Many of us are not naturally equipped to deal with relationships, so God provides us with a safety net. Our families and churches provide us opportunities to learn how to love God, live with others, and live with ourselves. God created you uniquely so you can't just copy someone else. You can't just do it the way Mom or Dad did it. If you try to live like other people, you will get into trouble. Boxer Marvin Haggler hit himself in the face to get psyched up for his matches. One of the young Golden Globe boxers saw Marvin and copied his technique. His problem was he hit himself square in the nose, broke it, and had to cancel the fight. Copying others can cause lots of problems. Copying our dysfunctional families can cause us to pass down emotional baggage.
I am extremely familiar with baggage, because I travel all the time. A lady was traveling on a train scheduled to take a leisurely, scenic route. To no avail, she tried to shove her extra baggage into the overhead bin. She then hauled the luggage to another compartment in the train. Sweating profusely, she complained to the conductor that the train was too hot and he needed to turn up the air conditioning. Then, still frustrated, she complained to him that she was hungry because no snacks had been provided. When she arrived at her seat, she realized that she didn't have a window seat and demanded a seat change. Just as she was sitting down, she saw that another passenger had moved her luggage and she exploded. As she was finally getting settled, the conductor announced that they had reached their destination. She sadly exclaimed, "Oh my, if I had known we would be here so soon, I wouldn't have spent all of my time fussing." Well, my friend, life's journey is short. Some of you are wasting all your time fussing and lugging around way too much baggage.
I remember traveling with my family. There is nothing quite like traveling with four women — unless it's getting a root canal. Women pack "just in case." Just in case we dress casual, just in case we dress up, or just in case we dress country.
My kids never worried about how much baggage they took, because they knew they weren't going to have to haul it around — I was. I really didn't mind because that's what fathers do. But I noticed as they got older and traveled by themselves, they carried a lot less baggage. Some people in your life may be carrying too much baggage because they know that they don't have to haul it around themselves. They aren't going to put down their emotional baggage, because you're carrying it for them. Do you really want to be the baggage claim for dysfunctional people? Enough about other people's baggage — back to ours.
When people ask me to come and speak, I think about the baggage involved with that particular trip. I have to pack a coat, tie, and if it's scenic there, I might even run. I'll then need my running shoes and athletic clothes. What about my shaving kit, toothbrush, and toothpaste? I have to take all of that stuff! I'm tired already just thinking about it and I don't want to go.
They then want to know what the problem is with my coming to speak. I just say I'm not really sure I want to go. Maybe, one time, if they said, "Well, Charles, we'll tell you what. If you just come, we'll buy you a new suit, supply all of your toiletries, your jogging equipment, and even put some snacks in your room. We'll pick you up at the airport and take you to your hotel. Or, better yet, we'll rent you a Lincoln."
I'd then say, "You'd do that for me? You'd supply all my needs?" Now that would be a great trip! Drink Diet Coke and wait on my Lincoln. When I arrive at the hotel, there's all of my stuff. It would be a great way to travel light.
I heard about a girl who went on a six-week overseas tour. She had six big suitcases with her. She made sure she had all that she might need. After her first week of travel, she had all of the suitcases shipped back home, except one. She was at the point where she didn't care how she looked or what people thought of her. She didn't care if she was fully prepared. "I just got tired of all of that baggage," she told her friends. Hopefully, you will reach a point in your life where you, too, are ready to get rid of the excessive baggage you've accumulated over the years.
When I travel, I love to play golf, but the clubs are heavy baggage. Sometimes I don't even play because I don't want to have to deal with them. I have a friend in North Carolina who invites me to play golf anytime I'm speaking in his area. What makes it so wonderful is that he keeps an extra set of clubs just for me. I don't have to worry about lugging mine. It's always a great trip, because my friend takes care of the baggage, and I just enjoy the course. I hope you've already discovered that life is a great trip when you let your friend, Jesus, take care of the baggage! He'll supply all your needs and let you travel lightly.