Ever explore how full and gross a used vacuum bag can be?  Ok, I know.  Why would anybody really do that unless they accidentally vacuumed something they needed to retrieve?  Or maybe someone’s doing this in a vacuum quality control lab somewhere for research purposes?

Vacuum by Shannon Warden

Vacuum bags remind us–we need to lighten our load to run more efficiently.

We have a terrific Oreck vacuum that we’ve had for 15 years.  It still runs like a champ even though I’m always trying to maximize my use of vacuum bags.  (That’s code for I’m frugal and don’t want to spend more money than I have to on vacuum bags!)

The other day, I thought, “I’ve got to change this bag.”  It was just before that moment where it becomes smelly.  The smell test is how I judge when it’s time to change the bag.  How about you?  When do you change your vacuum bag?  Don’t embarrass me by telling me “once a month.”

So, I changed the bag, and it dawned on me—“this vacuum cleaner is so much lighter!”  In my “commitment” to maximize the vacuum bag’s use, and possibly somewhat because of procrastination, I hadn’t really even noticed how much heavier the vacuum had become under the weight of the over-filled vacuum bag.  I possibly had also become so accustomed to its steadily increasing weight that I just carried on, vacuuming, getting the job done and never really stopping to notice the weight difference.

Valuable vacuum cleaner lessons

I could take this story in a few different directions, but I’m just going to cut to the chase.  We’re like vacuum bags sometimes.  We steadily take on more than we should and fail to realize the toll our load is taking on us.  In fact, we become accustomed to heavy loads and forget what it’s like to live with and enjoy a lighter load.  We’ll only remember and enjoy the freedom of a lighter load when we “take a load off,” or let some things go.

What do you need to let go of?

On a practical level, you and I may need to let go of a community service or church committee that we’re part of.  We may need to cut back some of the over-involvement in sports or other extracurricular events that our children are involved in and that take away from ours and their rest time.  We may need let go of or re-prioritize some projects at work or home so that we’re not filled to capacity with heavier loads than we’re really able to carry in this season of our lives.

I don’t know what you might need to let go of?  But, I hope you’re thinking about some possibilities. It’s not that these are necessarily undesirable activities or investments.  They’re probably valuable in many ways, and that’s possibly one of the reasons you’ve kept going as long as you have—you wanted to maximize your capacity to its fullest.  At some point, though, we recognize we’ve exceeded our capacity.  We then have to make a choice—will we lighten our load, or will we continue on until we’re perhaps no longer as effective in one way or another?

What’s in your vacuum bag?

Ok, so I confess.  After replacing my vacuum bag with a new one, I took the approximately now 5 pound used vacuum bag outside and cut into it to see just what was in there.  Gross stuff.  That’s what was in there!  The picture tells the story!  I need to change my bag more often, I know!  Of course, this blog came from that over-filled vacuum bag, so there’s at least that positive!

I could go on, but you get the point.  Better that our load be light and our efficiency and enjoyment maximized than our load be heavy and us not even realize how bogged down we are in our self-care, relationships, work, ministry, etc.

It may be time for you to take a load off.  You might be surprised how freeing a lighter load can be!

Scripture to live (and vacuum) by

Jesus had much to say about lightening our load in life.  As you think about lightening your load, consider His words in Matthew 11:28-30

“’Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest.’  Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.  ‘For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.’”

That’s a pretty compelling invitation.  Think on that as you start planning and then following through with lightening your load.

Thanks for reading!

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Scripture references in this article are from the New American Standard Bible and linked to www.Biblegateway.com.