Funny things happen. A couple of weeks ago when I wrote a post on the brutally difficult journey of commitment, I had no plan of turning it into a series. However, your response was strong and God moved. So, here I am again, back at the mountain! You can find all the Overcoming Emotional Baggage Posts HERE!
Friends, I have done it.
No. I do it.
Again and again.
I make the climb more difficult than it need be. I pick up the emotional baggage over and over again. Almost unconsciously. I’m in constant need of a self-check!
This week, I wanted to take it a step further. I received some beautiful comments and emails from readers and friends. I am so thankful they have shared their stories with me and I am honored to be praying for their climb! And it motivated me because it is one thing to talk about laying the baggage at the cross and giving it over to God, but it is truly another thing to actually take the steps to fight our human tendency to hold tightly to it.
I have pegged away at this baggage and climbing thing most of my life. I believe it is an effort we must consciously initiate – again and again. The enemy prowls and wants nothing more than to place our baggage back into our tired hands. Hands, which, sadly enough, can find comfort in the familiarity of the very emotional baggage we want to shed.
So he works …
Knowing he has a chance with our desire for familiarity, he continuously inundates us with opportunities to retrieve the baggage.
We must actively position our armor if we don’t want to find our emotional baggage weighing us down yet again.
I mentioned in my post a couple of weeks ago, that I wish I could give you the one-two-three-step process to climbing the mountain all wrapped neatly with a bow. I still can’t do that. There just isn’t one simple strategy because each of us and our stories are so beautifully unique. But, I do know that there ARE pivotal strategies that we all must take in some way, shape, or form.
Most likely, you will have some of these boxes checked because they are a strength of yours. However, I’m convinced, just because we are all so imperfectly beautiful, that most of us will have several areas in which to work.
My personal efforts at positioning my own armor are vast! I guess maybe I’m a slow learner! The beauty of slow learning, though, is that I get to explore a LOT of resources! Hopefully my list of great reads will serve to be reminders of God’s truth to you as they have been to me!
11 Strategies for Dumping Emotional Baggage
- Eliminate unnecessary commitments. We must be in prayer and choose to say yes to that which God is calling us, rather than consuming our time with commitments made out of guilt. We also need to be aware of too many “good” commitments. Good commitments can still take us of the right path. If we spread ourselves too thin, we are too exhausted to position our armor and will easily turn and run back down that mountain!
- Set boundaries. It is okay to be firm with others about our limits. It is okay to not budge too far and then not feel guilty! Protecting boundaries can feel selfish, but it isn’t. God says to love our neighbors as we love ourselves! What we often don’t notice in that command is that we have to love ourselves. Doing so hinges upon that fact. Without loving ourselves well, we will not have the capability of loving others well.
Boundaries by Henry Cloud
- Stop the negative chatter inside your brain. Believing the lies of the enemy will make the load so much heavier. God created us beautifully and wonderfully in His image. Nothing less. We must not believe anything different!
Battlefield of the Mind by Joyce Myers,
Do You think I’m Beautiful? by Angela Thomas,
and So Long Insecurity by Beth Moore
- Forgive yourself and others. Christ paid a huge price for us. Not so that we can hold onto grudges towards others or He knew that the bitterness of unforgiveness would eat away at our souls and give us nothing but a life of death as opposed to the life of freedom He so desires for us. We must accept His forgiveness and then forgive ourselves! We must not live a life that implies His sacrifice was in vain! It mustn’t let it hold us down by bringing with it anxiety, depression, doubt, insecurity.
The Gift of Forgiveness by Charles Stanley
- Stop Putting Yourself Last. As I mentioned above, God instructs us to love ourselves just as we love others. As women, we tend to try to love others way better than ourselves. We end up putting ourselves at risk of health issues, both physical and emotional which then put a screeching halt to any of the loving of others we long to do!
The Fringe Hours by Jessica N. Turner
Desperate: Hope for the Mom Who Needs to Breathe by Sarah Mae and Sally Clarkson
- Hold onto God’s Word. We can have a relationship with Jesus and we can feel His love and He will be with us each step of the way. However, without knowing His Word in our minds and hearts, we will not be able to understand His will for us nor know how to process decisions that are aligned with His will.
The NLT Bible Promise Book by Ronald Beers and Amy E Mason
The Secret Power of Speaking God’s Word by Joyce Meyer
- Feed relationships with those who encourage you. God calls us to be encouragers to others. To minister to others. But He also calls us to fill our own cups so that with the overflow we can minister to others. We cannot minister to others with a cup that is half full or nearly empty. We need to make time for those who fill us up and encourage us. Those who share the love of Christ and can give us sound words of wisdom, even when they are not what we want to hear.
Girl Talk by Jen Hatmaker
Nobody’s Cuter than You: A Memoir about the Beauty of Friendship by Melanie Shankle
- Let go of the opinions of others. We need to focus on which step God wants us to take up that mountain. Not how others will feel about the step we may be taking. If our efforts are righteous before God, they simply are the correct actions. If we filter every choice through His lens, we can be rest assured that our choice was the right one to make.
The Approval Fix by Joyce Meyer
- Don’t back down to fear. I don’t even need to give a description here. Fear stops us in our tracks. It strips us of our power. It is probably the heaviest piece of baggage we carry.
Get Unstuck Be Unstoppable by Valorie Burton
Fearless by Max Lucado
The Mended Heart by Suzanne Eller
The Confident Heart by Renee Swope
Brave by Margie Warrell (not a christian viewpoint, but full of good stuff)
- Be thankful. Being thankful just changes our filter. When we look at the world and life through a thankful filter we are filled with an energy that says “I can” as opposed to “No way”. When I head out for my runs, if my attitude is negative and focused on my lack of sleep or various aches in my body, the run feels HORRIBLE! But when I hit the road with an “I can” attitude looking for the simple but beautiful blessings God has along the path, the toughest part of the battle is already won and the run is fantastic. Lori, at frogslilypad.net stated it this way last week on her blog, “Thankfulness leads to contentment”. I think she was spot on. When we are thankful for the opportunity to climb, we are content with even the difficulty.
One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp
- Pray. Surely not last because it is least. Rather saving the best for last!!! Prayer is first and foremost our most powerful weapon to making it to the top of our climb. It is our connection to God and the only way to develop a relationship deep enough to feel His Spirit within us. Prayer changed my life completely. Until I learned the power of prayer, I hadn’t felt the presence of the Holy Spirit.
Power of a Praying Woman (and all books of that series) by Stormie Omartian
Praying God’s Word by Beth Moore
Spiritual Java by Bill Johnson, Kris Vallotton, and friends
Note … I know some of my favorite books are a little dated, but they are SO good! It reveals my age … Ugh!! 🙂 But it also reveals my journey. God used some of these books (especially the older ones) to help me set that baggage back down each time the enemy tricked me into thinking I needed it again!
My prayer is that God will use my journey to help you through yours. And again, I’d love to be in prayer with you along your mountain climb!
Also, in the comments below, would you list any other books you recommend that have helped you position your armor against emotional baggage? I’d love it if you could help me build my resource list!!!
Missed the other Overcoming Emotional Baggage posts? You can find them HERE!
Wait … Before you go!
Wrapping your arms tightly around your identity in Christ and claiming your privilege as a child of God effects everything we do in life, as well as every relationship in which we engage. Dumping our emotional baggage goes hand-in-hand with that identity. If you would like to commit to intentionally filling your life with content and resources to propel you toward embracing that truth, consider subscribing below!