Lessons in the bags we carry

luggage

 

I’ve been meaning to post something for the past three weeks but I could not find anything deep enough. I couldn’t think of the any words big enough…because that’s how I sometimes validate my gift; big words and deep phrases. When really all I needed to do was ask God what He wanted me to learn at this point in my life. So my first lesson is to stop basing whatever gift God has given me on how good I can make it look. It’s not about looks. It’s not about me.

Second lesson.

Friday morning, I left my place for work a little later than usual. Because of this not so wise decision, I had to park quite far from my work building. So I hopped out of my car and tried to be positive about this journey I was about to embark. “Yes it’s cold but that’s why you bought coffee right? So smile girl, you made it through the week.”

With my laptop bag hanging over my left shoulder, handbag and phone in one hand and coffee in the other, I started my long walk to the place that pays me every month. (Please believe that I am more enthusiastic about my workplace than I sound). It couldn’t have been a more normal process. I was walking. Minding my own business, trying to motivate myself for the day that was about to unfold.

While in the moment, I noticed a young lady walking in front of me. She was about a short jog away from. Like me, she had a couple of bags she was carrying. But she looked like she was struggling. Actually I think she was. She had three big bags, two on one shoulder, and one on the other. We’ll call her bag lady. Seeing how much of a hard time bag lady was having, I decided to offer some assistance.

“Do you need help?”

I think my voice was a little shaky and it didn’t carry through enough for her to hear me. And just as I was about to ask again, I took a moment. I looked at myself and started questioning how on earth I was going to help her. I mean my hands were just as full!

So I let her go.

That moment had me thinking. How many times do we offer to help when we ourselves could use a hand or two? And why? Why do we do that? I’ve struggled with this for a while and for the past few months, the Holy Spirit has been drilling into my head the two most important commandments.

Matthew 22:37-39

Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’[c] 38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbour as yourself.’

I want to talk about the second one. Love your neighbour as yourself. In other words, the measure of love you extend to your neighbour should be equal to the one you give to yourself. My problem with that scripture used to be that it implies loving yourself first. I struggled with that. The biggest lie the devil dealt me with was that I was not as important as I thought I was therefore deeming loving myself as useless and unfortunately, continuous rejection coupled with me just being a weird person made me believe that lie. And for the longest of times, I thought loving people and helping and showing compassion would lead me to eventually love myself. I don’t know where I got that logic you guys but man was it wrong…

Sadly I realized it was wrong when I had nothing in me to give to anyone. I was proper empty. The only cup that was overflowing was the one responsible for my hair growth but even that started to not so much overflow as it did just flow (but God restored that can I get a HALLELUJAH!!).

The day I gladly lent a helping hand and expected a thank you at the end was the day I knew I needed to check myself. And I’m glad I followed that hunch because I was dry. I was dry while in the presence of God; not because God had stopped being God but because I had stopped being a vessel. I had gone through so much disappointment and so much heartache that the love of God was more head knowledge than it was life. Once God opened up my eyes to that, we began the process of healing.

We have a good, reliable, self sufficient source. His love never runs out, like ever. It is for us to ask Him to fill us up so that we may overflow with Him. We need to stop allowing ourselves to walk around lifeless. There is Life. We need to stop making other people thieves by giving them things we don’t really have. Love yourself enough to see when stretching yourself is going to do more harm than good. Love yourself enough to love your neighbour.

I really hope bag lady made it to her destination in good shape. My prayer now is God may fill me up so I can be ready to help when I meet another bag lady.

 

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