LaKeisha Rainey Collins: Beauty for Ashes Column
Get Free: Release the excess weight & baggage
Blog by Lakeisha Rainey Collins
Posted August 1, 2017
There’s a show I used to watch on A&E called Hoarders. The show depicts people who are chronic
packrats. They pack so much stuff into their homes that it crowds them out and they can barely even
maneuver through their own house. They find themselves surrounded and closed in by mounds of
stuff that they’ve collected and allowed to accumulate over the years, so much so, that many of their
homes are deemed uninhabitable or a hazard to not only themselves, but those around them.

You know what? So many of us are exactly like the people I’ve seen on Hoarders. The only difference
is that instead of hoarding physical stuff, we are emotional hoarders. Instead of our houses
overflowing with loads of trinkets, trash and treasures, our hearts are packed to capacity with
unforgiveness, painful secrets, insecurities, fear, memories from the past, envy, and the like. Because
our heart and mind are so severely cluttered, we leave little to no room for the Holy Spirit to fully
operate within us. So often we feel like,
God, where are you? I can’t feel you. I can’t sense your
presence.
I can imagine Him standing just outside the doors of our heart, saying, “I’m right here, but
there’s no room in there for me. Your space is uninhabitable.”

Just like those people on the show, their massive accumulation of stuff draws a wedge between them
and their loved ones, our internal baggage can build distance between us and the presence and
power of God in our lives. In just about every instance, the person who hoards is weighed down,
unhappy or depressed, and their true progress in life is significantly hindered, if not completely
stalled. Hard pill to swallow, right? I know, been there.

My favorite part of the show, though, is when psychologists and professional organizers come in and
assist the individual with cleaning out their home, both internally and externally. Room by room, they
walk side by side with the person, helping them to acknowledge the issue that led them to hoarding,
identify the root of it, sort through the things they’ve accumulated, and then finally decide to let most,
if not all, of it go. Afterwards, they begin to smile again, laugh again, love again, their families are
restored, their vitality is renewed, and their home that was once extremely cluttered and difficult to
maneuver through, becomes a place where joy flows freely. The transformation is amazing!

It’s very similar in life. When we open our emotional suitcase, sort through the things we’ve packed
inside, and throw out those things that weigh us down, we are able to excel and thrive in life. When we
drop the weight, we can tread through life feeling much lighter. The help we need to do this is
available to us through the Holy Spirit.

There is another thing that intrigues me about the people I see on Hoarders. Anytime a neighbor, co-
worker, or anyone who lives outside of their home is asked about the person’s hoarding, their
responses are almost always the same —
“I had no idea.” Though they see these people probably on
a day-to-day basis, from the outside, they look perfectly fine. That is because they have mastered the
art of hiding what’s really going on behind their closed doors. The same is true with so many women,
especially in the Christian community.

We are professional pretenders. We put on our Sunday Best, our
Mac makeup, get our weave sewn
in just right, slip on our 5 inch heels, flash our pearly whites, and cover up the brokenness, bitterness,
and battered hearts behind it. We cry ourselves to sleep at night, but come Sunday morning, we act
as if we are filled with joy. We fall time and time again into the bed of the wrong man, searching for
love and validation, but convince others that we believe we are fearfully and wonderfully made. We
burn with envy at our sister, inwardly rolling our eyes every time she walks by, but are quick to hug
her with a “Hey, girl!” and a smile.

We are masters at masquerade. We wear the masks and hide the weight so well, that nobody has a
clue about what’s really going on inside. But there is one truth that we can all be certain of – What’s in
us eventually comes out. What goes on within our heart and mind eventually reveals itself through our
outward actions. Weight cannot be forever hidden, and we absolutely cannot continue to pretend that
we are spiritually fit when, internally, we are emotionally obese. The time is now to be honest with
ourselves, recognize that our inward scale is tipping over, and choose to take proactive steps to lay
aside those weights that hinder us from becoming all that God has destined us to be.

So, to begin this emotional fitness goal, I have five questions for you:

 Who/What are the weights in your life?
 2. Why are you carrying it around?
 3. Where has holding on to the weight gotten you?
 4. How do you drop the weight?
 5. Once you empty your excess baggage, what do you refill with?

  • Who/What are the weights in your life?

Identifying where the extra weight came from is the first step. I have personally embarked on a new
journey to physical health and fitness after realizing that I’ve put on a few pounds over the past year.
Before I could commence on working to lose the weight, I first had to ask myself “How did I accumulate
this weight? What have I been putting into my body to cause this extra heaviness?” And those are the
same questions you have to ask yourself. What or WHO is it that’s weighing me down? The following
are a few examples:

> Insecurity: Low self-esteem; not loving or liking yourself.

> Fear: Afraid of facing life.

> Depression:  Discontentment and despair.

> Unforgiveness:  Unforgiveness is like drinking poison and waiting on the other person to die. It
steals your joy, your peace, your sleep, and it breeds hatred, bitterness, and strife.

> Other people’s problems:  If helping others hurts you more, it is a weight and hindrance to your
progress in life.

> Your past: The past is a chain that holds you hostage. It weighs upon you, keeping you bound and
preventing you from moving forward.

> Lack of faith:  An inability to trust in God is a breeding ground for worry, anxiety, and stress.

> Wrong relationships: In 2 Corinthians 6:14-15, we are admonished to not be unequally yoked. This
is not exclusive to marriage; rather, it is inclusive to all connections. Sometimes, we try to force a fit
when it’s the wrong shoe altogether. Be mindful of the connections you make.

  • Why are you carrying it around?

Oh, what peace we often forfeit; oh, what needless pains we bear. Jesus already carried the weight of
the world upon His shoulders. We don’t have to. Yes, we all have our own cross to carry, but even in
that, our burdens are light. So why do we, day after day, lug around unnecessary weight? I find that
the answer is quite simple – we are comfortable with being uncomfortable. We’re used to it and tend
to confuse contentment with comfort. It makes me think about how the children of Israel, although they
were being held back and in bondage in Egypt, had become so accustomed to their discomfort that
they struggled with actually being delivered.

So many of us can be just like that. We simply get used to the weight, and we’ve learned so well how
to dress it up and make it work, that we become oblivious to, or afraid of, the fact that we need to be
made free. We carry it because we’ve made it a part of our identity, we are fearful of how life will be
without it, and apprehensive about doing the actual work necessary to drop the weight. We carry it
because it’s easier than letting go.

  • Where has carrying it gotten you?

If your internal home is filled with excess baggage, how much has it hindered you from being where
you desire to be in life? Ask yourself, how much has holding on to No Good Joe delayed my process
to being captured by Mr. Right? How have my insecurities prevented me from pursuing my
educational, business, or career goals? How has the bitterness I have towards my absent father,
abusive mother or ex-lover held me back from being open to receive love? How has solving
everybody else’s problems drained me so that I’m unable to tackle my own? How has your internal
baggage, issues, and hang-ups, kept you from advancing and growing in Christ? Extra weight slows
you down, and I think if you’re honest, it’s safe to say that holding on to it has not gotten you very far.

  • How do you drop the weight?

You know, I’m so glad you asked! It takes exercise. Faith without works is dead, right? 1 Peter 5:7
says to Cast your cares (your burdens, your worries, your problems, your insecurities, your issues,
the weight) upon the Lord. How do you cast your cares upon Him? You take every single thing to Him
in prayer, you lay it at His feet, and you leave it there. I’ve had my own personal experiences with
trying to drop emotional weight, so I understand that it can seem quite difficult. On my journey to
emotional health, I learned this one thing mentioned in Matthew 17:21  is very often true –
“This kind
goes not out but by prayer and fasting.”
Sometimes you just have to turn your plate down, turn the TV
off, log out of social media, turn your cell phone off, and get on your face before the Lord. The thing I
love about God is He understands and we can be totally honest with Him. Tell him,
Lord this is too
heavy for me but I’m struggling to let it go. I know it’s hindering my progress in life and I want to let it
go, but I need your help. Help me to strip off this weight and leave it with you.

Then, there are times when we already know what we need to do to drop the weight, and crying
before the Lord is not necessarily necessary. Amen? We already know we need to put Joe out of our
house. We already know we need to stop gossiping on the phone with Sis. So & So. We already know
we need to forgive our sister or brother and let go of the grudge. In any case, we still need the Lord’s
help.

We must consistently pray to be transformed by the renewing of our mind, and learn to retrain and
redirect our way of thinking. Sometimes our weight can simply  be stinky thinking, our thoughts
constantly in a place of defeat. Philippians 2:5 says, “Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ
Jesus.” And Philippians 4:8 tells us to think on those things that are true, honest, just, pure, lovely,
and are of a good report.”

  • Once you empty your excess baggage, what do you refill with?

The answer to this can be found in Galatians 5:22-23 – “But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit
in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.
There is no law against these things!” We can never overfill on these.

Along this journey of life, because it is an uphill journey, it is imperative that we pack light. The enemy
wants nothing more than to see you stuck in life, never reaching your full potential in Christ. But God
is saying,
I want to take you higher, but you’ve got to drop those weights that hold you down. His arms
are outstretched saying, Give it to me. Give me your hurt, give me your pain, give me your insecurities,
let go of that bitterness, give me that struggle, that secret addiction. Let me lighten your load so that
you can run the race I’ve set before you.”

Drop your weight as His feet, sis, and make that beautiful exchange where you hand Him your ashes
and He gives you beauty.


Read last week's blog: You're feeling rejected but you're being protected

LaKeisha Rainey Collins is an Mobile, Alabama-based wife, mom of three boys and one girl, Founder
of Beauty for Ashes, Inc. and author of two books --
Beautiful Me and My Baby Has Wings. Learn
more about her
here.
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