On the Side: May 2023

Taking Stock
Sharon Chatwell

Friends of ours, after moving to Montana for a ministry opportunity, are now once again packing up their belongings and moving with their 3 small children. It makes me think of all those times that my husband and I moved during medical school, residency, fellowship and private practice. It also makes me think of all of you who are making similar preparations to move this summer. God bless you!

Moving has the effect of making you take stock of what you’re carrying with you. It is important to know what baggage to keep and what to get rid of.

Rick and I moved so many times that after we were finally in our current home for three years I was ready to pack up all of our belongings, just out of habit! It took even longer for me to throw the boxes away! Does that ever happen to you?

Moving causes us to take stock of our lives and of our possessions. It makes us think about what we have and what we are taking along with us. It causes us to ask questions. Penetrating questions like: Do we really need a cat carrier? We no longer have a cat. But will we ever have another cat? If so, do we need this particular carrier for that particular, future cat? Stuff like that.

Of course, one has to be careful when letting go of things. Me, I am notorious for getting rid of stuff and then NEEDING that exact thing several weeks or even months later. Trust me, if it is valuable, a keepsake, or one of the kids’ lost game pieces, keep it! You can thank me later.

This year, although I am not personally planning to move, I am quietly taking stock of my life, anyway. What am I carrying around with me? What can I afford to get rid of? What do I need to lay down or part with?

One thing I’ve decided to part with is several pounds of my personal flesh. So, I am on a diet. (This means that no one should talk to me right now.) But it seems to be working, and I’m happy about that. Perhaps my mood will improve with time… and a few more calories.

Another thing I’ve decided to lay down is guilt. (I mean, why carry it?) If the Bible is to be believed at all, then Jesus paid the price for all of my sins on the cross, and “There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus,” (Romans 8:1a NKJV.) So, I will just leave all of those feelings of false guilt piled up right here, as I walk away from them.

Sadness, although occasionally popping into my life, can be swept away as well. My joy rests in Jesus and the fact that my children are now “walking in the truth.” (2 John 1:4 NKJV) When I get too self-preoccupied or sad, I find myself somewhere to serve the Lord, whether teaching children in Sunday School or making “faux suitcases” for VBS. (I have NO idea why VBS requires “pretend suitcases” for decoration, but that’s not my decision to make.) I find joy in service to the Lord.

Worry has to go as well.  There is no room in the car, or even in the semi-tractor trailer truck, for all of my worry. That worry goes right over there at the foot of Jesus’ cross, where it belongs, and it is LEFT there on purpose. (No take backs!) All of my questions about the future have to belong to He who actually holds the future. He will have to take care of these worries now; they are being left behind.

I am sure that you have similar baggage to examine and to keep or to toss. There is no need for you to carry some of it one step further. As it says in God’s Word, “…let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.” (Hebrews 12:1-2 NKJV)

I pray that the God of all mercy will be with you on your journey, wherever He is taking you. And that He will continually help you to reevaluate your belongings, including anything you seem to be just dragging around with you. And that He will help you decide which things to keep and which ones to jettison.

God bless you!

Sharon is the wife of a physician, who lives in beautiful Lincoln, Nebraska. She says that she has no moves planned for the immediate future, but “sometimes God surprises you.” She promises to let us know how the diet goes!

Christian Medical & Dental Associations®

About Christian Medical & Dental Associations®

The Christian Medical & Dental Associations® (CMDA) is made up of the Christian Medical Association (CMA) and the Christian Dental Association (CDA). CMDA provides resources, networking opportunities, education and a public voice for Christian healthcare professionals and students.

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