Give Jesus Your Baggage - Encouragement for Today - December 14, 2017

Sheila Walsh

December 14, 2017
Give Jesus Your Baggage

“Then Jesus said, ‘Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest.’” Matthew 11:28 (NLT)

I can hardly believe that the darling little boy who used to run around the kitchen dragging his toy dinosaur is now 6 feet tall and preparing for medical school.

The years seem to have gone by so quickly. I think of all the hot Texas evenings we sat on our folding chairs for football practice, swatting mosquitoes the size of small cats. I think of endless school projects and the time he created a to-scale version of Solomon’s temple. I’ve learned so much through being a mom, both the things I got right and the things I messed up. But there’s one memory that taught me a huge lesson. It was all about baggage.

“Mom, I would like to have a family meeting,” my 10-year-old son announced after lunch one chilly Saturday.

“Sure!” I replied. “What’s up?”

Christian waited until my husband, Barry, and I were seated at the kitchen table before he dropped the following bombshell.

“Today, I am running away from home,” he said.

“Wow!” Barry said.

“Yes … wow. That’s huge news,” I added.

My first thought was, I am a terrible mother! This lovely child simply can’t take life under our roof anymore.

“Did I hurt your feelings, babe?” I asked. “Did Dad say something to make you feel bad?” Christian assured us we hadn’t done anything wrong — he simply wanted an adventure.

“Think about it, Mom,” he explained, “There’s you and Dad and the dog. Nothing big ever happens here. If I don’t go now, I’ll never have stories to tell.”

I attempted to keep a straight face as he informed us that he planned to head north and would return on weekends! With that, he stuffed as many things into his backpack as he could manage … his soccer ball, the dog’s blanket, a few books and a pint of vanilla ice cream. He kissed us both goodbye and headed out the backdoor to begin his new life in “the north.”

I ran upstairs and watched from the bedroom window to see where he was headed. He walked all the way around the lake behind our house, then sat down by the tree where he and his friends like to fish. I’d decided that when he moved on from there, I’d take our dog for a walk and try and stay far enough back so he wouldn’t see me. If he spotted me, I’d simply apologize and say I had no idea this was north! Instead of moving on, though, I realized he was coming home.

That night, once he’d said his prayers and was tucked in bed, I asked him if he’d enjoyed his adventure.

“I did, Mom,” he said. “But I think I’d have enjoyed it more if my bag wasn’t so heavy.”

I thought about that for a long time. I found myself wondering, How much baggage was I dragging through my days?

I don’t mean the dog’s blanket or a pint of ice cream, but the heavy stuff of life, the emotions, issues from the past that I didn’t know what to do with, so I’d pushed them down inside. That’s when this beautiful invitation from Jesus became so real to me.

“Then Jesus said, ‘Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest’” (Matthew 11:28).

Jesus doesn’t say, “Come all who are perfect” or “Come all who’ve made the best choices in life.” Instead, Jesus invites the tired and worn-out to come to Him ... and He promises us rest.

That’s an amazing exchange. We get to drop our baggage, and Christ gives us rest. I don’t know how much baggage you’re dragging with you today, but I want you to know you don’t have to carry it for one more minute. Jesus is waiting in the quiet, with arms open wide to receive you. Give Jesus your baggage!

Dear Lord, thank You for this beautiful invitation to give You the heavy baggage I’ve been carrying around. I choose now, by faith, to lay it down. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Psalm 34:4, “I prayed to the LORD, and he answered me. He freed me from all my fears.” (NLT)

Psalm 91:2, “This I declare about the LORD: He alone is my refuge, my place of safety; he is my God, and I trust him.” (NLT)

How do you turn your struggles into strengths? Beloved Bible teacher Sheila Walsh teaches readers how the daily spiritual practices of confession, meditation on God’s Word, and prayer result in fresh freedom in Christ in her latest release, In the Middle of the Mess: Strength for This Beautiful, Broken Life.

Enter to WIN a copy of In the Middle of the Mess by Sheila Walsh. In celebration of this book, Thomas Nelson will give away 3 copies! Enter to win by leaving a comment here. {We'll randomly select 3 winners and email notifications to each one by Monday, December 18, 2017.}

What’s one piece of baggage you can give to Jesus today?

© 2017 by Sheila Walsh. All rights reserved.

Proverbs 31 Ministries thanks Thomas Nelson Publishers for their sponsorship of today's devotion.

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Originally published Thursday, 14 December 2017.