“Have you ever heard Garrison Keillor? He has some wonderful stories about a mythical village Lake Wobegon. Let me share with you a little bit from Lake Wobegon.
This is a story of Mr. Bowser who worked at the Post Office. He hated his old Chevy, but he still had to drive it because it just wouldn’t break down. It was still running, so he had to hang onto it. It was all rusted out along the sides and the floorboard was rusted out. He had a piece of three-quarter inch plywood on the floor so he would have somewhere to put his feet. The Chevy’s name was Henry, after his late father. His father taught him never to throw away something if it was still working.
He couldn’t get rid of it, because after fifteen years, even on the coldest mornings, all he would have to do is point at the ignition and it would start. He drove the thing around and hated it for ten of the fifteen years that he owned it.
The heater didn’t work so it was freezing cold inside, but Mr. Bowser was brought up to endure suffering and be cheerful. So he drove around cheerfully in this horrible car, even though it depressed the life out of him. He hung onto it until a year ago last January.
He was sitting in the Chatterbox Cafe and someone said to him, “Well, that old Chevy of yours is amazing. It’s quite a starter, isn’t it? What do you ever do with that thing?”
Well, he never did anything. Lack of maintenance seemed to encourage that car. It thrived on neglect. He hadn’t changed the oil in five years, but the car didn’t seem to notice.
They said, “Lordy, we have never seen anything like it. We’ve never had any kind of luck with a Chevy like you have.” In that moment, something seemed to snap inside of Mr. Bowser. He drove that car out to the hill by Haberson’s farm. He stopped, put it into neutral, got out and gave it a push. It ended its life near the second telephone pole it ran into…..He put that car out of its misery.
It was a happy man who walked nearly two miles back to town. He now has a new Chevrolet he calls Betty. It doesn’t start all the time, and he’s had problems with it. But when it does start, the heater works well. But, better than that, there is still that new car smell. It smells fresh.
You get that fresh feeling when you sit in Betty. That’s all he wanted.”
That is the “Christian feeling,” a new life, a fresh start and a hope that encompasses the world, “a fresh inspiration of wonder and joy, a spark to touch us and to start us.” That is the dream; but – –
How often do we hold on to things we no longer need or really want? We do that, you know. Downsizing for all of us is a desperate attempt and desire to move into the future yet holding on to the past. This goes not only for our material possessions but also our emotional hurts and depressions. Oh, we have a suitcase full and we carry this burden, and it gets very heavy. We are ready and yet we hold on to our pains, our habits, our afflictions, our hurts; and we want to walk through that door but the baggage is too heavy to carry and too broad to fit through.
We just don’t know how to let go of that baggage, how to just drop it and leave it behind. And it keeps getting heavier and heavier. We drag it behind us because it gets too heavy to carry. Yet we never let go. Wherever we go, we carry that burden. We carry that weight of our world on our shoulders. What a burden it is!
God says to us, 29 Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, ………….. 30 For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” Matthew 11:29 – 30
We don’t hear that. We have gone through so many times of distress and regret, still carrying all our stuff. All the time it gets heavier and heavier.
Dennis Wheatley, the wonderful speaker, tells us what we should do. Let’s look at his remedy:
“#1. We should focus on where we want to go – rather than where we’re coming from.
We focus more on where we’ve been than where we’re going. We focus on the mistakes we’ve made in the past, the failures we’ve had, and we think it binds us. That limits us. That puts us in a cage. We hold the keys to the cage, but we stay inside anyway.
#2. Learn from your mistakes – as well as your successes.
You can use your mistakes and transcend them. What you are here today to do is find out how to transcend your own biography. We all have a biography. It’s in our mind. We’ve written it from day one.
The minute we came out of mamma’s womb, we decided who and what we are. Then we hold those opinions tightly. Now, possibly, it’s time to rewrite our biography. It may be time to write a new chapter, or even to close the old book and begin a whole new book.”
“There was a man who was very distressed. He said, “Do you think it is possible for a human being to do a redo?” These were his exact words. He said, “I just don’t think I can. I have made so many mistakes, mistake upon mistake. I don’t even know why I’m alive, because some of my mistakes have been with drugs and alcohol.”
He was telling about how much he had taken at one time. It was physically impossible for a human being to live through a poisoning like that. But he did. He said, “Because I lived, I must be here for a purpose. Do you think it’s possible for a human being to do a redo?”
Psalm 32:10: Many are the woes of the wicked, but the Lord’s unfailing love surrounds the one who trusts in him.
That is the whole message of Christianity. You get a redo – “a start over.”
And that is where many of us are. We sit, preparing for a redo – a start over. Many of us have changed just so far this year – with moving to a new location, a new life, new friends, new activities. Some of us have lived through family and friends upheavals and stayed with them, praying through the dilemma. Some of us faced a physical change in our personal or a loved one’s physical situation that prevents living the life as before and needing to walk through that door to a new way of living.
“Back in 1974, a man wanted a car. He had a great desire for this car. The reason I’m telling you this story is because the man saw this car the other day. It was a 1974 car – the exact car he wanted. He looked at it and it had big rust holes in it. He thought, “How could I have invested so much time and energy desiring this car?”
I realized as a young married woman that you just can’t make a car new again – no starting over for a car. Once it starts to rust, it just keeps on rusting, once the electrical stops or the wires begin to get crossed (and believe me, they do – let me tell you about my old Studebaker sometime), there is NO turning back. You can patch it and paint it – and surprise – a new rust hole will pop out or another wire will break or another door won’t open or a windshield wiper won’t work. That is just what old material objects often do, they decay like Mr. Bowser’s old Chevy Henry. But a human being is always going through a redo phase. Every cell is continuously being replaced and made new. I think we have new cells every 48 hours or so.
The only thing we are carrying, that is old in us, may be our opinion of “who we think we are, what we think we can do, how far we think we can succeed, or not.” We carry those with us in our luggage. We all carry the baggage of the past, and we are constantly finding baggage and being surprised by it, and, hopefully, unpacking and discarding the negatives of it. But, do we?
Believe it or not, we unpack useless baggage in our minds daily. It is a focusing on “self” – not to expect the worst in the future, but to expect the best, to know that God is really with you and you can expect the best. You have the right to expect the best. You are a child of God.
You can reach above your own history (of who you were or have been). It’s redo time.
So, if you are listening to voices telling you that you lack, that you are not good enough, educated enough, pretty or handsome enough, shut your luggage and lock it. Do not let that baggage in.
God would never give you a message like that. God will never talk to you in a discouraging way. God will never tell you what you can’t do. God always whispers in your ear and tells you what you can do and accomplish.
Our God is an Awesome God.
Watch this video and then you will know that God can certainly create you and me as His perfect children.
God is the great giver of ideas, not generic ideas, but ideas for you on how you can use the idea in your own life. God is all good, endless good inside of you, and love.
You will never hear a negative thought or word from God.
So when you pray, if you’re beginning to get negative messages, that is the human part of you that should be quiet.
Listen to the all-positive voice of God. Throw into the lake and let your “woes be gone”
Sometimes, as we carry our luggage of the past into tomorrow, we carry it for a reason.
Many people might prefer known hells to unknown heavens.
Let me tell you a true story. “There was a man some years ago who was a prisoner of war. It was decided to do a psychological study on him. So he was offered two options.
The first option was that he could have a firing squad. They took him into the room and showed him where the men stood with the rifles and where he would stand against the wall. They told him about the command and about the bullets that would destroy his body.
His second option was a closed door. They told him he could walk through the door. He asked them what was through the door and the leader said, “Unknown hells.” The man then chose the firing squad. He died. Through the door was freedom.”
It’s a true story. We can almost identify with this story. We often stay in that “hellish” situation or belief about ourselves, that frame of mind because we do not dare to look beyond our lives full of baggage. What if we just walked up to that door and said, “Dear God, I’m going in a new direction and I’m frightened. But I’m going to walk with You, God. I know that You are walking before me and I know You are going to bring unbelievable good to me and my life. I’m going to walk with You and I’m going to believe with a deep, deep faith.”
Let me tell you, if you don’t at first succeed, you’re running about average. It’s true. Failure creates success, improvement of life.
My daughter, sister, and mother are / was a professional painter. They are rarely satisfied with their paintings. But after several attempts and going over and over that canvas, they will finally say, “Ah, this is good.” My one sister had a showing in a gallery; her artwork is magnificent. But after it was over, she said she would never do it again because she was embarrassed and ashamed at how bad an artist she was compared to the really great ones. My mouth fell open in hurt for her. She is terrific, yet sees herself as lacking. We have to fail in order to succeed, so don’t ever add that on to your baggage, just thank God for the experience.
Now, here is a prime example of what I am talking about. It is the rendition of the story of Abraham Lincoln:
He failed in business at 22 years of age.
When he was 23, he ran for the legislature and was defeated.
When he was 24, he failed at business and went bankrupt.
When he was 25, he was elected to the legislature.
When he was 26, his sweetheart died.
This so destroyed him that at 27, he had a nervous breakdown.
When he was 29, he ran for Speaker and was defeated.
When he was 31, he ran for Elector and was defeated.
When he was 34, he ran for Congress and was defeated.
When he was 37, he was elected to Congress.
When he was 39, he ran for re-election to Congress and was defeated.
When he was 46, he ran for the Senate and was defeated.
When he was 47, he ran for Vice President and was defeated.
When he was 49, he ran for the Senate and was defeated.
And when he was 51, he was elected President of the United States.
This makes a good example because he is one of the most famous of presidents; and if he would have given up, we probably would never have heard of him and our country may have gone in a total different direction.
“A wonderful story is told of a minister who had a dream. In it he had a sledgehammer and every day he cracked it against a huge granite monument. Finally he gave up. He said, “I can’t do this anymore. I’m not making any difference.”
Then he heard a voice that said, “Hit it one more time.” With the next blow, the rock cracked in half.”
Never give up. That’s the moral of this story. We must keep on keeping on. The only time we get discouraged is when we think we are doing it alone and we don’t know how we’re going to go any further, how we can carry the baggage any longer.
We don’t know how we can overcome the great problems that are facing us. It’s that moment we need to hold the hand of God and say, “I can’t do it alone. I am walking with You. Take me one extra step.” After that step we ask God to take us another step. That way we can go on and get our energy back. We then have the strength not only to endure, but to transform our lives.
Inside each of us is a strength that God has given us. We all, and I mean all, have that connectedness with God. Whether you believe it or not, you now have it. Every once in a while everyone needs a pep talk to remind us of the power and the strength of God.
Within our minds there is a part of us that is like a mental prison that forces us to look at the negative, at our baggage. It forgets that there is One who can unlock that prison, the great power and the strength of God will flow through at any moment. All we have to do is open our hearts and ask. Have a pep talk with God.
It doesn’t matter where you hear the pep talk, either. There is a wonderful story about Notre Dame.
In 1924 Knute Rockney had laryngitis so bad that he couldn’t speak a word. Yet, he had to give a pep talk to his players. So, he decided that he would take his team to a room that was next to the room where the opposing team was. Their coach was one of the best pep-talkers in the world. He told his players that he couldn’t talk, but he told them to listen to the other coach’s message because it was true for them, too. After this, they went on to win the game.
Well, I invite you to listen to other ministers of other religions because the pep talk is the same.
Oh, we may have to change a word here and there to make the pep talk more personal and alive, but the Truth of God coming from every minister is about the all-present, good God that is available to you right where you are, a God that will make your moments so very special right now and make tomorrow better than ever before.
Do you want to go back and live in the past where you may have thought your problems were so much less and life was so much more worth living? “The Good Old Days” We might think that our problems today are so great that we just can’t carry that baggage around or overcome it. Well, alone we can’t. It takes a far greater mind and power than we possess alone. These are teaching opportunities for us to expand our minds to the limitless Mind of God and to reach to Him for solutions.
God is bigger than any of your problems. No matter what you’re facing, GOD IS BIGGER.
God can figure out a way when to your minds there seems to be no way. God can work out a solution, too, but you have to do your part. You have to consent and allow that God to work through your mind. Then you have to go out and follow His direction.
Thomas Edison once said, “Genius is one percent inspiration and 99% perspiration.”
Truly it is. You go to God first, and then you work and work and work as He directs. By holding the hand of God, you can overcome anything.
Edgar Allen Poe once said, “Those who dream by day are aware of many things that escape those who only dream at night.”
Become a daydreamer, who realizes there is no lack but a lack of faith in God. There is no sickness in the soul, but only a separation from God. Become the kind of dreamer who knows that you can go beyond where you have been, where you think you’re going and become something great for humanity and for yourself.
Bury that baggage and look to the future, using your past experiences as teachings from God.
With God, you can go beyond even your best yesterdays. With God, you can have the greatest gift of all, and that is a fresh start.
God creates your fresh start and makes the best tomorrows of your life.
May God Bless Your Tomorrows!