Traveling Light Through Life

I love “people watching”; especially at airports. To sit back and enjoy my observation of the diversity of cultures, skin and hair colors, facial shapes and features, physical statures, tattoos, and attire – from businessmen all dressed up in suits to the obvious tourists and families with little ones carrying their own backpacks – all on their way to some place for some reason, whether for a short time or a season.

One thing we all have in common is physical “baggage limits”. And, from my careful observation, it seems like few have mastered the art of “travelling light”. Bags are usually packed to the limit, often weighed beforehand to make sure one has succeeded in packing the maximum yet avoiding excess weight to prevent the last-minute hassle of down-sizing and having to leave something behind.

After years of flying, including three international moves, I admit that I was always guilty of packing to the limit. Nevertheless, I have learned three important lessons:

  1. We really do not need much on a journey.
  2. We usually use less than half of the things we take.
  3. The only way to travel light is to let go of everything we do not really need.

In a few weeks we will be traveling with a baby for the first time, and I’m sure it will complicate things a bit. However, I am also convinced that the above principles remain true.

Excess baggage is an extra burden for the traveler as well as for his/her traveling companions. It is cumbersome and takes space, and that applies to both our physical as well as spiritual baggage.

It got me thinking about the question: “If I had to check in at a “spiritual airport” today? How much “baggage” would I be carrying?

If I had to list every item I packed, what would I find?

Fear   □

Hurt   □

Anxiety   □

Regrets   □

Hate   □

Anger   □

Resentment   □

Disappointments   □

Addictions   □

Grudges   □

Emotional clutter   □

Misc. ………………………..

What would it look like for you?

I came to the conclusion that if we took an honest account of our “baggage”, we could quickly identify those items which are heaviest, holding us back and dragging us down. Those are things we should consider dumping.

Instead, we tend to buy bigger bags with numerous secret compartments where we tuck in even more things than we should. Likewise, we hide a lot of things which simply “weigh us down”.

Jesus said: “My yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” – Matthew 11:30

This scripture never made sense to me because He never promised that the journey is going to be easy. In fact most scripture indicate the opposite. And then I realized:

Traveling light” makes traveling easier; it doesn’t make traveling easy.

In the same way, “Traveling light” through life, makes life easier, but it doesn’t make life easy.

And the only way we can “travel light” through life is by leaving all our heavy “baggage” at the cross where the price was fully paid for all our “excess baggage” and where we can trade in hate for love, anger for forgiveness, anxiety for trust, regrets for redemption…

“Traveling light” is a way of life that doesn’t change because of the weather or circumstances. There might still be storms, turbulence, delays, crying babies, and bad landings, but at the end of the day, it simply frees our hands to enjoy the journey and be able to do more for each other.

We will never be truly free unless we let go. And we will never be able to fully embrace the life and relationships in front of us if we cannot let go of what is behind us. We may be able to fool people – for a while at least – by pretending that our “carry-on baggage” is not heavy, but we cannot fool the scale at the airport and we cannot fool God.

I challenge you to “check in” today, to take the time and do whatever is needed to be able to say: “I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 3

I hope that we will meet somewhere on this journey of learning the joy of “traveling light”. If not, I hope to see you at the final destination.

Image credit: Pixabay

Linking up to: Velvet Ashes

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11 Comments

    1. I just copied this same quote and then saw that Amy had already pasted it. 🙂 So i won’t repeat it here. But it’s so true – the journey is so much easier if we’re not dragging unnecessaries behind us. And “the only way to travel light is to let go of everything we don’t need.”
      Thanks Dorette. I loved your post!

  1. I love this Dorette! Every word, brilliant and true! How often do we find extra compartments for our baggage, only to realize at check-in time that we’re still over-weight!? And the airline scales do not lie! “Identify the things that are heaviest, and then dump those things.” A lot of wisdom there.

    I’m so glad you linked up; I loved this metaphor — and definitely relate to needing to lighten the loads a little — or a lot!

    1. Hi Elizabeth, thank you for stopping by 🙂 I loved your post too and I didn’t even get into all the things I’m struggling to dump in my own life – it seems so much easier to find a place to stuff it into. Thank you for sharing about your journey and being so authentic in your writing. I might also need to ask for some expert tips in physically travelling with children – I’m sure you have a lot of experience!

  2. Thank you for this post. I really liked your checklist of baggage we might be carrying around with us and being weighed down by. Having traveled within the US recently I’ve felt wronged that most airlines require you to pay extra for your baggage now (even carry-ons!) It really doesn’t seem like that should cost extra. But being forced to travel light actually does feel better!

    1. Hi Jodie, I didn’t know you now have to pay for carry-ons as well. They’re really forcing us to travel light. I actually wrote a pharagraph (and then decided to cut it out) about how we take so much time to plan our trips, make lists of what we plan to take along etc. but we almost never consider stopping and taking the time to plan what ’emotional and spiritual’ baggage we’re dragging along with us and the price we might have to pay for our ‘carry-ons’ in our relationships.

  3. Traveling light! I’ve learned to take fewer things as we’ve traveled more. And recently I switched to a smaller bag, because the bigger one was hurting my shoulders when I carried it all the time. I knew I would never fill it with less, so smaller was necessary.

    For the non-physical things we take, we have a saying we use now- “Pack your luggage; leave your baggage.”

    1. “Pack your luggage, leave your baggage.” That’s a good way to look at it! Taking notes all the way. I guess a lot of things we can only learn from experience too – like a bag that might look good in the shop and turn out not te be a good fit for us.

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