Wise counsel came from friends and family as I began to pack for my 16 day dream trip to Italy and France. “Don’t pack too much…you’ll have to drag it with you everywhere you go.” “Be sure to have a nice outfit and your essentials in your carry-on bag just in case your luggage is lost.” Well, if you know me at all…workout gear is essential but I also managed to squeeze in a nicer outfit in my carry-on as well…just in case. Turns out, it’s a good thing I listened to my well-meaning friends because, to my dismay, my luggage was actually lost!! Thankfully, it was returned to me only hours later. Imagine my joy as I made my way to the hotel from a bit of sight-seeing and dinner to find that my luggage arrived in Venice and now sat safely in my room in just the perfect spot. I didn’t even have to move it until we left for Florence 2 days later. Venice was just as I had seen it in the very pictures that hang on my walls at home. So serene and lovely….breathtaking really. Days later, I reorganized by bag in preparation for our new destination only to discover that my luggage was returned to me damaged! The wheels were broken on my 49.9999999 pound bag (I didn’t listen to the piece of advice about not overpacking…I mean a girl needs her outfits and most importantly her matching shoes!) Once again, I gave thanks as my strong 6 foot 2 friend John volunteered to help lug my ridiculously heavy luggage to the train station without functional wheels. Due to the late discovery there was no time to purchase a new bag at that time. It wasn’t door to train service either. We hiked up quite a hill and had to walk a good distance to get there. Why am I sharing all this? It’s a picture of what we often do in life. The heaviest weight we carry in life is unforgiveness (either of others) or perhaps even heavier, the weight of guilt and shame (not being able to let go and forgive ourselves for our own transgressions). You see, often we don’t acknowledge that those grudges against others or ourselves (and even God) are there at all. What many of us do instead is bury the hurts and disappointments in life with food or drink that never seem to fully satisfy and end up causing more regret and pain later. Just like the luggage, we can go days (if not years) not even realizing that our “wheels” (hearts) are broken. The truth is, if we don’t deal with them, we are doomed to carry the weight with us to our next destination and sadly the people that we are in relationship with end up carrying the heavy load as well, whether they want to or not! Do yourself a favor and unpack the unforgiveness in your heart. Holding on to the hurts of the past leaves little room for the joy and good plans that God desires for your future.

“Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 3:13-14)