What I Learned While Living Out of a Backpack
Have you ever dreamed about backpacking around the world?
This had never crossed my mind until I decided to go on the World Race. Even after I signed up to go on this trip, living out of a backpack seemed a worthy price to pay to fulfill my dream of traveling the world and sharing the love of Christ.
The first time I had to carry my almost 50-pound backpack through Beijing, China from my hostel to a train station, I thought I would not make it. I was actually shaking by the time I arrived from the strain. I remember collapsing on the dirty floor of the train station feeling as though I had just run a marathon. This was the moment I realized I had over-packed.
As the months went on, I learned that some things were not worth carrying. Extra clothes, who needs them? A second tube of tooth paste? A luxury I could not afford! "I don't want to carry that" was often heard from me as I gave away any items from my bag for months following that first torturous walk through Beijing.
Sometimes life can be like carrying a 50-pound backpack. Many times I have carried bitterness, discontentment, anger, and disappointment - weighing me down and leaving me shaking and unable to get anywhere quickly.
Cast your burden on the Lord, And He shall sustain you; He shall never permit the righteous to be moved. -Psalm 55:22
One night in Japan during a worship night with my team, the Lord revealed some things I had been carrying that were weighing me down. These things were heavy and I had been dragging them around with me for a very long time. I heard the voice of the Lord whispering sweetly to me that it was time to let them go. I said yes.
I remember crying and wanting to laugh all at the same time. The joyous feeling of placing my burdens at the feet of my Lord. The freedom.
But the next morning, and every morning since that night in Japan, I have had to make a decision not to pick those things up again.
When I come across someone who has hurt me in the past or remember a disappointment from long ago, I have to choose not to pick up that burden again.
[pullquote width="300" float="left"]When I am not carrying things I do not need to carry through life, I am able to walk quicker into the plans the Lord has for me.[/pullquote]
When you are living out of a backpack, you have to frequently take account of what is inside your backpack and decide what needs to stay and what needs to go. Of all the things I learned while living out of a backpack, this is probably the most important. When I feel myself becoming stressed or upset I remind myself to stop and take account of what I am carrying. Am I upset because I am holding onto something that is not mine to carry? Am I holding tightly to something that I need to release to the Lord?
By month 11 I learned that when your backpack weighs only 35 pounds, it is much easier to carry. Not only could I walk quite far without feeling like I was going to faint, I could walk quicker too. When I am not carrying things I do not need to carry through life, I am able to walk quicker into the plans the Lord has for me. I am ready to say yes to opportunities He places into my path and I have the endurance to continue for longer distances.
My faithful backpack now sits gathering dust and waiting for my next adventure, but the lessons I learned while carrying this backpack around the world stay with me. What are you carrying?
// image by Amanda Goodroe