baggage, thank you!”

I suppose there needs to be a similar understanding in the words used. I use “baggage” as unnecessary emotional and spiritual failures (primarily) one carries. With this in mind, let me offer a couple of thoughts. First, the use of the word conveys a weight, sort of an albatross around the neck. You might be a very powerful person (emotionally and physically), but even with that, you are human and you will be worn down. You might last a little longer than someone else, but you will end up at the same location. Second, related to the first, the word “baggage” is that past experience that keeps one down in the spirits; it is a weight that is discouraging. It moves us to the point where we descend to the point of being immovable. In this context, this is not what Paul was talking about when he said Christians are to be immovable (1 Corinthians 15:58). It is true that my experiences of the past have certainly helped me to be the person I am today, even including my baggage. But I am tired of carrying some of that load. In fact, I am tired of carrying any of it! Aren’t you? I need to leave it in the baggage compartment. Better yet, I don’t even need to pack it.

The apostle Paul did not bring his baggage with him (Philippians 3:12-14).

Psychologically, we all address ourselves in ways that make us feel better. When I was younger, I played sports, lifted weights, engaged in activities that required some energy. Today, midway through my 6th decade, my sports playing is all but gone, my energy level is directed in more studious events, my lifting weights and aerobic exercising is more for health and less to compete. I address my psychology; I don’t want to be a mess.

The apostle Paul had, I am sure, more than just a piece of baggage he had to discard before he took the mission of Christ and made it his own. Surely, he was not different than you and me today. His baggage, perhaps, could have filled up a wagon cart pulled by oxen. Whether this was how he considered it or not, what he did consider is this: he could not serve the Lord in the way he wanted if he kept carrying things of the past that slowed him down.

Neither can we.

Paul’s solution needs to be ours. “Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself to have attained this. Instead I am single-minded: Forgetting the things that are behind and reaching out for the things that are ahead, with this goal in mind, I strive toward the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 3:13-14, NET).