I found myself near tears this morning upon waking as I was immediately thrust into a quagmire of boxes, used bubble wrap and tissue paper and a mound of things left to unpack with a total volume easily three times the space in this double-wide we will call home for the next few years.
Sadder still is that this pile represents only half of our material possessions, its counterpart abandoned to a storage unit in Idaho. Worse yet, the sum total represents only the remnant left after a moving sale, countless trips to Goodwill and at least a dozen trips to the local dump. After nearly two months of packing, a week of moving, and another week trying to squeeze into my new domicile I am utterly exhausted.
How did this happen? How is it that the things I have accumulated, personal possessions to which I have assigned enough value to keep, things I apparently considered worth the price I paid for them, somehow feel more of a burden than a blessing?
Suffocating and striving to surface long enough to get a grip on some sort of game plan, I heard that familiar whisper speaking words I needed desperately to hear. It was that same commanding yet soothing voice that calmed the raging sea so many ages ago, reminding me of the wisdom He spoke through Paul when he wrote, “let us lay aside every weight…”
Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us… Hebrews 12:1
Paul is reminding us, lest the business of living cause us to forget, that we are in a race. Furthermore, because this race is a life-long marathon, we cannot afford to carry any extra weight. That weight may literally be comprised of tangible things, a heap of material possessions that encumber us physically.
However Paul is really speaking of the intangible baggage we tend to pick up on our journey; elements of a sinful culture that accumulate in our lives as we strive to create a sense of belonging on this planet. The danger is that we tend to become so ‘connected’ that we gradually weave ourselves right into the fabric of this world and are no longer free to run with all of our might—to fully experience the adventure and romance of our relationship with Jesus.
Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may obtain it. 1 Corinthians 9:24
That voice reminded me that I have some sorting to do, and likely not just through the piles in the middle of my new living room, but through some clutter that has accumulated in my own heart.