Hello Reader. Baggage? Yep we all have some. I was planning for another flight the other day and grabbed my carry-on bag, thinking we people do the same thing in relationships. Huh, that might make a helpful blog post.
You’ve heard the phrase, “She’s/He’s got baggage.” Sometimes it’s a carry-on size, sometimes it’s a steamer trunk. But we all have either heard it, used it or felt it. So, dear Reader, what’s it going to take for you to stop carrying on yours?
Origins of baggage –
Baggage typically has its origins in firmly held beliefs, opportunities others missed to meet your needs, or in times when you were hurt and there wasn’t any resolution to the hurt.
- The Firmly Held Beliefs: these can be ones you were taught or ones your soul determined based on experiences
- The Unmet Needs: these can often come from times people close to us for one reason or another missed, neglected, reasoned away, or didn’t get the pain we felt at the time
- The Unresolved Hurt: these times are just that, experiences when someone hurt us and we never got to talk about it or share our side so it stays there coming back to visit when we come across similar experiences
Some thoughts on baggage –
The same day I reached for my carry-on to pack for my trip I heard a sermon on the history of the relationship between King Saul and King David. The story of these two men holds powerful insights for living out your true identity, leadership, and healthy relationships. In this instance I’m highlighting two sections when each of these men was called upon to step out.
- When Saul was first called upon as the God-apointed leader of the people, he responded with slight hesitation but then when he was called upon to start leading as that leader he was “nowhere to be found” (1 Samuel 10:22). Guess where he was hiding? In “the supplies”, or otherwise known as the baggage.
- Saul had some firmly held beliefs about himself that were revealed in the earlier passages, thoughts about his own insecurity, about his families positional authority, and about his own character.
- Saul also revealed he carried with him into his new position as God-apointed leader, the baggage of prior unmet needs. Being the youngest, he was often overlooked in spite of his height.
- Now consider David when he was first called upon. In 1 Samuel 16 and 17 we see the beginning of the relationship between Saul and David. Initially David comes to Saul’s aid bringing his gift of music to help the king. Then in the next chapter of the history, David is instructed to take some supplies to the front line of a heated battle where his brothers were fighting.
- In similar beginnings, David also held firm beliefs about himself and his family. However, unlike Saul, David believed he was strong because “the Lord was with him” and that his family cared for him.
- Also, unlike Saul, David took his unmet needs as the youngest child to the Lord when he cared for the sheep. David learned how God cares for him as David cared for his families’ flock of sheep as a caring shepherd. He learned that as he cares for those things that matter to both God and to him, he was protected and provided for. You could say that early on David experienced a consistent solid and faith-filled identity.
- So when David was called upon to deliver supplies, he instead left his supplies with the person in charge of the supplies and David took the position of a shepherd-warrior. The same position he had become confident in as his true self. David dropped his baggage because he knew who he was and what he was truly able to do.
How to stop carrying on baggage in every relationship –
Yes, I know you are not being called upon to defend your nation, nor are you being asked to reign as a God-appointed king. I also understand many of us did not grow up with a consistent and solid caring environment. However, you and I are not so different than Saul or David.
So how do you do things differently and let go of the baggage?
- Stop hiding?
- Stop the insecurity?
- Resolve the unmet needs?
- Heal the hurt?
Well, it starts with realizing what baggage you are carrying and then you will need to take some action steps, eventually including others.
- Can you label the baggage?
- Then you might need some time to journal out the experiences that brought about the belief, unmet need or hurt.
- Next it might be time to share this with a trusted and healthy close person. Hurt happened in relationship so healing is going to happen in relationship.
- As you do this, practice abiding. Follow David’s example of taking time to sit with God. The one who created you knows how the baggage came about and how to help you stop carrying it on and how to live out of your true self.
What’s the big deal? If everyone has baggage, why do I need to stop carrying mine?
The big deal is when we carry baggage we begin to also carry ourselves differently, and its often as a false self. The false self is the one that somewhere along the journey, you adopted and now show to the world. Sure you might feel safe wearing that false self, but it’s not you. And you is getting left out.
You were created for this world. Not that false self. You were created and designed to make a lasting difference through your purpose in life. Not that false self. You can call on God to help you drop the baggage and come back out from hiding behind the false self.
SO you see, when there is baggage it’s not just about you. It’s also about how you are designed to relate to others. When Saul carried on his baggage into his new role, he hurt lots of people and he lost out in big ways. When David laid down his baggage he brought hope, freedom and inspiration to an entire nation. A nation. All because one person laid down his baggage and stepped out in his true self.
Baggage holds us back and also holds us from our purpose, from bringing hope to others.
Ok, here’s your time for action.
- What’s your next step?
- Do you want to talk to the person who neglected or hurt you but not sure how to have that conversation?
- If you need some support or if you need someone to be the person who listen to your story, let me know. I’m available through Streams Counseling Center, a ministry of Austin Oaks Church, and if I’m not a fit personality wise, then we have several other skilled and caring counselors.
Connect with me and let me know how it goes!
Liz Lawrence, MA, LPC-S is counselor, coach and creative who is passionate about people. She directs a counseling center in Austin, Texas and co-leads the non-profit Renue.Me whose mission is to invest in the dreams of leaders in underprivileged communities around the world. Connect with her at www.lizlawrencelpc.com or www.renue.me
Photo from unsplash.com curated by Pexels.com free stock images; Graphic by Author on Canva, free graphic tools. Image of suitcases from TV Show How I Met Your Mother, taken by Alejandro Rodriguez and found on Google.com.