It’s Time To Lighten the Load!

We finished our 7 days of work at the campground Sunday night. On Monday we did some grocery shopping. Now we have 7 days to go and play so we’re loading up the popup and heading up to the high mountains around Sipapu, NM. We’ve learned a lot about what to put in our popup. We’re so used to our big 45’ 5th wheeler, which we live full-time in but don’t want to pull it up on winding fire roads, that we forget all that stuff we like cannot transfer to a 22’ popup tent trailer. So we’ve had to lighten the load, as they say. And this got me to musing about lightening our load in life—getting rid of what truly overloads us and brings us down. I’ll start with a true story posted by the Hudson Bay Company in the history files, it’s really interesting and very poignant.

Back in 1771, on July 14, Samuel Hearne (an English explorer, fur-trader, author, naturalist and the first European to make an overland excursion across northern Canada to the Arctic Ocean) led a party from the Hudson’s Bay Company toward the Coppermine River in the Northwestern Territories of Canada. Others had tried this route but turned back often because of encounters with Inuit natives and Hearn’s party joined them. Two days into the expedition the tribe raided their camp while they were out mapping and stole most of their supplies.

Undeterred by the theft and very determined to continue their expedition, Hearne made a journal entry commenting on their misfortune actually being a blessing! He wrote, “The weight of our baggage was now so much lightened, their next day’s journey was more swift and pleasant.”

I love this story and I really do think that Hearne discovered something about people who are moving forward: a lighter load makes all the difference. We can learn from this in so many ways. Certainly, there are times where we can “store the weight” of our stuff, like many do by stocking provisions in case of inclement weather or fear of mass destruction.

But most of have to admit we are on the move, if not physically it’s for sure mentally. We have overload information daily from social media, TV news and website; jobs that move us often around the country; and then there is just the moving in our daily lives—shopping, taking kids to sports, medical appointments, and so much more.

In all of this moving we’re going to lose things, too. Finances, automobiles, homes, family members, etc. Sometimes all this kind of loss has us thinking “I’m losing my mind!” And then there are the losses from the continuing pandemic as well. So what should we keep and what should we get rid of to “lighten our load?”

We move forward more easily when we are not laden down so take an inventory of what holds you back. What material possessions weigh you down? What toxic relationships are keeping you in a choke-hold physically and mentally? What worries that invade your heart, soul and mind are you wrestling with—are they stopping you from going forward?

It’s time to lighten your load and for all of us, that’s not easy as we like our stuff, or we’re stuck in a rut and have gotten too familiar to climb out. Some of us fear losing what we have accumulated as it is a life-story, an heirloom, accumulated money that gives us confidence, or worse yet a fantasy we cling to for sanity. All this points to our fear that we “may not have what we think we must have to live our lives.” So we pile on the load!

In writing this devotion today, one Scripture came up over and over again. King David penned this from Psalm 23:1 and I’m sharing several translations for encouragement:

The LORD is my shepherd, I shall not want. KJV
The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing. NIV
GOD is my shepherd! I don’t need a thing. MSG
The Lord is my shepherd; I have all that I need. NLT
You, Lord, are my shepherd. I will never be in need. CEV
The Eternal is my shepherd, He cares for me always. VOICE
The Lord is my Shepherd [to feed, to guide and to shield me], I shall not want. AMP

Very often in life we will lose things. It is our response to that loss that either keeps us weighted down or, like Explorer Samuel Hearne, we’ll realize we didn’t need that stuff anyway! Trust your Shepherd, you’ll have just what you need and you won’t have to live with a “heavy load.”