i went for another run this morning and as i sat here checking the distance of my run and entering data into my running log, i became aware of an odor. so i started looking around me to see what could be smelling bad. is it the bread that james and are planning to feed to the ducks on of these days (yeah, are we so 80 or what!)? is the garbage? what the heck?
i finally realized it was me. this is MY stink. runny, sweaty, smelly, haven’t-showered-since-who-the-heck-knows-when stink (fyi, i showered after my last run, this was a mild exaggeration).
isn’t that so true with our lives, though? we all really want to believe that we have sweet smelling lives. lives that shower every day. lives that are a pleasant aroma to those around us. however, sometimes, i smell something that stinks and i begin looking everywhere to discover it. everywhere except at myself. it’s only once i’ve exhausted all other places that my life could stink that i finally look at myself. sometimes it doesn’t even take that long. once the realization hits that i only smell it when i move… i figure it out.
i’m part of a bible study right now through my church and the task, assignment, whatever you want to call it for this week is to sit down and write out all the things about yourself that are hurtful to you, hurtful to others, and hurtful to God. basically, it’s to write down everything that’s wrong with you of which you are aware and then to ask God to reveal even more. it’s difficult, to say the least. it’s unpleasant. however, as i’ve done this before, it’s EXTREMELY rewarding once it’s all over because i start to see those unpleasant things in my life. i start to see the things that stink, the things that perhaps other people dislike, the things that continue to hurt me in my own life.
i’m the leader for this week, which means it’s my job to look things over, preview the dvd, know the material, usher it in, all that stuff. and as the really great leader i am, i have to admit, i haven’t started my list yet. mostly because i forgot about it. i let it slip from my mind. i thought today was going to be a relaxing day full of whatever cari wants to do, but the reality is, i have a LOT to do today. OUTSIDE of this study as well. things that i’ve been procrastinating, things that really, honestly, need to get done (showering being on TOP of that list). of course, i’d much rather sit around, play some video games, watch a movie, do nothing. however, i feel that would only contribute to that life stink. this list, this assignment, this task, is one way that i can begin to remove those kinds of stinks and smells from my life. getting things done around the apartment, getting ready for school, heck, even cleaning up a little – these are all ways that i can contribute to being a pleasant aroma to my husband (and help the apartment have a pleasant aroma too).
during most of my schooling years, i didn’t have this kind of awareness, this desire to improve myself. i’m realizing that i was living out maslow’s hierarchy of needs. i was poor, was never really positive that i’d have enough money to pay all my bills, wasn’t eating well, all of those things. my lower, basic needs weren’t really being met, at least not in my mind at the time. looking back, i see how God had His hand there all the time, making sure that i had what i needed. i didn’t feel secure. now, i know that all my basic needs are being met. we always have food in the apartment, always have money for food, for bills, for everything we need. it’s as though my mind is free now to work on the higher aspects of life. i’m working toward that self-actualization, fulfilling my potential, being all that i can be, pursuing talents and using them, all of these things. i’m finally able to think about making myself a better person. i’m finally able to say no to the things that aren’t the best for me and saying yes to things that are. i’m able to say ‘i don’t want to be in your group’ and i don’t necessarily have to give a reason. the freedom of being able to make those kinds of decisions and not AGONIZE over them is amazing. the freedom to be everything that God made me to be.
with that freedom, of course, comes responsibility. responsible for doing what i need to do to achieve the goals set before. the responsibility of doing something about the stink. the responsibility of being human, a woman, a wife, a friend, a daughter, a sister, a fellow Christ-follower. all of these things. i embrace the responsibility (most of the time) and honestly, i can’t wait to see what ends up on this list and what comes of it. i really believe that God has something really great in store for me today.