WORD WEEK 01-15-06
EZEKIEL 12:7 KJV
The reflection of the previous week addressed the issue of the ownership, identification, and claiming of one's own baggage [Part 1]. In continuation of the same theme, this week's reflection will address the Release Your Baggage [Part 11].
A summary of the previous reflection is as follows: The year 2006 is already upon us and our sense of destination is a critical part of what it means to be alive, whole, and human! Christians around the world celebrated the season of Advent just shy of a month ago. During that time, we witnessed the journey of life and death which The Holy Family were required embrace; a journey fraught with excitement and anticipation; expectation and anxiety; approach and avoidance; hope and fear as well as a plethora of human emotions from which we draw inspiration and meaning presently and in millennia to come.
Moreover, we learned that The Holy Family packed only that which was essential and were required to leave behind both the comfort and familiarity of loved ones, family, friends, community, safety, and treasured material possessions that had helped to render meaning to their existence. In essence, they had to relinquish familiarity and embrace that which was clandestine, except to the sovereignty of GOD!
Significantly, There are four ways in which we carry baggage: 1] Physically; 2] Emotionally; 3] Psychologically; 4] Spiritually. Sometimes, when one travels, there are instances in which the transport of baggage is essential. At other times, no transport of baggage might be required at all.
Nevertheless, far too often, too many of GOD'S people have become increasingly acclimated to carrying baggage, that they are no longer cognizant that they are carrying baggage as this baggage has become a critical aspect of their self-definition as well as their worldview. Consequently, they are no longer aware of the degree to which the weight of that baggage weighs down their hope, healing, transformation, happiness, insight, empowerment, development, joy, peace, deliverance, and impedes their ability to meaningfully connect to others.
As the events unfold in the Narrative of Ezekiel 12:7, The LORD rendered guidance to Ezekiel who had witnessed the moral decay and the psychospiritual erosion of GOD'S people. Circumstances had become so pandemic in Jerusalem that it would not be long before GOD'S people would eat their food in anxiety and drink their water in despair, for their land would be stripped of everything in it because of the violence of all who lived there [All of which we are doing at the present time]. The inhabited towns were destined to become a wasteland. Suffering was on the agenda. Only then would humanity would come to reckon with the sovereignty of the LORD. Consequently, Ezekiel's actions functioned as a metaphor to Zedekiah's flight from the city commensurate with its conquering by the Chaldeans.
As many of us allow ourselves to be present to this reality, we hear the swift winter winds sing of the imminence of difficult times and divine danger in the air. Already in the year 2006, we have witnessed pandemic suffering in the infancy of the month of January! Have Mercy Upon Your People, Gracious LORD!
We learned that the embrace of "TRUTH" is available to all who are amenable to hear. What might we do if we had to dislodge of such baggage? Who would we be? Where would we go? How would we face ourselves, not only in our mourning, but in the morning as well as throughout the day many of GOD'S people muse? Importantly, we do not know quite where to begin, much less fathom or integrate the coexistence of "LOVE" and "TRUTH" of this caliber as we are invited to embrace a deeper awareness that no one has ever loved us like GOD does!
Nevertheless, the PEOPLE of GOD must reckon with their baggage! Carrying baggage might represent a myriad of challenges and invites for GOD'S PEOPLE: For some, carrying baggage might represent a lineage of strong family ties, tradition, a regal blood line, or a lucrative inheritance; for others, carrying baggage might represent status quo, a rote existence, or one's acceptance into the circle of the elite; still for others, carrying baggage might represent the desire to remain connected to a relationship that is unhealthy and unproductive, a friendship that is barren, but perfunctory, a self-concept that perpetuates the illusion of self-importance as it has become confused about the owner of such unclaimed and displaced baggage; even still for others, carrying baggage might represent one's investment in rejection, depression, loneliness, failure, shame, co-dependence, anger, grief, guilt, self-entitlement, and placing others on probation to vindicate and/or ameliorate one's own woundedness.
In essence, there are far too many of GOD'S people are in the baggage carrying business! Becoming cognizant of our baggage is like that of going to the Baggage Claim Department in the Airport. As each of us stands around the conveyor belt, we look for the baggage that has our names. Ironically, have you ever been in an airport and observed someone grabbing the baggage of someone else? Have you ever been in an airport and not notice your own baggage and believing it to be the baggage of another, dismiss your own baggage?
Consequently, For some persons, a trip to Baggage Claim this time of year will bring the unexpected closeness and love of family and friends and security, yet for other persons, this same trip to Baggage Claim will heighten the lack of closeness, potentially fuel exclusion, recapitulate loss, and deflate hope. Nevertheless, Beloved of God, you must claim your baggage as the failure to do so will result in a cosmic threat on either your life or the quality of your life!
In order to claim our baggage we must learn to identify the kinds of baggage that we carry. In order to release our baggage we must own and name such baggage first. Now appears the time to pose a question: How or why would one release what he/she believes in not there? The four types of baggage are as follows: 1] Emotional; 2] Physical; 3] Psychological; 4] Spiritual.
Emotional Baggage consists of those things that we feel. It is the full range of what we call in the field of Psychology: Affect! It is something that appears virtually inescapable by any human being, yet has the potential to be healed with care, insight, attention, safety, and the presence of The Holy Spirit. The opportunity to be a servant of the LORD has afforded me myriad opportunities to visit the sacred ground of men, women, and children who are hurt; deeply hurt; some even beyond there own recognition. Emotional Baggage may disguise itself as bravado or overconfidence. Emotional Baggage may produce a malignant distrust of those who are benevolent. Emotional Baggage may cause many persons to shut themselves off from genuine love. Emotional Baggage may cause others to be on the fast track to achieve euphoric frenzy; Emotional Baggage may cause still others to neglect the painful truth of acknowledging and doing something about their own woundedness. Emotional Baggage may cause even others to be defended and consequently push away those persons/things that they desire the greatest level of intimacy. In essence, Emotional Baggage is invested in the art of sabotage, isolations, despair, and stagnation!
Physical Baggage affects our body. The transport of baggage of this caliber may cause insomnia, inconsistent and poor eating habits, and low energy level. Moreover, Physical Baggage may manifest itself in destructive behaviors that one does to his/her body. Physical Baggage, oftentimes, may cause one to experience lethargy when awake and insomnia when sleep is required. Physical Baggage may contribute to an increase in the desire to consume excessive sugar, carbohydrates, alcohol, and tobacco. In essence, far too many of GOD'S people attempt to apply temporary fixes to alleviate the strain of Physical Baggage as it appears to quiet the baggage of the Emotional, Psychological, and Spiritual when the physical self is under duress.
Psychological Baggage is a mind construct that affects the way one sees himself/herself, others, and the world. In essence, it is the schema or the mantra by which one lives and it has a conscious and/or an unconscious commitment to keep in place its attempt to avoid emotional and what is believed as intolerable pain. Moreover, it is argued by scientists that the largest organ of the human body is the brain. Yet, ironically, far too often, even among spiritual persons, it is the one that receives the least of much needed exercise. Psychological Baggage makes it increasing difficult for one to forget hurt, blame, shame, guilt, and suffering to the degree that recapitulation of previous hurtful events causes one to relieve trauma associated with suffering. Moreover, Psychological Baggage may cause one to place another on probation, thereby, renting space in the head of him/her who is functioning as the Gatekeeper of the Probation Office.
Spiritual Baggage embodies the emotional, psychological, and physical domains. In many instances, it functions as the life force, glue, water of life, and manna from heaven, from which the enlightened draws strength, insight, hope, connectedness, and immortality verses extinction. When one's spirituality is out of sync and becomes that of Spiritual Baggage, a catharsis is often warranted and healing unquestionably essential. Spiritual Baggage encompasses our "is-ness;" i.e., our being and is intrinsically linked to the heart of GOD.
The Release of Your Baggage
As we approach the counter of the Baggage Claim Department in GOD'S AIRPORT, let us do so with a greater degree of reverence and intimacy to GOD as we are compelled by our potential under the light of the brilliance of the CHRIST, convicted by "TRUTH" for the baggage to which we have tenaciously cleaved, and enraptured in the presence of GOD'S healing love!
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