Set Yourself Free – Life’s Baggage: Put the Heavy Stuff Down


By Ashley Sears

We finally landed! A long flight, hungry bellies and restless kids anxious to get to our destination. At the airport waiting for our transportation, I was noticing our sea of luggage we had. I think there were at least 15 bags. It was a long trip and there were seven of us, so it made sense, but imagine the sight we were, traipsing through the airport, out of the baggage claim, down the escalator, dragging my kids along with their arms full, juggling it all, telling them “just a few more steps…you got this.” I’m not sure who I was trying to convince – them or me.

I know you are familiar with the situation. The balancing act of baggage. Now, I’m not talking about vacation travel, I’m referencing the stuff we deal with on a daily basis, hoping no one really notices. It’s the baggage we carry daily, convincing ourselves we need it, all the while our internal dialogue is saying, “Just a few more steps…you got this.” Who are you trying to convince?

It wasn’t until a few years ago that I acknowledged all the baggage I was carrying. I didn’t know what it meant to truly “put it down.” I thought that as long as I was managing it, I was fine…until I wasn’t. The pressure that was building from not dealing with my “junk” started showing up through physical ailments, anxiety attacks and lack of sleep. I was buying the lie that, “it wasn’t that bad,” so I marched on, bags in hand, suitcases stuffed full.

Some prefer designer bags like Gucci, Prada or Michael Kors. Not me. I clung tightly to Pain, Betrayal and Resentment for years. I stuffed my feelings and locked them up. I juggled my baggage and covered my wounds so no one would see them. I got really good at pretending.

For me, the baggage started piling up when I was a kid. A third grader isn’t prepared for the type of questions Child Protective Services asks. There were labels I had for each bag I carried: Divorce, Secrets, Assault and Addiction, just to name a few. With each new issue, I added another bag to my collection. I became proficient at throwing it on my back and moving on because there was no way I could let it all fall apart.

Here’s the thing about baggage though, it gets really heavy. I had things I had been carrying for years and I wasn’t doing anything to deal with the burden it was creating. Until one day, after a 25-year journey of carrying my hurt, I decided to drop it… ALL OF IT.

What I found through this journey is that everyone wears a mask and has baggage they carry. Everyone has their own junk they don’t want anyone to find out about. We keep the broken parts hidden away so no one sees the truth, or we learn to carry it so well we seem unaffected by the weight. The truth is, it does affect us. It shows up in our health, in the breakdown of our relationships, it can cause fear and anxiety, it can lead us to addictions or unhealthy choices. It can, just simply, make us tired from carrying it for so long.

For me, I finally got so tired of pretending I was someone I wasn’t. Why should I act like my life was perfect when it wasn’t? 2 Corinthians 1:4 tells us that God comforts us in our troubles so that we can comfort others. So, I decided I was going to let God use my pain and my past to help me comfort others and show them there is freedom in healing. God is writing our stories even through the messy baggage we carry.

My favorite story in the Bible is the story of Esther. Do you know what is so interesting about that story? It never mentions God – not even once. Yet, His fingerprints are everywhere. God was so perfectly orchestrating every detail of Esther’s story to set her up “for such a time as this.”

If God can take an abandoned, fatherless concubine woman, who was set to be killed along with all of her people and make her queen of an entire nation by simply trusting Him with her story, he can do it for you and me. God never intended for us to carry the weight of our own sin and baggage. That’s why He sent Jesus, so you didn’t have to carry it anymore. He is the author of your story and He is writing something beautiful for you. Why not make today the day you put down the baggage you hold so tightly? Trust that God has a plan and let Him carry it for you.


Ashley Sears is the founder of Stories Unveiled. Contact her at [email protected].

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