Tony Miltenberger is a husband, father, and follower of Christ. He is currently serving as the lead pastor at Restoration Church Centerville, ohio.

Baggage Claim: 5 Things You Can Do To Identify Your Baggage

The next four blogs will be centered on the sermon series at Centerville UMC. You can watch all the replays here and join us for church on Sunday at 9 or 11am. The series is called Separated and it is about all the things that make us feel separated from God.

This past week we kicked off the series by talking about the baggage that comes from our family, friends, and all the other influences in our lives.  As we left church on Sunday morning, I found myself wrestling with this question: How do we know exactly what our baggage is? As a result, I thought I would share some of the ways that I have identified (and continue to identify) my every day baggage.


1.     Watch the people that raised you. Good news, if the person that raised you is still around all you need to do is to watch them closely. You picked up the majority of your baggage, and your coping skills, from them. While it isn’t a foolproof way to identify you own traits, it is a good start. Pay special attention to something that annoys you about your parents, because it is probably something that lives inside of you as well.

2.     Journal your emotions for at least one week. Journaling gives you a record of everything that has happened. When you journal your emotions you can really look at what event triggered what emotion. Chances are good that you’ll find a pattern, and in that pattern you’ll start to uncover deep stuff.

3.     Ask a friend who loves you enough to be honest. This one can be tricky, because if you ask the wrong friend they are going to give you the standard answer, “What baggage?” You need to find that friend who is brave enough to be honest with you. You might even want to give them a disclaimer about what you are looking for. If you give them permission, they could show you something you might never see on your own.

4.     Seek professional help. I’m a big fan of this one. I have been seeing a counselor for the past two years and it is one of the true gifts I give myself. My counselor has access to the dark places in my life and because of that he has a clearer picture of my baggage than most. I trust him, and because of that I walk away feeling much better.

5.     Pray fervently for God to reveal it. Prayer is one of the crucial tools in unlocking truth. Prayer is a tool that positions your heart to see what God has in store. Praying for wisdom as it pertains to your baggage will give you a new vision to what may (or may not) be holding you back.


Just know that this stuff isn’t for the weak. It takes a tremendous amount of work to understand what you are carrying with you and how it impacts the relationships you are in. Once you do the work it will begin not only to change you, but to change those around you.

So, I have to ask: What baggage are you carrying?

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