I have heard that during the goldrush of 1849, there were some who left the eastern part of United States for the gold fields of California, bringing with them their most prized possessions. There were some things they were unwilling to part with, that ended up making their journey more difficult. Some even lost their lives crossing the desert areas, because they had spent too much of their strength carrying pianos, fine furniture, or other unnecessary items. When they eventually discarded these items, for some it was too late.
Just like these travelers, many of us carry things in our life that we want, but are slowing us down on the road of life. Sometimes we feel that we have a “right” to have something in our life.
I can drink alcohol if I want to!
I can look at pornography if I want to!
I deserve this now! (Even though I don’t have the money)
I shouldn’t have to give up the entertainment that I enjoy!
I can do whatever I want!
We can claim our right to have these things in our life, but at what cost in the end? There are many things that bring short-term pleasure, but in the end waste our resources, destroy relationships, create excessive debt, bind us in addiction, and waste the opportunities for excellence in our lives. We can choose immediate gratification, or delay gratification and build a foundation for long-term success. Taking the easy path now usually makes life harder down the road. Choosing a disciplined path now will make life easier in the long run.
Some people carry burdens of resentment, jealousy, anger, or hatred towards others. They are unwilling to forgive and do what they need to do to let go of these burdens. In the end it only adds to their own misery. It is like getting bit by a rattlesnake, and then wrapping that snake around your neck and carrying it with you everywhere you go. All the while it is there you will tell people just how horrible that snake is, how much pain it caused you and show the latest bite marks on your neck. How long can you afford to withhold forgiveness and carry the burden of being offended? It is in your best interest to forgive and let it go, no matter how deeply the other person hurt you.
Some people carry the burden of a negative attitude, being pessimistic. They are quick to criticize, almost impossible to please, and blind to the good in the world around them. They find more joy in seeing someone fail, than seeing someone succeed. In fact they feel resentment towards those who are doing well.
These attitudes are like anvils in your backpack. They weigh you down and keep you from moving forward and truly enjoying life.
Can you let go these attitudes and bad habits? Can you discipline yourself to give up pleasure in the moment for greater happiness and peace of mind? It may not be easy, but with God’s help all things are possible. He can help you have a change of heart, he can heal your heart. Jesus Christ said,
28 Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.
29 Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.
30 For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light. (New Testament, Matthew11)
With his help your burdens can be made light, despite the challenges of life. Identify the unnecessary baggage that is slowing you down, and let it go! It may not be easy, but it will be worth it!