Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Luggage (08/15/05)
TITLE: PACK LIGHT
By Robin McGowan
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When I think of the word luggage, I think of my life. I think of all the good and bad experiences and lessons that I have learned along the way. On most days, the glass is half-full when I think back on my life, and I enjoy those days. On those grayer days, the glass is half-empty, without even a hint that there was ever water in it, and I do not enjoy those days. I am also learning that what I think about in my life, I bring about by my attitudes and the choices that I make. Words and thoughts are so powerful; whether written or spoken they produce energy and life. And it is not so much about what has happened to me in my life that is of great importance; it has more to do with how I react and think about what has happened to me that is of greater importance. For my thoughts now choose my attitude, along with the next steps that I will take.
Consequently, I am now forty-five years old and I am not able to sustain long periods of morbid reflection, or a depressive mood for too long without hitting bottom and crying out to God for help. In my younger years, I could endure such emotions for longer periods of time; not so the older I get. So I try very hard not to dwell on what I “should of”, “would of”, or “could of” changed in my life. I am often reminded by friends not to play the mental game of “what if.” I also know that God has given each one of us a free will and that WE are responsible for our thoughts and actions. So, when I awake each day, I ask God to help me pack light for the day. I ask Him to help me divorce thoughts that would hinder my progress for the day. I also ask Him to please grant me peace of mind. I am often reminded of a verse from Philippians: “Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.” Philippians 4:8 NIV.
Futhermore, I practice gratitude. I have found that when I practice gratitude I am more apt not to dwell on what I don’t have in my life. As I get back to basics, I then realign my spirit with God’s. I thank Him for my health, for my ability to see, to walk, and to experience the entire realm of His privileges that He has in store for those that love Him. If I am really struggling in that moment, I might pray and then think of something peaceful like a child who is full of wonder and awe about life. Or I may think of a beautiful serene image, such as white fallen snow surrounded by lovely homes. In other words, I try to keep it simple, as I dwell on what is good, lovely and pure.
Meanwhile, as I go through my day I try to recall a verse in Deuteronomy that is so powerful and life changing and thus, reminds me to choose my thoughts carefully. The verse reads: “This day I call heaven and earth as witnesses against you that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life, so that you and your children may live.” Deuteronomy 30: 18-20 NIV. What I continually hear after I read that verse is now choose life, right now. And if you slip my child, choose life again, now! Choose me, choose blessings, choose life. So when I travel each day with my luggage, I ask God to come along side me. I ask Him for the strength to choose life in each moment, and for the ability to think right thoughts. Most of all, I ask God to help me pack light each day, and when I have packed too much into that luggage, I ask Him to carry the extra load. And God is so faithful as He takes my extra load and packs it into His own suitcase. Then He gives me a smaller piece of luggage, as He peacefully walks beside me.
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