Written by: Kim Danon

When I am getting ready to go on vacation, I dread having to think through what all I need to take! The packing process is a painful one for me. I love the excitement of going, but struggle through the details of thinking of all the things I normally take for granted, such as having a different pair of shoes for each outfit or a sweater if it gets cold or what if we go somewhere unexpected and I didn’t pack the right outfit?? I envy guys. You make it look so easy! A duffle bag and you’re ready.

When I get home, I then struggle to unpack. There is just something about having to put it all away and admitting that you packed way more than you ever needed! Again.

In addition to our suitcases, there is the emotional baggage. You know, that stuff we carry around and refuse to unpack for weeks, months, years? For whatever reason, we find it difficult to put it down and put it away. We carry it around and collect more as we go and at times, assume others should carry the load on our behalf. I recently got a new perspective regarding the baggage in my own life and I am able to make a direct correlation to my level of commitment in different areas.

Let me explain.

When I go on vacation, I typically don’t unpack. I mean I am not planning on staying long term so in the back of my mind I’ll be leaving, so why go to the trouble? My commitment is very low and temporary. However, in a different scenario, I am getting ready to move into a new house. When the moving process is complete, I plan on unpacking everything and putting in its place. I pray that I will not be moving again anytime soon! My commitment level is high and long term or permanent. 

So let’s think about this in terms of the more common areas in our lives, such as school, jobs and relationships. If you view something as temporary or unimportant, you will most likely treat it as such. You may purposely leave your bags partially packed so you have an easy exit when the time comes; using only what you need for the present moment. Your time to exit is often decided based on when things get difficult, boring, frustrating or when something seemingly better comes along. During those times, it’s easy to pick up and leave. How much you choose to unpack, can help you to understand your level of commitment. Are you willing to put it all on the line and become vulnerable to all the ups and downs that come with a long-term, committed situation? Or do you find yourself withholding the things that are not so easy to pack back up once they are out of the bag? Our emotions are considered one of our most personal possessions and we should not be unpacking them everywhere we go, however, if we never unpack them, we lose out on the reward of being truly known and taking the risk of experiencing some of the most rewarding things life has to offer.  Think about the relationships in your life and the other areas in your life where you spend your time. If something is worth pursuing, even if it’s temporary, commit to unpacking all the things required to make the time well spent. We only get one trip.  Are you committed or just on vacation?