How to Travel Light: Unpacking Unnecessary Emotional Baggage

Guess I've Got That Old Traveling Bone

Max Lucado speaks about life’s baggage in his book, Traveling Light:  Releasing the Burdens We Were Never Intended to Bear: The Promise of Psalm 23:

The suitcase of guilt. A sack of discontent. You drape a duffel bag of weariness on one shoulder and a hanging bag of grief on the other. Add on a backpack of doubt, an overnight bag of loneliness, and a trunk of fear. Pretty soon you’re pulling more stuff than a skycap. No wonder you’re so tired at the end of the day.”

Traveling quite a bit throughout my life has taught me a lot about what I need and don’t need through packing my bags.  What do I really need to bring with me?  Can I live without this or that?   I usually find in the piles of perfect packing that I only use a small amount of what I take with me!  I ALWAYS regret the consequences of heavy baggage: higher fees, sore shoulders and back from lugging and lifting, more clothes to hang up and not enough hangers, more “things” to unpack and repack resulting in time wasted and the frustration from not knowing what is enough.

Is life like that? Do we carry around heavy unneeded baggage with us where ever we go?  We will feel this just like we feel the soreness in our shoulders.

Like Max Lucado says….discontent, weariness, grief, doubt, loneliness and fear are the consequences of having heavy laden baggage.  Lightening up would really bring a lot of freedom, wouldn’t it?  What is the baggage that weights you down?  How do these “bags” affect your productivity and creativity, as well as your daily life?

In traveling, I realize I may need a skycap who can carry this weight OR I can get rid of some things and pack lighter next time.  Just what are these burdens that I keep with me? What makes me hold on so tightly? How do I get rid of things that are burdening me?  How can I travel light?

To unpack I need some very important strategies:

Spiritual Practice of Quiet and Reflection

  •  I need to establish quiet and reflective routines that allow for worship and centering.  By prayer and meditation FIRST, I can listen to what God is saying to me about what I really need.  I can more easily see the TRUTH about myself and LET GO of the burdens that hinder my personal growth and effectiveness in life.

Reframing and Listening to Truth

  • I can recognize Negative Thought Patterns that crowd my luggage space and replace them with True and Affirming Thoughts that allow for freedom and energy in my life.

Visual Anchors

  • I can visualize an anchor (a picture of something or a statement) that reminds me to get back on track and get rid of pounds of unneeded stuff in my life.  I use the visual anchor of Lucado’s heavy laden suitcase being swept away by a very strong and joyful skycap.  He puts it on a plane and it flys away, never to be seen again!  This skycap then hands me the perfect lightweight bag.  I look inside and find exactly what I need for that very moment!  I hear the sky cap say: “Thank-you Ma’am, for Letting Go of Those Bags!  Have a great day!”  This sky cap can actually be God taking hold of my burdens for me!

During the upcoming season, more than likely you will be packing your bags to go somewhere.

When you do, take the time to reflect on these questions: 

  • What is burdening me right now?
  • What do I need to let go of?
  • What do I really need right now?
  • Allow yourself to slow down enough to get Quiet and Reflect, Reframe and Listen to the Truth, and Visualize your own personal Skycap whisking your burdens away and giving back to you exactly what you need.

~Author: Dr. Susan Miller | Miller Counseling Services, PC | (used in a shorter from on CCA newsletter – December 2010)

Board Certified Professional Christian Counselor

Certified Kaizen-Muse™ Creativity Coach

Certified Creativity Coach


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