“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us”(Hebrews 12:1).
I’m a self-confessed-over-packer. Every time we go out of town for a few days it appears as if I’m going for a month. I know there are some of you who can relate.
As it turns out, most often I don’t need half the stuff I’m lugging along. As a matter of fact, dragging around said extras only serves to weigh me down and wear me out.
Unfortunately, a lot of us do the same in our marriages. Wherein I overpack intentionally for my trips thinking I might need this or that, I’ve unintentionally carried into my marriage, baggage from my family of origin. Note: we all do this, unless, of course, you came from a perfect family which there is no such thing. Go blame Adam and Eve.
This extra stuff causes us to react to things improperly, get offended easily, try to please others to the detriment of our spouse, and keep us on the defense. All because we carry with us years of unneeded and unwanted stuff.
Hebrews 12:1 says to strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. In essence that’s what the unwanted baggage in marriage does. It trips us up by causing friction, not the good kind but rather the sort that rubs raw and bitter, paralyzing us making us unable to move forward in any positive direction.
When our children were about to fly from the nest to embark on their own adventures we sat them down and gave them this advice.
We did our best raising you but we also acknowledge there are places where we messed up. Please take care to look at your life and who you are and discern what is good and healthy from what might be harmful. Ask God to help you with this. Then hold fast to all that is good and throw out the rest with the garbage so that you may run well the good race God has set before you.
And thankfully they are doing just that.
But what about those of us who didn’t get that advice? Those who have been married a long time and need to let go of stuff we don’t even know that we’re carrying? What do we do?
The first step is prayer.
- Ask God for His discernment and wisdom. Recognizing what’s causes our reactions isn’t always that easy.
- Ask God where this painful stuff, these triggers, come from. How far do they go back?
- Ask Him to shine a spotlight on you and your spouses’s harmful trappings so that you both can begin to turn from them and back toward each other.
- Then, ask Him to prompt you to clean out your closets often so as to no longer become a hoarder of hurts, piling one on top of the other with each disagreement.
- Lastly, have friends (a cloud of witnesses) you can lean on, who will hold you accountable to do the hard work.
Bringing a few extra things on a trip isn’t going to do much damage in the long run. But if we want a long run in our marriage journey we need to kick the extra baggage to the curb.
*If you struggle to see your extra baggage try reading the book, Boundaries by Dr. Henry Cloud and Dr. John Townsend.
*If you are going to be in the Tallahassee, Florida area on November 12, 2019, please join me at the She Found Joy Conference where I will deliver one of two keynotes on being victorious. You can get tickets at shefoundjoy.com.
Looking forward, pressing on and trusting God in every bump and twist in my road.