The time has come to pack up and take a step forward. I can only see one step in front of me. Does anyone remember Michael Jackson’s “Billie Jean” video? I’ve found myself thinking of it lately. With each step he took, the tile ahead would light up. That would be me and, I dare say, it should be all of us. One tile, one step, one move at a time, God is guiding us forward. As unnerving as the thought may be, there’s a lot less to worry about when you’re not planning five steps, five days, five years ahead. Think about it; you have two feet and whether you walk, run or crawl, you only move one at a time. Even if the steps are hurried, you can’t gain any more ground than one step will allow…even if you hop. Still, one step. For those that roll, you can only move as far as one stride will take you. Reminding myself of that, especially on the tough days, makes the journey less taxing. Learning to deal with the things of the day, instead of planning for tomorrow’s troubles.
Don’t worry about tomorrow. It will take care of itself. You have enough to worry about today. Matthew 6:34 (Contemporary English Version)
So do not worry about tomorrow; it will have enough worries of its own. There is no need to add to the troubles each day brings. Matthew 6:34 (The Books of the Bible Version)
Give your entire attention to what God is doing right now, and don’t get worked up about what may or may not happen tomorrow. God will help you deal with whatever hard things come up when the time comes. Matthew 6:34 (The Message Version)
Now, my plan had a much wider timeline and different destination but God (chuckling, I’m sure) sped that up by a number of weeks. The change sent me into hyperdrive and though I didn’t quite feel prepared, I realized, that God had been preparing me all along. He’d been giving me tasks that felt tedious, uninspiring and sometimes odd, so that when this moment came it would be easier.
“I know what I am doing. I have it all planned out–plans to take care of you, not abandon you, plans to give you the future you hope for. Jeremiah 29:11 (MSG)
That’s not to say this would be easy at all, in fact, it’s been quite the gravel filled road. Imagine riding a bike on a long gravel drive instead of a paved road. It’s not just jostling but you may slip, fall and have a hard time keeping balance. Maybe that’s what it’s been like for you…it certainly has for me. There has been tears, hurt, heartache and words that can’t be unsaid. I’ve worked to be mindful of my tongue, taking my post, Sticks & Stones, into consideration. I know the power of words and I wish everyone would guard their tongues as fiercely as they guard their hearts or their possessions. I have a hard time neutralizing the sting of words even if I know they hold no truth. I’d love for it to be as easy as cramming those words and hurt in a box, taping it off, and shoving into some dark storage space to deteriorate into the nothing. Perhaps I can. Doesn’t God ask us to lay our burdens before Him? I suppose we’d have to identify them as burdens first, before we can hand them over.
Burden /ˈbərdn/ (noun) a load, especially a heavy one. (2) a duty or misfortune that causes hardship, anxiety or grief; a nuisance (3) a ship’s carrying capacity. (4)The main theme of gist or speech. (5) Cause someone hardship or distress.
In reading these dictionary explanations, I’ve come to a conclusion; the way these words sit heavily and weighty in my soul are, in fact, burdens to me. I like definition number three the best. It sums it up well. Our “carrying capacity” doesn’t have to be and should not be a hefty one. We aren’t made to take on such heavy lifting. That’s God’s job…let him do it. That said, I am going to pack up my hurt, sting, and pain onto a truck and drive them to Jesus. It’s my hope that the bottom of the box doesn’t fall out but, I hope even more, that I can leave the box taped and shut, never to be seen again. It may sound unrealistic, perhaps impossible, but so do lots of things we try to convince ourselves of. The world is built on impossibilities. All the advances of technology and the inventions before the world became so “high-tech” came from someone thinking, dreaming and attempting the “impossible.” In lieu of packing up their dreams in a box and storing it away for someone else to find, they kept at it, standing on the rock of faith (whatever that looked like to them) until it came to fruition.
Stand with me on this huge rock called faith. Take a Jesus-ordered step forward into the plans he’s set before you. Believe me, they exist, whether you know what they are or are totally clueless (like me:). Shove your pain, hurt, sting, weight, hardship, impossibility, any negative thoughts or emotions into a box—either, literally or figuratively—and drive it to Christ. Put it at his feet and leave it there. You weren’t meant to carry it anyway. It’s time to start Packing Up!
The Persistent Packer