I have this backpack that tends to go most everywhere with me. It’s a nice bag that’s brown with black trim. It has multiple compartments and can hold lots of stuff. It always has my laptop and accessories in it. I’ll carry books, files, and magazines. It has pens, business cards, and other fun stuff.
As nice and roomy as it is, though, there are times I have to make choices about what to put in it. Sometimes I can’t take everything I want to take. Other times I have to ask if I really want to max it out and lug around a heavy bag? Do I need to take something out to make room for another more important thing?
The other day, I noticed the bag was heavy, and I realized it was getting full. I knew it was time to take a look at what was in there. Was it time to remove some things that were no longer essential? I knew I needed to “trim the fat”, so to speak, because there would be other things I would need to put in.
As I thought about that, my thoughts turned to life. How similar is our life to my backpack? We think we have plenty of room for all kinds of stuff, but suddenly realize we are maxed out in life because we’ve kept putting stuff in without taking anything out. Or we find that we’ve taken out some really important stuff to make room for a lot of lesser things. How much sense would it make for me to stop carrying my laptop and accessories (like the power cord) to have more room for old magazines and folders?
The beginning of a new year is a time of evaluation for many people. How did the previous year go? What worked and what didn’t? What needs to change? Where is growth necessary? Hopefully part of that evaluation involves spiritual evaluation. How is my relationship with God? Where did I grow in the past year? What did He teach me? Where do I need to focus my attention spiritually in the coming year? How aware am I of God’s presence in my life? How much do I desire and pursue that relationship?
Just like I can fill up my backpack with as much of something as I want, God will fill up as much of our life as we let Him. Our loving God wants to be an ever present part of our life. The Holy Spirit desires to fill every nook and cranny of our heart, soul, mind, and strength so that our life is lived in Him more than in ourselves. As we much as we open up and surrender, dying to our self, He will fill up and bring to life in His grace and mercy.
Here’s the thing…God won’t force Himself upon us. He will empower us, redeem us, transform us, sanctify us, forgive us, and shine through us, but we have to make the room. We have to set aside our own agendas, wisdom, ideas, and goals, and allow the Spirit to flow in and through us for God’s glory.
This year, where do you need to make room? How are you trying to still live your life in your own strength? Empty yourself of you, and allow God to take full control. Let Him decide what needs to fill your life. Acknowledge His wisdom and control, and then do it the next day, and the next, and the next.
When you do, you’ll find that your life doesn’t suddenly end up too heavy. You won’t discover you’ve maxed out your time and there’s still so much to be done. You’ll find rest and salvation in His strength.
And you’ll find you always have exactly what you need. May the Lord bless you this year.
Are you going to do something different this year? If so, what?