In The Princess and the Pea, Hans Christian Andersen tells the story of a prince who wanted to marry a true princess. The test of whether a maiden was actually a princess and not just masquerading as royalty was how she slept upon a stack of twenty mattresses and twenty eider-down beds. If she slept well, then the counterfeit was exposed. If she slept poorly or not at all, the prince found his true princess, his bride. Because “Nobody but a real princess could be as sensitive as that…”

I am that princess. Ok…maybe not quite. But, for starters, I “sleep” (if you can call it that) on a Sleep Number® bed set to a very low setting. A Memory Foam® pad is the next layer. On top of that I have…you guessed it…an eider-down bed (or something close to it). I then have three feather pillows cradling my precious princess head–each preferred for the specific “fluff level” (including “little pillow” which is for nestling around both sides of my head and face as I lay on my back). Add to this, three down comforters over the top of me and there you have it…my bedding.Whatcha think? 🙂

Tomorrow morning, while the world is still sleeping (as all should be), my family and I will be heading to the airport, to board an airplane for the other end of this glorious country of ours. We are going to Florida.

Now I have traveled with all my bedding before. In fact, this will be the first time in a long while that I have gone anywhere and not taken much of my bedding with me. Even still, I will cheat…I have plans to smuggle two of my three pillows and an inflatable air mattress on board to pull out in a pinch should I not be able to sleep.

When I consider what a light sleeper I am even with all my “special bedding” and the fact that no one can take care of my four horses, two dogs and chinchilla as well as *I* can, it is no small wonder that I rarely leave the homestead. I am a definite home body. I need my special bed and I need my special pets–or they need me. (I like to think they do….) 🙂

In the rare instance I go anywhere, I have a tendency to pack enough for an extended overseas voyage…Now that airlines are beginning to limit how many pieces of luggage passengers can check, I can’t really justify the extra suitcase with all the down comforters and such in it. :-/ Nuts.

When traveling someplace within driving distance, I have even been known to take my box fan–one of those big ones. I sleep with it running all night for “white noise.” (Am I not the premier princess of the century? LOL!) I can’t really go to Florida with my family tomorrow carting a fan with me…

All this to say, I have promised myself (and my husband) that I will try my best to streamline my packing this time (all except for the pillows and the air mattress! LOL!). Going to Florida (including DisneyWorld) for 11 days will challenge me…But I know I can rise to the challenge (er…I think). I find myself sifting…and being rather firm…”How much do I need this?” (“A LOT” is usually the answer…I have to be ruthless and ignore my own pleas…) “NO! It stays home!”

In the past, I have taken favorite foods, favorite beverages, and all kinds of things…I was “afraid” of being uncomfortable, hungry, thirsty, of being “put out” in any way. I see now just how spoiled I have acted all these years!

God has been showing me that he wants me to learn how to trust him. To pack less “baggage”–as that is what it really amounts to being. Will I lean on Him? Or will I lean on what is familiar and drag it all with me? You know, carting it all with me really IS inconvenient…not just for me, but it can also be a bother to my family–as they have to step in to help me when I am rushing to get all my junk off a conveyor belt and am being buried beneath the stack I create!

Can you see where this is going? The very thing that God wants of me relative to my packing for this trip to the east coast is the same as that which He desires in my spiritual and emotional life. I have a preference. It is to pack all my experiences with me…good and bad…and cart them around and let them define my current and future experiences. For instance, I had two years of “success” relative to my eating and releasing weight and keeping it off. It is so easy to pack that up and cart it with me now as the Lord leads me on down this road. He is showing me that this is weighing me down, too. If I carry that with me, I will keep comparing myself now to what I was like then.

He wants to do a NEW thing now and as long as I keep comparing myself NOW to what I USED to be, it is yet another voice of condemnation that keeps me from moving forward unfettered.

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, 
let us throw off everything that hinders 
and the sin that so easily entangles, 
and let us run with perseverance 
the race marked out for us.

-Hebrews 12:1 (Emphasis added).

God is calling me to throw off everything that hinders. Even if it is stuff that was great in the past. He wants me to set it aside and be free from carting it with me. It hinders me just as my bedding baggage can weigh me down. Those experiences of my past–like my bedding–seem to be “good” things…but nevertheless, they hinder me from experiencing what God has for me now.

Am I open to the adventure that is ahead? What if I actually let go of the “But I used to be….” or the “I did such and such” and so on…and instead look to the Lord in this moment NOW and what he wants to be and do NOW in my life and show me how to be and do NOW that to which he calls?

What if I DO lose some sleep because I don’t have all my special bedding with me? Is there, perhaps, some possibility that God might meet me in that place of need and fellowship with him might be sweeter than, even, a good night’s sleep?

If I want to experience the new thing that God has for me, I must release my hold on what came before. He can’t pour into arms which are already full.

Off I go…there is packing to be done. The lady that is coming to stay with all the pets will have an incredibly soft, comfortable bed to sleep in this week! 🙂