I hate to pack for a trip because I can never decide what to bring. Less is more? Not me. I’m a more is more kinda’ gal. Never once has my suitcase ever looked like this.
It’s a “what if” problem.”
- The weather changes?
- AC goes out or blows on my neck and I didn’t bring a sweater.
- I bring dresses and they’re all wearing capris? Or I dress casual and they’re dressed to the 9’s.
- When I wake up I’m not in the mood to wear what I packed.
- I spill something on my blouse.
“Don’t leave home without it” is advice I take seriously because I remember the time I did. I don’t like surprises, so I bring it all.
When I don’t know what to expect, I expect (and pack) for the worst. Of course, the only reason I don’t know what to expect is because I don’t ask. All I have to do is ask.
Make a phone call, send out a text: “hey, what’s the dress for this event?” and I wouldn’t have to lug around this heavy baggage.
Our lives are like that. We cart around cumbersome weights when a few words from our Father would lighten our load.
If we would just ask.
We hesitate to ask because we expect a lecture, like the ones we dole out. But He doesn’t lecture; he’s a man of few, but compelling words.
- “Where are you?”
- “Come to me”
- “Your sins are forgiven”
- “I will give you rest”
- “I will go before you”
- “Do not fear”
- “I love you”
My packing problem is really a symptom of a bigger problem—the way I think about the future. The uncertainty of it brings out the glass-half-full in me and so I expect the worst.
If packing for a three-day event is this hard, how on earth am I going to pack for the future—for the rest of this earth journey that ends in heaven? Clearly I’d been carrying around some heavy baggage, so I prayed and asked for help.
And He spoke, the way He always does, a few simple words:
“Pack light,” the Father said, “pack light.”
1 Tim 6:7-8 says, “For we have brought nothing into this world, so we cannot take anything out of it either. And if we have food and covering, with these we shall be content.”
- Pack light
- Pare down
- Only a few things are needed
- Choose well
It’s a good reminder as I sit here writing and listening to the wind stirred up by Hurricane Florence; all the striving and climbing for success that I get caught up in seems silly and a heavy weight to carry.
But in my heart, what I really want to do is to flourish. There’s a difference. Success is about me ascending to the top of the heap. Author John Ortberg, in his book, “the Me I Want To Be” says that flourishing is a “So That” condition; God designed us to flourish “so that” we can be part of his redemptive plan for the world.
Ultimately, what’s in our suitcase depends on where we’re headed: the mountain of success or the hill of the Lord. Psalm 24 talks about this very thing.
“Who may ascend into the hill of the Lord?” It’s comparing the entire life of a Christian to ascending a mountain.
We make a trip to the mountains every fall, but actually climbing a mountain? Not easy. I tried once… it was actually just a big hill but it sure felt like a mountain.
When the kids were little we lived at the foothills of the Santa Cruz Mountains in CA. One day we (I) decided to take the kids (1-1/2 yr old, 3 and 5) on a picnic up the mountainside. It will be fun, I said.
My husband suggested we take a circuitous route. Nope, I argued, rolling my eyes. We’re going straight up. I am woman; see me climb.
What a disaster. Kids crying, my calves screaming; couldn’t find a level place to eat and the deviled eggs kept rolling off the paper plates. And that was just the foothills.It’s easy to underestimate a mountain. Click To Tweet
If you want to climb a mountain, you need more than hiking boots and good intentions. You need provisions, traveling companions, and a guide that knows the terrain. We’ll talk more about those things in upcoming posts.
A true mountain climber is judicial about what he packs; he packs light, but he packs the essentials, preparing for every contingency.In order to summit a mountain you have to prepare in the valley. Click To Tweet
ROCKY MT. HIGH
Have you had any mountaintop adventures, times when you felt on top of the world, at peace with God, experiencing the Best of Times?
Maybe you had a big goal and you finally reached it. It was hard, but you worked hard, planned and prepared and God blessed. You had success. Yay you! Yay God! If only you could stay there.
Mountaintop experiences are infrequent and short lived. It’s dangerous at the top; the winds blow, and you know what they say about pride: it’s a long way down if you fall.
MOUNTAINS OF DIFFICULTY
When you face mountains of difficulty, success isn’t just about reaching the goal; it’s about the climb and what you learn along the way. Once you come down it’s about what you do with what you learned.
Moses had his mountain; God summoned him and he made the climb. He spent 40 days and nights on the mountaintop with the Father, listening and journaling, but he didn’t get to stay there. He came back down with His face glowing with heavenly highlighter. That got people’s attention.
Then he instructed them.
We’re to do the same: conquer life’s mountains through powerful encounters with God, come down changed, and tell the world about the faithfulness of our Father.
MUSTARD SEED MOUNTAINS
There are other mountains—obstacles blocking our way, through circumstances, the actions of others or even our own mistakes or sins. In his mercy and through his dunamis power, God wants to decimate them.
If you had faith as a mustard seed…. Has God ever flat-out decimated any of your mountains?
Some of you are seasoned mountain climbers; you may even have powerful testimonies of how with the supernatural help of the Holy Spirit, you were able to cast a mountain or two into the sea. If so, I want to hear your story. Please share it in the comments below!
But this mountain we’re facing now? Our future? Not for sissies. Soon and very soon, we are going to see the Lord. Some of us sooner than others!
How would you pack (or unpack) if you knew you were about to meet Jesus?
PACK LIKE PILGRIMS
We’re not homeless vagabonds, or fugitives running from home. We’re pilgrims heading home and we should pack accordingly.
What do you think about this journey ahead of you? Are your thoughts heavy or light?
Let me ask you: what’s in your suitcase? Are you ready to hit the road at a moment’s notice? What expectations are you bringing to this journey?
That you’ll end up alone? In poverty? Sick? Feeling useless or irrelevant in society? I’ve had those thoughts!
We have to have the right thoughts about this –His thoughts.
GIRD UP YOUR LOINS
“Therefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and rest your hope fully upon the grace that is to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ…” 1 Pet 1:13 NKJV
Gird up meant to tuck up a flowing garment so you could to move unimpeded; metaphorically it meant, “be prepared.”
When you gird up the loins of your mind, you’re basically rolling up your sleeves to be ready for action; controlling your thoughts so they don’t control you. It’s that and more.
Hebrews understood the loins to be a place of regenerative, procreative power. Science is just now catching up with the Word of God; your thoughts literally and physically change your brain!
Girding your loins means wrapping up and tucking all those thoughts under the belt of truth SO THAT you can think the creative, regenerative thoughts of God. Because there’s going to come a point in the middle of the climb when you lose perspective.
It’s Jesus who awaits us at the end of this climb. That’s where our focus must be. Dump the heavy baggage, talk to the Father, change our expectations, and pack light. We’re going places.
*I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to climb this mountain unprepared! Next week we’re going to talk about what provisions to stash in our backpacks. Hope you’ll join me for a look at some “Sur-thrival” suggestions for the journey ahead.