“Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us…”
Hebrews 12:1 NKJV
As firstborn daughter of a pastor, I developed an overgrown sense of responsibility. My little sister, on the other hand, completely balanced out the family. She embodied carefree spontaneity. I often wished I could enjoy her sense of freedom. Ha!
There is a picture of the two of us (aged 4 and 2) in the family photo album, I was holding onto her for dear life. She didn’t want to be in the picture and I was trying my level best to make her conform. It’s an hilarious picture! But the distress on my face and the joy on hers, perfectly captured our personalities as we grew up.
There were times when we walked to school and my sister would just be done with carrying her bookbag. She would drop it in the road and just skip on home. I always ended up carrying her bookbag, worried for the consequences she would have to face. Mum took no prisoners!
Where I always tried to stick as close to the rules as humanly possible, she always tried to bend them as far. I worried for her. Truth be told, I worried for everyone who would allow me to worry for them. I was worried when I didn’t have anything to worry about. And because I was such an incredible worrier, people were happy to share their worries. Afterwards, they would feel better. Free from their care. And I would still be doing their worrying for them. I was not good at letting things go.
Because of my nature to hold onto stuff, I sought comfort in things that couldn’t really offer it. I tried working hard at school to get approval and validation. I would do anything to please people, even if it cost a little bit of myself. I couldn’t risk losing their affirmation. In the end, I couldn’t tell you what I loved or enjoyed, but I could tell you what everyone else needed me to love and like. I was only worthy of existence, if I was loved and liked. But that was no existence at all.
Letting go of people’s expectations, and my own impossible standards was a very difficult process. It still is. But I know that it is impossible to carry my own and everyone else’s baggage, and still run my race effectively. I need to place it before the Lord and allow him to take my cares. And not just for a minute, I need to completely abandon my worries, fears and insecurities. And it is NOT comfortable. But the reward is freedom.
Saul’s calling as the first king of Israel, has always fascinated me. (You can read it in 1 Samuel 9 and 10, it is such a great story!) Here is Saul, and his father’s servant, looking for some donkeys, when they bump into the prophet Samuel. Imagine looking for donkeys one minute, and the next you are put in charge of a nation. Not just any nation; God’s people!
Samuel invites Saul for dinner. Saul goes from zero to guess of honour and future king in less than a week. As Samuel sends him back to his father, he prophesy about key events that would take place on his journey home. Just as the prophet said, all these things were fulfilled that very day. How validating. How affirming. You would think that Saul must be so confident by the time he gets back home. He must have been so excited to tell his family about what had happened with the prophet Samuel?
Not Saul. When his uncle asked him about where he had been, he mentioned that the donkeys were found, but said nothing of his prophetic encounter (1 Samuel 10:16). And when Samuel arrived seven days later to anoint him as king, where was he? Hiding behind the baggage! (1 Samuel 10:22). A strong handsome man, affirmed and validated by a great prophet, hiding behind baggage.
Was it perhaps this very issue of the heart, that unravelled Saul when the crowd started to compare his performance to that of David? (1 Samuel 18:7). Did he still need the affirmation and validation from man, even after he received it from heaven?
We were not called to spend our lives chasing donkeys; we are called to rule and reign with Christ (Romans 5:17). If we want to raise our perspective from donkey-focus to a kingdom-focus, we will have to come out from behind our baggage. We have to stop looking for affirmation and validation from men. We have to embrace who heaven says we are.
Earlier this morning, I was listening to Doc Scott Infante share on a Facebook live broadcast, about how he tries to carry all the shopping into the house, in one go. He doesn’t like to make more than one trip from the car to the house. He carries so many bags that he can’t fit through the door. Then he blames the door! Ha!
This revelation hit me straight in the heart. There is a door before me. It is the door that heaven has opened, and no man can shut it. However, I have to choose to walk through it, if I want to fulfil the call and destiny on my life. But I can’t do that if I’m carrying so much baggage that I can’t fit through the door! It’s time to let go.
It’s time to stop looking at man to give me the go ahead. It’s time to embrace the Father’s affirmation and validation. I can’t walk through the door if I carry other people’s expectations and approval. I can’t walk through the door carrying shame and condemnation from the past. I can’t walk through the door carrying everything everyone else thinks I should carry. It’s time to let go.
A beautiful thing happens when we let go of our baggage. When we throw off everything we think we “should be,” we discover who we truly are; a masterpiece that God designed before he created the foundations of the Earth. A masterpiece that will accomplish everything that God had prepared for them to do.
May we have the courage to step out from behind the baggage. May we have the boldness to embrace the call of God on our lives and step through the open door, without holding on to the approval and expectations of others. Kingdom-focussed. Knowing that when we let go, we will discover who we were truly meant to be.
It’s time to let go!
Today, I hear the Father calling: “Brave One! You have been created for the kingdom, for such a time as this. The only requirement is that you listen to and follow me. You cannot bring yesterday’s fears, worries, shame or condemnation. You cannot bring the expectations of others. We have far to travel, so pack light. I am doing a new thing. Expect the unexpected. Trust me. I will not leave your side or fail you in any way. The door is open. Let go and let’s go!” ❤