Change brings with it lots of stuff. We, as humans, accumulate stuff. We need to learn to manage the stuff in our life or it will manage us. We can let God’s Spirit use His Word to define us or the stuff we accumulate will. Instead of a backpack we carry a heart pack. It provides what we need to move forward through change or it weighs us down.
In our heart we have containers that need cleaning and refilling with love, joy, and peace. If we throw them out when they are empty or fill them with other things we will find ourselves emotionally unbalanced and will fail relationally.
We all store up memories. Examining them to decide what ones really need to stay is important. Memories evoke feelings and some are helpful while others slow us down or even stop us in our tracks. Teaching the children how to welcome their feelings is as important as teaching them the proper response to them.
All feelings are good, but all responses to feelings are not. Discerning when to hang on to a feeling and when to let one go is an important lesson. Chewing gum too long becomes tasteless and harmful to our jaw and teeth. We would not want ABC (Already Been Chewed) gum in our back pack. Bitterness, jealousy, and unforgiveness are feelings that come from letting our minds chew on a harmful comment, a past hurtful deed done to us, or a failed expectation too long.
Once pain, anger, or frustration has been chewed on enough to teach us to protect our hearts then we need to discard these memories which frees us fromt these feelings. Continuing to chew on them will only be distasteful. With God’s help we can wrap them in grace and toss them into the sea of forgetfulness where God has put all our sins against Him. Sometimes this takes counseling but for smaller grievances we can learn to forgive and move on in freedom.
To travel this life well, we need a travel partner. He lives in our hearts. Not the backpack part but the part where the true us lives. God’s Spirit comes into our hearts when we invite Him (Rev. 3:20) and promises never to leave. (Heb. 13:5). We can ignore Him, grieve Him, and quench Him, living as though He is not even there or we can welcome Him to be our guide.
Secondly, we need to pack God’s Word carefully into our heart pack. "How can a young person maintain a pure life? By guarding it according to your instructions! With all my heart I seek you. Do not allow me to stray from your commands! In my heart I store up your words, so I might not sin against you." Psalm 119:9-11 (Net Bible) Ignoring the presence and power of the Spirit in our hearts or not obeying God’s Word is like going to school without our homework or going camping without a flashlight. We end up in trouble or stumbling around in the dark.