I’ve had some engaging conversations lately with some engaging people, one of whom asked me a two-part question which exposed me to a new paradigm: “What’s your baggage, and what’s your luggage?” I had never thought about the fact that two words which similarly describe the same thing (“those containers in which we keep belongings while we travel”) can also be used to describe exactly opposite metaphors. Hang with me.
John Fogerty on Baggage
Metaphorically, “baggage” is often derisive. It means extra weight that doesn’t need to be there. I’m thinking of the song “She’s Got Baggage” by John Fogerty (Creedence Clearwater Revival, for you who are oldies-attuned):
“She’s got baggage
She’s got so much heavy baggage
The weight of the world
Is on her shoulder, I wonder how she carries it around”
Baggage vs. Luggage
She’s got baggage, but so do we. Exhausting things that bring unnecessary weight (or drama); things we want to and should get rid of, flush, and leave behind. Maybe a bad memory, or a bad habit, or some sort of self-destructive or self-preservationist behavior or attitude. An example of my baggage: I continually work to leave behind my concern for what other people think of me. It’s not been a helpful trait of mine, but I see it dissipating.
Luggage is different. It’s what we want to take with us. Literally that could mean precious possessions, keepsakes, important documents, or items of value. And figuratively, luggage includes the good things we shouldn’t let go of. Good memories and habits, things to cherish, points of self-discovery, accomplishments. It’s the positives of life we want to protect and take with us as we travel. It’s the life-giving stuff that gives us perspective and helps us keep our sanity as we travel.
What the Bible Says About Baggage
So what is your baggage, and what is your luggage?
Here’s some verses:
Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me.Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 3:12-14).
Oh, have some fun, tap your feet, and watch John Foggerty do his thing: