by guest blogger, Karen Armstrong
Happy Tuesday! I have a guest blogger today. Meet my friend, Karen. She and I are kindred spirits when it comes to wanting to see women let go of the heavy emotional baggage and sin baggage they carry. I know you will enjoy what Karen has to say.
“Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us.”Hebrews 12:1
Years ago, as a youth leader, I enacted an object lesson that related to Hebrews 12:1. I challenged two youths to a race…just a simple, quick sprint across the AWAN marked floor. Of course, cheering broke out for the winner. Then I began a new race. I produced tire chains from an adjacent room that I had taken from my husband’s truck. I carefully draped these about the shoulders of the winner of the first race. Then I challenged them to run again. Of course, the ruckus of the crowd began when the person shuffled forward, clanking and stumbling. Before needing emergency care, I removed the chains and discussed the verse and the object lesson. I prayed that this picture of burdens and “sin” bags that we drag around with us would make a good impression. I felt that the earlier a young person could identify his burdens, the better his race would be.
A couple of days ago, I thought of this lesson. I always carry a large purse…I am the emergency “go-to person.” I would be the person you would want to be in a disaster. I carry everything…food, Band-Aids, water, chapstick, first aid, makeup, flashlight, knife, and at one time, at least one diaper, wipes, and an extra plastic bag for emergencies. As you can expect, I have a bad shoulder. I exercise it just like the physical therapy experts demonstrate. But it still hurts……And as I said, the object lesson came to my mind.
My wisest move would be to unload some of the extras that I carry in my purse. My shoulder is damaged, but I know it would feel better.
My spiritual life is quite comparable to my stubborn carrying of that purse. What am I carrying around all day, keeping me from running a good race for the Lord? Possibly I feel betrayed and bitter, and then maybe I have this incredible shield of pride that I’ve thrown up to protect myself. Do I shoulder bags of anxiety and doubt about my position in the Lord? Do I shoulder the unknown bags of fear of my future? Do I have sins of the present or past that I remember in the darkest, quietest times of the night?
I know that you can easily understand what I’m describing….it’s those awful tire chains hanging around my neck and body…keeping me from being victorious. And they may be hanging around your neck, also. You may have a whole set of Samsonite luggage you’re toting along.
My challenge to you is to unload your “spiritual” purse hanging about your neck. Take some time today to be still and listen to what He’s asking you to let go. The book of First John talks about “confessing our sins” and the greatest phrase…”He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” He wants us to run like gazelles for Him; He wants us to exemplify the life of a born-again believer, simply following the Lord…no bags. Be like Christian in Pilgrim’s Progress, drop those bags at the cross…at the feet of our savior.
“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11
Karen Armstrong was born in Colorado, but is a transplant to South Carolina from a 40 year residency in Alaska. She and her husband have been blessed with three children and 13 grandchildren. A retired Christian teacher and principal, she enjoys quilting, reading, writing and studying God’s Word.