Envision going through an airport with bags in your arms, bags on your back, bags on wheels, and pushing a stroller all at the same time. You’re working up a sweat, frustration is setting in, and the destination that brings the struggle to an end looks so far away.
Now translate this to your everyday life. Daddy was not the father he should have been – BAGGAGE. Mom struggled to keep us all on track – BAGGAGE. I was never allowed to express how I truly felt -BAGGAGE. In my house, we just acted like everything was okay but knew it wasn’t – BAGGAGE. Just yesterday, I was offended by my spouse’s comment – BAGGAGE. Today, I felt inferior to those around me – BAGGAGE.
You have walked around with baggage long enough. Two days or twenty years, it’s too long to carry an unnecessary load. Use the four keys given here to create peace round your past.
Key 1 – Control your thoughts.
Your thought life is a powerful, powerful instrument. It is a tool that paints your interpretation of any given life event. Your thought life has the ability to create its own reality. For example, a lady notices someone staring at her, and her thought process says, “They must be staring because I look so nice today.”
As funny as that sounds, it is a picture she is able to paint on the canvas of her mind because she has control over her thought life. If her thought life leaned towards the negative or was filled with insecurity, her thoughts could have sounded more like this. “Is there something wrong with my clothes? They must not like me. They must be talking about me. I’m going over there to say something if they don’t stop staring.” Does this help you see how your thoughts paint a picture on the canvas of your heart?
Here is the basic process:
- Your thoughts produce a mindset.
- Your mindset produces actions.
- Your actions produce your reality.
- Your reality results in the quality of life you experience.
How many people have you seen in the news that have great money and stature, yet because of their mindset they live a miserable life, and in some cases cause themselves bodily harm? Being aware of your thought life is a first step to controlling your thoughts regarding your past and how it will influence your marriage and your future.
Key 2 – Learn the lesson.
There is a lesson to be found in life’s challenges. When you are ready to accept that there is a lesson in the baggage, it brings a sense of empowerment. Note that it says a lesson can be found in life’s challenges. That means you may have to look for it.
The lesson may not be packed near the top of the baggage. It may be hidden and show up when you search for it. I encourage you to search for it. Don’t just casually look. It is to your benefit to learn the
lesson. It’s part of unpacking the bag.
Key 3 – Distinguish between learned behaviors and intrinsic traits.
In your marriage, recognize that each person has learned behaviors and intrinsic traits. A learned behavior is a characteristic that has developed in a person over time because of life’s experiences. It is a response to one’s physical or external environment, while an intrinsic trait is a quality you are born with.
It is okay to get rid of learned behaviors. They can be removed from your life if they do not serve your purpose. Intrinsic qualities, on the other hand, should be cultivated and developed towards maturity. It is those qualities that reveal the true you.
Key 4 – Forgive.
At some point in time, you will be challenged to forgive someone else. At another point in time, someone will be challenged to forgive you. At still another juncture in life, you will be challenged to forgive yourself. You have the grace and authority to forgive. It is a right that you exercise at will.
Contrary to what many may say forgiveness is not a long drawn-out process. It is a heart-perceived decision that you make. A decision can be made in a moment’s time. What takes time is the journey that you may go through to get to the place in your heart where you are ready to make a decision to forgive.
There is freedom for you in forgiveness. Exercising your right and power to forgive allows you to release the negative emotions and physical turmoil that accompany the stress of unforgiveness. It gives you the power to unpack your baggage and give new meaning to the challenge you faced. I have seen firsthand the positive power of forgiveness in the lives of couples who made a decision to forgive a violation. To their surprise, along with forgiveness came a softened yet somewhat guarded heart, which opened the door for restoration and civil conversation.
When you are not bogged down with baggage—remember the example of going through the airport carrying bags, rolling bags, and pushing a stroller—you have the freedom to experience the joy of life and marriage as never before. I’m counting on you to go for it. You are not inadequate. You are a powerful being. You are more than capable of experiencing personal change from the inside out. Receive it and watch your awe- inspiring future begin to unfold.
BMWK, are you ready to ditch your baggage?