You Can't Run When You're Holding Suitcases

"How can you move when they're weighing you down? What can you do when you're tied to the ground, yeah? You carry your burdens, heavy like gravity. Just let them go now, there's freedom in release. You can't run when you're holding suitcases. It's a new day, throw away your mistakes. And open up your heart, lay down your guard. You don't have to be afraid. Just breathe, your load can be lifted. There's a better way when you know you're forgiven. Open up your heart, lay down your guard. You don't have to be afraid. Can you imagine what it's like to be free? Well, send those bags packing, they are not what you need. Abandon your troubles by the side of the street. Just let them go now, believe me." - Suitcases, Dara Maclean

"God, why do I feel distant from you?"

It was a question I had asked more than once. And, more than once, I had felt like God was telling me exactly why.

I needed to let go of things I'd been holding onto, things I'd been idolizing before God. But I didn't want to. I tried to let them go, praying that God would take them. But something in me was still holding onto these things, not wanting to let them go. I knew God was the only One who could eternally satisfy me, but my sinful nature whispered the lie to me that these things would give me something, some kind of happiness and fulfillment, that God couldn't.

Two days ago, I got back from a winter retreat I attended with my youth group. I went on the trip hoping I would grow in my faith and relationship with God, but skeptical about whether I really would or not. That required me opening up, being honest with myself, God, and others, allowing God to change my heart, and letting the messages and especially God's Word affect me so I could be convicted about problems in my life and things I needed to change. I was, in a way, stuck in a "rut" in my devotional life. I read my Bible every day, but many days it was just so I could "check it off" my mental list. I didn't feel like I was really growing in my faith, and I desperately wanted to.

The speaker's second message really got to me. (All of them did, but this one in particular was very convicting) A note I took during the session says this:

"There are areas of your life where sin hasn't fully been dealt with, pain that hasn't healed...It's because you haven't surrendered that area of your heart and mind and given it up to God."

Ouch. As the speaker talked and I thought about the areas, I knew what they were and that I needed to give them up to God in order for my spiritual life to grow and prosper and me to stop holding back. I was carrying around suitcases, letting them drag me down instead of running. I knew I needed to let them go. I needed to give the suitcases to God.

So I did. I gave my suitcases to God, asking Him to take control of them and take them before I want to grab them back.

I still struggle with wanting to reopen the suitcases, wanting to pick them up again because I think I need what's inside of them. The truth is, I don't need what's inside of them - bitterness, jealousy, anger, holding grudges, not forgiving others, focusing on outward beauty and material objects, obsessing over worrying about what other people think of me...I don't need any of it. It only drags me down. The only thing - the only person - I always have and always will ever need is Jesus Christ. Everything else fades out completely in comparison to God and His grace and how amazing He is, how much He loves us. He is indescribably holy and good and worthy to be praised, and my deepest desire is to glorify Him with my life, bring honor to His Name, and share His love with others.

Luke 9:23-25 says:

Then he said to the crowd, “If any of you wants to be my follower, you must turn from your selfish ways, take up your cross daily, and follow me. If you try to hang on to your life, you will lose it. But if you give up your life for my sake, you will save it. And what do you benefit if you gain the whole world but are yourself lost or destroyed?"

Are you carrying around suitcases? Are there areas in your life that you haven't completely given up to God? I'd strongly encourage you to give those things up to Him. When you drop your suitcases and run without restraint towards your Savior Jesus, the results will be amazingly rewarding. When I dropped my suitcases, I felt so free. I had so much peace in Jesus, and I truly desired to dig into His Word, spend time with Him, genuinely worship Him, and spread His love to the people God has placed in my life. The speaker talked about how if we've taken steps away from Jesus - even one hundred! - and we take one step back, we see that Jesus is right there, at that step. What are you waiting for? The things in your suitcases are not going to give you the eternal joy and satisfaction that your soul craves. Only JESUS CHRIST can. Give Him your suitcases.
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Eve Snowden  – (January 25, 2014 at 7:05 AM)  

Hi Talia! I have been really enjoying your blog. :) I have started a blog too, and I was wondering how you connected your photography blog to this blog? I really love your photos and would like to start something like that as well. Thanks for all your encouraging words! Have a great day. =)

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Girlz of God Copyright Talia DeAndrea 2010, 2011, 2012. "Genuine," "Girlz of God," and "Tania's Faith" book excerpts Copyright Talia DeAndrea 2010, 2011, 2012. All pictures Copyright Talia DeAndrea, unless otherwise noted. Please do not steal or copy anything on this blog without my permission. Thank you :-).

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