What’s in Your Backpack?

“Carry love and faithfulness with you wherever you go.” 
That was one of the takeaways from Sunday’s sermon on the Proverbs. In today’s blog, I’d like to explore some specific ways we can carry positive attributes with us from moment to moment. We carry feelings with us throughout the day. Unfortunately, sometimes we carry negative feelings and emotions. These feelings act as burdens that can weigh us down. 
I want to encourage you to begin identifying the emotions that you carry with you. If you realize you are carrying a negative emotion, take a moment to ask God to replace it with a positive emotion. Its not helpful to simply say, “God, take away my anger!” Instead, ask God to replace your anger with a more positive emotion.
Here are some examples:
Regret: Perhaps you carry around the burden of regret. It weighs heavy on your heart. You wish you could change the past and feel resentful over how specific events occurred.
Hope: Ask God to replace your regret with hope for the future. Remind yourself that God is still writing your story; it is not finished yet. Begin to anticipate how God will shape your life in the future. Look forward with God, not backward with regret. 
Fear: Perhaps you carry fear with you each day. Fear that something bad will happen. Fear of what you cannot control. You enter new situations anxious of what may go wrong. 
Courage: Ask God to replace your fear with courage. You are not alone in scary situations; God is by your side. You can carry courage with you throughout your day when you realize that God is always near. God will not leave you or abandon you. Begin to develop the confidence that God will be there for you. 
Anger: Perhaps you carry anger with you throughout your day. You find yourself easily annoyed at things you perceive to go wrong. You are frustrated with other people and feel that your stomach is consistently in knots. 
Joy: Ask God to replace your anger with joy. Intentionally look for things that are going right. Begin to list things in your mind for which you are grateful. Ask God to help you identify things in your life that are worth getting excited about. 
Bitterness: Perhaps you are bitter about something that did not go right in your eyes. Or maybe you are bitter toward someone who you believe wronged you. And you feel yourself carrying this bitterness with you even when you are far from that person or situation. 
Forgiveness: Ask God to replace your bitterness with forgiveness. Reflect on how deeply God has forgiven you. God asks us to forgive others in a similar way. Forgiveness to does not make an excuse for the hurts done to you. Forgiveness gives the hurts to God as you refuse to carry them any longer. 
We spend too much time carrying around negative emotions that do nothing but weigh us down. 
This week, seek to become aware of what you carry with you. Then bring your thoughts and emotions to God.
Do not grieve, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.”
-Nehemiah 8:10
See you on Sunday!
-Pastor David
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