noun, a traveling bag or suitcase

My life is about to be reduced to a single suitcase.  I spent the month of May giving away and selling my entire house. As the piles of stuff disappeared, I began to feel somewhat liberated. Gone were the numerous linens without matches or in need of mending; gone were the books I hoarded in hopes of reading again; gone were the mismatched dinnerware and cooking sets; no more junk drawers or junk cabinets or junk closets. In the end, I found myself staring at plastic bins of of Christmas decorations, highly-used kitchen utensils, family photos and mementos, and clothing.  The number of bins that held my “life” now numbered around 10.  I felt lighter as I stood in front of that pile–freer.

That freedom allowed me to begin thinking with a different mindset. Nothing I’ve accumulated in my thirty-something years can go with me. Things that were important here seem pretty silly in the jungle. Dinner served on wedding china?  I doubt it. Knick knacks and decorative wall hangings. Not so much.  Who am I trying to impress anyway?

Now it comes down to the one suitcase idea. Believe me, I’ve spent a lot of time contemplating exactly what will fit into that suitcase:

  • jungle clothes (not sure exactly what that is yet),
  • shoes (a definite, since I’ve heard that Ecuadorian worms like to bore into your feet),
  • make-up (only a minimal amount but I still love my husband enough to keep myself attractive, jungle or not)
  • my Bible (this is logically the only thing I truly need and it will be the only thing that sustains me while I’m gone).

So I must bid goodbye to all those

  • professional ensembles and snazzy shoes (heels don’t do so well in the mud), 
  • stacks of books (have you seen the price of added luggage?),  
  • family heirlooms (planning of giving my kids an heirloom that lasts forever: a strong family bond and a relationship with Jesus Christ), 
  • boxes of Christmas decorations (shipping a Christmas tree and stocking hangers really doesn’t seem practical, 
  • fancy cookware( not even sure what I’ll be cooking over there), and 
  • cleverly coordinated modern furniture (I’m just hoping I don’t have to sleep in a mosquito-net-covered hammock every night).

In light of the lists above, I have to pose a question.  Why do we spend our lives accumulating things that we cannot take with us?  Because we need to leave something for our kids?  Really, is that the honest answer? Or is it really about adding value to ourselves? Temporal value at that?

The Gospel is all about living a life of sacrifice–it’s not about what I can take with me. So why do we do it?  Jesus came to give, give, give.  He had very little during his time on earth, and He took nothing with Him.  However, what He left behind was history changing and life giving. I think Jim Elliot, martyred missionary from Ecuador, said it best: “He is no fool who gives up what he cannot keep to gain that which he cannot lose.”

How can YOU lighten your suitcase?  If you need some help determining what’s really necessary, click here to visit a blog written by a young female missionary in Ghana, Africa. She knows what it means to pack light.


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