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What’s in your bag? ….De-clutter!

By December 6th, 2013Uncategorized10 min read
Where have I been? Big question
sis! Big question! I’m not sure even I realized just how much time had passed
since my last post until a couple of days ago when my daughter said something
to the effect that she’d thought I wouldn’t be blogging anymore after the book
Uniquely Woman was published. I can only guess that she came up with that
because she hadn’t seen me at my desk for a while. I assured her the blog was
still very much alive, her response being a quick kiss on my cheek and a
sing-song ‘okey-dokey mama’ as she left me to work. After she’d left, I thought
about how incredibly busy I have been at work over the past month, and how in
my quieter moments after work, I have very truthfully reveled in doing nothing
more than ‘absolutely nothing’ ….literally! Believe me when I say we all need
times like that. I think that it takes a certain kind of emotional and
spiritual maturity to be confident in, and comfortable enough with yourself
that you are at peace even in your ‘doing absolutely nothing’ periods. We can’t
go through life always on a ‘purpose high’. There must be times when we are
able to slow down and simply ‘be’, intentionally silencing the many noises
around us. Indeed I believe that in those quiet times, we are more open to
hearing the deep and quiet things which the Lord speaks to us. It is in this
quiet space that I had an experience that I would like to share with you.

Now ordinarily, I am not very
big on many of the things a good percentage of women consider to be of prime
importance. I just can’t bring myself to be too concerned with my hair, nails,
clothes, shoes, jewelry, bags, etc. I must have slept through most of the
life classes where such topics were taught, lol. And yeah, I can already hear
some of you who know me from a distance thinking ‘Nah! That can’t be true’. But
my closest of family and friends know for a fact that I get my make-up on in 3 minutes
flat; work happily through a very limited wardrobe; have no interest in labels
and certainly never follow trend; can barely tell the difference between real
gold and anything else which shines; put on nail polish in the car (if I really
need to); wear wigs more often than not because I hate hair salons; and only
have a few pairs of shoes, of which I am very happy to wear one or two in particular
just about every day, lol.

On the flip side though, I am still
very much a girl-scout though I guess I take the motto ‘Be prepared’ a bit too
far. You see, while some of my sisters carry entire make-up kits, hair brushes,
perfumes, etc in their bags, yours truly carries everything including a sewing
kit, scissors, measuring tape, nail clippers, safety pins, plasters, corrector
fluid, a mini torch, screwdrivers, and my multi-function penknife in mine. Yep,
as far as the contents of my bags go, I am a trip-and-a-half no doubt. That said,
I can assure you that many a time I have had to bail out some seriously
glammed-up sister with my needle and thread (amazing how those zippers give out
on you at the strangest of times and places isn’t it?), or carry out some
emergency electrical fixes using my screwdrivers, so it can’t be all bad.

I am also a woman who is ready,
willing and able to carry the same handbag for months in a row. I once had a
friend describe my every day bag as my ‘National Anthem’. My precious husband
buys me new bags every so often, but his challenge remains getting me to
actually use the bags and admittedly,
for his sake, I am trying, lol. Anyhow, yesterday was one of those days when I
decided of my own accord to switch bags. Mind you, my idea of switching bags is
to empty everything out on the bed and then stuff everything right back into
another bag in no particular order. Sometimes I’m good though and actually
arrange the stuff in the bag   …..Sometimes!

I love how God ministers to us
through the oddest of things. I had looked down at the jumble of things I’d
emptied out of my handbag and asked myself whether I really and truly needed to
carry as much as I did daily; particularly as on most days, I barely open the
bag at all between getting to work and getting home again in the evening. I thought
how some of the contents had since outlived their purposes – for instance, my
children are way past the age when I constantly needed to have plasters handy
but I still carried them. I laughed at myself a bit and then reached forward to
begin stuffing…. I mean, ‘putting’ the things into my other bag, when the Lord
spoke to me and said “How like the lives of My children this is”. Oh wow! I stopped
and allowed the Holy Spirit minister to me. The Lord showed me that whereas He
says we should cast our cares upon Him, mostly we cast our cares (empty our
bag) in the place of prayer, but immediately stuff our bags with the same exact
cares when we rise from His presence, not stopping to think that this is itself
a manifestation of fear, core unbelief and a fundamental lack of faith in God’s
ability to work all things out for our good.  

God showed me how over the
course of our lives, we literally stuff our bags (our lives) with a whole lot
of things we have absolutely no business carrying. Some things we use as
crutches, giving ourselves a sense that we are protected because they are in
our space. We hold on to some things, the purpose for which has long since
passed, but which are comfortable and familiar. Some things we hold on to
because we know deep inside that letting them go means we must necessarily take
those new steps we are so afraid to take.  Some things we carry with us because the
world, or the people around us also carry them and we have a sense that they are
needed for us to be complete and acceptable in the eyes of ‘people’.  Some things we hold on to in fear really,
constantly anticipating something not working out, and so holding ourselves as
being prepared – not realizing that such a mind-set impinges on our ability to
see and lay hold of God-given opportunities that may come our way out of the
ashes of something that in our view has not ‘worked out’.

The Lord showed me that even as I
was very readily about to stuff the same sets of things – many of which I realized
I really didn’t need to carry, right back into a new bag; so also do we His
children sometimes know very clearly those things which are no longer useful in
our lives, or which we have willingly allowed hold us down, yet every day and through
every new season of our lives, we continue to carry those things with us. Time and
again therefore, our lives are as heavy as our handbags, and as jumbled inside
as the contents of our bags are; and God said, this is not His design or plan
for us.

So even as I deliberately took
out some of my ‘stuff’ from my bag that evening, I have also had to do some
serious reflecting about the stuff I need to get out of my life, and to
deliberately take them out – painful though this has sometimes been. Sis, you
and I need to decongest our lives so we can live the fullness of that which our
Father has purposed for us, and so that there is room enough for Him to infill
us with those things which He has purposed for every season of our lives. It’s not
easy, that I assure you. Much as my handbag is much lighter, I can tell you
that I am still carrying a couple of things that I know I will really not miss
if I could only but let go of them. But, I am a work-in-progress so for now I
can pride myself in the many things I did take out of my bag (life), and slowly
work my way up to letting go of the rest with the grace, power and help of th
Holy Spirit. This is what you and I need to do in our lives sis – today and
constantly. We need to take those first steps to unclutter our minds, emotions,
social calendars, relationships, activities, etc – very deliberately choosing
to let go of our crutches, weights, and fears so there can be room enough to
truly be who God designed us to be.

You know how it is said that no
matter how beautiful and expensive a woman’s bag is, you really don’t want to
see what’s inside of it? Well sis, let’s not allow that be the story of our
lives okay? Our inner beauty must first radiate the God that is in us, and when
this shines out, it will complement the outward natural beauty and other enhancements
that we might then choose to adorn our physical selves with. What are you
carrying in your bag sis? Empty it out now! Screen the contents with a
dispassionate eye, and then, de-clutter as intentionally as you are able to. Lighten
your inner load sis, so that you can truly shine for the Lord. He will help you
sis… as surely as He is helping me!
Be blessed sis… for you surely

One Comment

  • So funny, I was just thinking I hadn't had an email of your blog in a while and here one comes that's just so awesome. I love how open you are to having God speak to you in the 'ordinariness' and mundaneness of life. I hope others feel as set free as I do, that hearing from God is not some super spiritual experience that requires prayer, fasting and 7 day retreats 🙂

    He's doing a great work through you and I for one am blessed.

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