Baggage Claim: A New Year’s Resolution

Happy New Year! I hope you all had a fantastic Christmas with family and friends and feel eager to experience the joys, the opportunities, and achieved milestones of 2013!

Below is an absolutely fantastic quote from my friend and fellow CrossFitter, Holly, regarding the annually pressed “reset button” known as New Year’s Resolutions.

But I want you to know, before you go any further, that there is One who doesn’t limit His new beginnings and fresh starts to once a year. There is One who will let you start over fresh EVERY DAY. You don’t have to set New Year’s Resolutions and worry if you will fail. You don’t have to wait for January 1 to roll around every year before you get to start again. His mercies are new every morning!

How true is that?! New Year’s, shmoo year’s. Any day is a good day to turn over a new leaf, granted that leaf fell from a well-watered, life-giving Tree.

“But they delight in the law of the Lord, meditating on it day and night. They are like trees planted along the riverbank, bearing fruit each season. Their leaves never wither, and they prosper in all they do.” –Psalm 1:2-3, NLT 

But if January 1 proves for you to be an effective date on which to pick a new hobby, try a new sport, learn a new language, or embark on another such quest for mental, physical, or spiritual improvement, then high-five and hallelujah; here’s to a rich and rewarding year!

I found myself ruminating about resolutions yesterday afternoon while standing at the baggage claim in the Austin airport. 

Now, I don’t typically use moments of forced and unavoidable idling to take spiritual inventory, but I couldn’t help it after a perfect analogy unfolded like a play before my eyes…

A young blonde woman about my age was standing alone just a few feet in front of me, waiting for her suitcase to emerge from the cave-like hole in the wall and then make its way to her on the carousel.  Like all of us standing there, yearning to go home on New Year’s Eve, she seemed a wee bit edgy, looking up at “the cave,” down at her phone, and around the buzzing airport, then back up at the conveyor belt, down at her phone, and around the airport again with restless, weary eyes.

After a few minutes, she was approached by a tall, dark, handsome young man who greeted her with the breath-taking hug and devil-may-care kiss of a man who’d fought battles and swum the seven seas to get to her. It was not too unlike this famous V-J Day photograph (okay, perhaps that’s a slight exaggeration):

After nearly a full sixty seconds of canoodling and unintelligible sweet-nothings, the woman spotted her suitcase on the carousel. Before she could step towards it, her boyfriend lunged and snatched the behemoth of a bag from the belt as if the silly thing were a damsel’s helpless pony trapped on a rock in a sea of lava (again, perhaps I speak hyperbolically).

He didn’t waste a second getting back to his belovéd. He took her by the hand, kissed her cheek again, then led the way out of the airport, pulling her baggage behind him.

Okay, now how did this couple’s holiday reunion and public display of affection lead me to think of a New Year’s Resolution for my own life? Because as I witnessed their giddy, unabashed fondness for one another, I was reminded of Christ’s love for His bride. I thought of how we, like the young woman, stand so helplessly, so miserably, as if waiting for the baggage of sin, recurring failures, painful memories, undying grief, and unmet expectations to make their way ‘round the cyclical carousel of life. Nothing we can do and nothing around us can make the wait more pleasant, nor lighten the load once the suitcases emerge from the cold, dark cave and are in our possession once more.

Then Jesus steps in. He’s the boyfriend at the airport, if you will, the One who greets us with a cloud-chasing smile, a day-making embrace, then insists on getting our bags. He’s the One who shows us the way out of our colorless surroundings where iniquities and offenses spin around and around on a hellish machine that traps earth-travelers in a veritable purgatory of frustration and defeat.

How can we escape life’s stifling airports without someone to guide us? And if we are led outside the walls, how can we make it very far lugging all of our baggage? The answer, plain and simple: We can’t. We need Jesus. I need Him for so much more than I think I do, for activities and tasks I don’t take the time to give Him.

“’Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest.  Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light.’” –Matthew 11:28-30, MSG

My husband says three wonderful words when I need them most: “Pray it off.” When I’m tied up in a mental knot or at the utter end of my emotional rope, he whispers: “Pray it off.” With this phrase I envision a burden being lifted from my shoulders through the simple, obedient, beautiful act of prayer. And when I’ve lifted my head after “Amen,” I can feel that a weight has been removed, like when Ben takes my heavy carry-on from my left shoulder and the pain immediately disappears.

This year, I want to “Pray it off” more often. I don’t want to spend time waiting for suitcases to materialize any longer than I have to.  And when they do, I want to let Jesus claim the baggage. Then I want to follow Him wherever He leads, my hand in His.

Stay fit, stay faithful, and have a healthy, happy New Year with your King ~<3 Di

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