Some women are all about the shoes. But I am all about the purses. I absolutely love handbags, and up until about a year ago, I switched purses almost daily and could easily carry a different bag every day for three months. I’ve downsized a lot, but at one time, I had an entire closet dedicated to my purses. And while I almost never pay retail (preferring to shop consignment), my favorite brand is Kate Spade.
In 2000, Kate Spade published a book called Contents, and a friend gave me a copy. (Since I know some men read this, I don’t want to exclude you. While the women will think about their purses, please think about your wallets and pockets.)
The book invited women to share the contents of their purses. The contents were photographed and listed. While some may think it’s a crazy idea for a book, it was fun and quirky, and one of the reasons Kate Spade bags have always been my favorite. The pictures show a hodgepodge of stuff from wallets, cash, makeup, water bottles, pencils, cell phones, bus and subway passes, passports, candy wrappers, etc.
It’s a photo essay of what a lot of women do—shove things in our bags and let it all stay there.
How true that is—both literally and figuratively.
And as is clear from the reports of her suicide in June, Kate Spade was familiar with being weighed down by the contents of life. I don’t want to speak about her personal situation, since that would be complete speculation on my part. But instead, I want to put a challenge out there, inspired by Kate Spade and her book, Contents.
If someone took a look at our own emotional contents of life—what would they find? Anxiety? Sadness? Insecurity? Pride? Jealousy? Shame? Bitterness? Loneliness?
And if we were asked to share the stories behind our emotional contents, what would we say? Most of us don’t want to share those things. We’ve shoved them down, into deep pockets, and we want to move forward, but the bag keeps getting heavier. It cuts into our shoulders as we try to function with what feels like the weight of the world on our backs.
But here’s the truth—we weren’t meant to carry these bags. In Matthew 11:28-30, Jesus says, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light.”
It doesn’t mean the contents disappear, but it means He’s willing to carry the weight. He wants us to lean into Him and trust Him with the contents of our emotional lives and day-to-day responsibilities.
Plus, He already knows us, including the contents of our hearts and minds. In Jeremiah 1:5a, God says, “I knew you before I formed you in your mother’s womb.”
While this has been an exercise in looking inward, let’s shift back to looking outward. People all around us — both women and men — are carrying heavy emotional bags they don’t need to carry. So many are hurting, and so many need help carrying their loads. Jesus is ready anytime we ask. And there’s no one better qualified than He is!
Jesus wants to filter through the contents and replace the heavy things with easier-to-carry things like love. Joy. Peace. Hope. Trust. Forgiveness. Life. Eternal life through Him.
He’s already paid the price. We just need to trust Him and let Him take care of us as He’s promised to do.
Once we accept His gift, Jesus is there to help us carry the load. All we need to do is ask Him to take it, then surrender to Him all that weighs us down. Through faith, trust, and confidence in Jesus, He can sort through our emotional contents and leave us with something far better.