Someone once told me, “Never pack more than you can carry.” OK, that was one of my Army commanders who wasn’t understanding why I couldn’t carry both of my duffel bags at the same time when the combined weight was about the same as mine. Anyway, I got past that moment, but the advice has always stuck with me. Mostly, because I was so annoyed that he would suggest I pack fewer books to go to war.
That advice now comes back to me when I am packing bags to go on vacation. I try to not pack more than what we will need for the trip. Which is hard for me, I should have been a Boy Scout, I always want to be prepared for whatever might happen. That includes packing clothes for two days more than what we are planning because you just never know. If I could pack the kitchen sink, I might, you just never know what might be needed.
And while I pack, I sing-song what this commander said to me, “Never pack more than you can carry!” It is mean, but so funny, too.
However, recently I haven’t been able to prepare for anything, life has come at me very fast. In the last three months, my family and I have nearly been dealt the hand of Job. I had outpatient surgery on my ear for a rare condition called cholesteatoma. A COVID-19 diagnosis and quarantine postponed my surgery date. Right after my surgery, my mom suffered a massive shoulder injury resulting in a shoulder replacement.
Also, there was a three-day hospitalization of my husband between Christmas and New Year’s Day—during a blizzard—which made me realize how vulnerable the kids and I could be alone on the farm. Even though I can drive the tractor and take care of most equipment, I just felt very helpless without my husband there. And finally, the diagnosis that my husband had a massive (90%+) blockage, that thankfully was fixed with a stent. The medical community calls the location of this blockage “the widow maker.” People with this type of blockage have gone to sleep and don’t wake up. He had been dealing with symptoms for about six weeks.
All of this really put me at the end of my rope, I’m so tired and scared about what could possibly happen next.
I’m thankful and blessed that everyone has received the care they needed and seems to be getting better. Also, I’m very grateful our kids have not had any medical issues through all of this.
Last night while taking a bath to relax, I was praying for all of these events to stop, and I heard that commander saying once again, “Never pack more than you can carry.”
It was strange that it would come back to me at that time, but I realized I have been carrying more than I should be. I want to carry it all and fix everything, but that isn’t my job. My job is to lay it all at Jesus’s feet—only He can carry it all. I have packed my brain and heart full of worry, forgetting that the answer and help were right there the whole time.
I would like to tell you I was immediately relieved of all stress and worry, but no, I’m still tired and stressed. I mean, who isn’t right now? Life during this pandemic has been hard without extra stress.
I am struggling to also let go of the extra baggage I’m carrying because I worry . . .
Will God pick up the baggage I’m not carrying? What if He doesn’t know what should be done, or how I want life to go? What if He doesn’t carry it as well as I do? (I know that one is irrational).
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Which is insanity too, I mean this is God we are talking about. Creator of Heaven and earth, and our Savior. He can do it all, but do I fully trust Him to carry my burdens?
My plan is to work carefully on my thoughts one at a time, unpacking the thoughts that need to be dropped at Jesus’s feet and keep carrying the ones I need to. Like a spring cleaning for my heart and soul. I know there will be more pain and suffering in the future, that is just the way life goes, but hopefully, it will slow down a little bit. Until life slows down, I’m learning to unpack what I don’t need to carry—one thought at a time.