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Designer Baggage
by Jennifer Stephens

Everybody has their “thing.” Maybe it’s a certain car. Or clothing brand. Maybe you’re the person carrying THAT 40 oz. tumbler around everywhere you go. We might look at someone with their overpriced cup of water or wearing expensive black leggings that look suspiciously like yours from Target and think, “You paid HOW MUCH for THAT?” But they’re probably looking at you with whatever YOUR thing is and thinking the same thing! No matter what IT is, we all have our thing. For me it’s purses. One purse in particular. I’d only ever seen them carried by those snarky housewives living lavish lives on reality TV, but the first time I saw one in real life, carried by an ordinary teacher like me, I yearned to have one of my very own!


I’m not sure what it was about the bag. I could say it’s because of the high-quality craftsmanship used to create it (it IS made to last). But that’s not the reason. It just had that je ne sais quoi (yes, I had to look up spelling on that one), and I HAD to have one! I couldn’t simply run out and buy one, because the price tag attached to this bag is slightly outside of my modest teacher salary. It may seem like an extravagant expense and anybody that knows me knows I’m not one to recklessly toss money around. I wasn’t about to blow grocery funds on a handbag! Instead, I started saving all the dollars that came with birthday or Christmas greetings. Just a little bit here and there. For TEN YEARS I saved! Then, one day I counted my stash and realized I finally had enough. So, I did it. I bought THE purse. And, yes, it was as glorious as I dreamed it would be.

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Walking around carrying that luxurious new tote had me thinking about other kinds of bags. I don’t mean plain department store handbags or an exquisitely beaded evening clutch. I’m talking about the kind that isn’t always visible to those around us. The kind we carry inside. Emotional baggage. We drag around all kinds of things – past mistakes, fear, guilt, disappointment, hurt, anger, worry. You name it, we hold onto it. Some of us wear it in obvious ways, explosively dumping our baggage all over everyone around us in the worst ways possible. Like emotional vomit. And others silently stuff the weight of our burdens so far down inside our souls, our lives appear to be perfect to those not looking close enough. It doesn’t matter if we flaunt it in a clear TSA approved carry-on or hide it inside a chocolate brown designer logo-ed handbag, holding onto the weight of our past prevents us from experiencing the joy filled life God wants for each of us.


God desires for us to unpack the stuff that holds us back. He’ll take it from us. He’ll take our fears and our anger. He will take away all the hurt, disappointment, and worry. And His forgiveness for past mistakes is available to us all. We just need to ask. Pray. Then pray again. He will take it all away. With God our bags won’t have room for all that negative stuff because He can fill them with love. With peace and strength. With hope.


No matter what your “thing” might be, don’t let the weight of it hold you down. We may never understand why we gravitate to a certain something, we just do. And as long as collecting that thing doesn’t take us away from what matters most, I say, go for it! People may collect fancy cars, prance around in Lululemon, guzzle water from a $45.00 Stanley (seriously, I looked it up on Amazon), but I’ll be over here driving my twelve-year-old car, wearing thrift store threads, and drinking from an ordinary cup - all with my designer bag by my side. It may seem frivolous, but I’m okay with it. Because with God, I’m letting go of all the baggage that used to be stuffed inside.

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