Airlines these days seem to generally allow one carryon bag and an additional personal item without charging extra fees. Extra baggage costs more. A more expensive ticket may allow for a checked bag, but it still costs more.

If you don’t want to pay extra to check a large suitcase, there is a different kind of cost incurred. That’s the cost of limitations. You limit what you can bring with you and how much space you have to bring anything back home. Which is the higher cost?

It’s easy to accumulate a lot of baggage in life, and hard to let go as we move forward. It can look like anything from great friendships to a guilty conscience. There is a cost associated with what we take with us.

Take a great friendship for example. It is really hard to leave friends behind when venturing on to something new. Sometimes the cost of holding onto those friendships is a missed opportunity. Even if a friendship does not have to end to seize an opportunity, it may have to change.

On the other side of the spectrum is the kind of baggage that we really should leave behind, but it goes unnoticed at first. I recognized this in my own life just last week.

Baggage Weighs Us Down

I received a call from our senior pastor last week, which doesn’t happen too often. He’s called me in the past, but I often knew what he was calling about before I saw the caller ID. This time was different though.

I had no idea why Pastor Steve was calling me, and my initial thoughts were that I may have done something wrong. This church does not operate with a culture of guilt, and I’ve always felt an openness with Steve, but in that moment there was a shadow of fear that came over me.

It turns out that he simply had a question for me regarding a booklet that we had produced. As I reflected on the turbulent emotions that I experienced in those brief moments, I realized that I had some excess baggage that I hadn’t realized I had checked on this flight.

The cost of that baggage is more than I can afford in the long run. Carrying baggage like guilt and shame leads to fear as well as so many other unhealthy attitudes and emotions. Fear can turn into a lack of relational openness in the shallow end or major character flaws like a lack of integrity in the deep end.

When we carry excess baggage into new relationships, job opportunities, or even callings, it affects our perspectives and how we interact with the world around us. It can lead to cynicism, doubt, mistrust, and fear. How can a healthy relationship develop with any of those things skewing our perspective? Can we be successful in a new job when we’re afraid of what’s around the next corner? Beyond that, carrying baggage into our calling is likely to result in burnout that we don’t see coming.

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