Inside my backpack, I was carrying a 10 pound dumbbell. I’m training for a long hike in September, so I want to mimic what it will be like to carry food and water on my back. Ten pounds makes a huge difference! The hills were definitely harder. Everything was harder.
Sometimes we load up our backpacks without even realizing it. With an appropriate amount of weight, we build strength and endurance. Too much weight and we lose the benefits and risk injury. Too much weight and we can’t even move.
Throughout my life, my backpack has been filled with some heavy weight. Grief, people pleasing, unworthiness, brokenness, self-hatred, addiction, unforgiveness and shame. What I am learning is carrying all this doesn’t make me strong. It keeps me stuck.
Taking radical responsibility for what I am carrying is hard. It asks me to unpack these things and own them, then look at them through the lens of truth. It takes work. But it is the kind of work that strengthens me, whereas carrying this load will not.
Taking radical responsibility for unpacking requires that I find my voice, my authentic voice. And use it, even when I am afraid that I will be judged, criticized or rejected.
I’m not there yet. But I am beginning to know what it will be like. It will be like when I took my backpack, with that 10 pound weight, off my back and set it down next to me on the ground. I felt so light. I felt so unburdened. I felt free.