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Tuesday, October 14, 2014

What Stinks?

Photo Credit:  xandert from
One of the little pleasures that I love in this life is a trip to Bath & Body Works®.  With coupons in hand, I search the store shelves for fun, fresh scents that will help welcome the advent of a new season.  The items that I particularly enjoy are the foaming hand soaps, shower gels, wallflowers, and lotions.

A couple of weeks ago, we were completely out of hand soaps, so I had a great excuse to head to town.  I was in the mood for fall flavors, so I found things like Pumpkin Cupcake, Cozy Vanilla Cream, Golden Autumn Citrus, and Sweet Cinnamon Pumpkin.  Yum!  It was my lucky day since they were giving away one free hand soap “just because.”  Woo-hoo!  So, I quickly grabbed another comfy, autumn soap and was out the door.

When I got home, I excitedly placed a different hand soap at each of our sinks.  Then, I couldn’t wait to wash my hands, so I started peeling pears for a new Pear Crisp recipe I wanted to try.  After peeling half of my first pear, my hands were just plain filthy (Sort of…hee hee!), so I eagerly washed them with my Pumpkin Pecan Waffles hand soap.  Doesn’t that name sound delicious?  I thought so too.  But, then…for some reason…I wasn’t so sure.

I usually fall in love with all of the soaps I pick out.  Heck, I’ve loved them all so much that I don’t even smell them before I buy them.   I just grab and go.  Maybe I should have sniffed this one this time.  However, not wanting to rashly judge this soap too soon, I kept rollin’ along with my day.

I didn’t say anything to my husband about the new kitchen soap so that I wouldn’t plant any bad seeds.  I wanted to see what his unbiased opinion would be.  After he helped me with the supper dishes (I adore that man!), he washed his hands.  With the soap.  I scrutinized his facial expressions.  Maybe a nostril flare and an eyebrow raise, but not much besides that.  I continued to wait.

After two days of using the soap, he confessed, “You know…I don’t care for this soap at all.  It really stinks.  Yep.  It stinks.”  I agreed.  Then my children chimed in, “Yeah!  It stinks!”  We all agreed that the Pumpkin Pecan Waffles soap made us smell like we dove into a vat of syrup and ate stacks of pancakes and waffles with our fingers.  Total maple madness, just minus the sticky. 

Then, because of the long-lasting syrup smell, we felt like our hands were an icky mess and should be washed again.  So, we washed.  Again.  And again.  It was a vicious cycle really.  I’ll give credit where credit is due - the staying power of that scent is pretty amazing.  Too bad, it wasn’t really a smell that we wished to linger on and on.  It was our first epic hand soap fail.

I took the soap back to the store to exchange it (they are super awesome about that 100% guaranteed thing!), then I did a quick online search to see if our family was the only one out there that was turned off by the syrupy scent.  We weren’t.  I laughed until tears ran down my cheeks when I read some of the reviews.  We had been there.  We were certainly not alone on this one.

Oh goodness.  Syrup with breakfast, lunch, and dinner anyone?  What stinks?!  Our hands, that’s what!  Heh.

You know what else sometimes stinks?  The way we think.

In our Bible Study last week, we discussed what Matthew Kelly calls, “Stinking Thinking.”  Mr. Kelly says, “Even though God has given us incredible minds to reason with, we still do a lot of stinking thinking.”

Mr. Kelly said that much of the time, we fall prey to stinky thinking like…What’s in it for me?  If it feels good, do it.  What’s the least I can do?  These thought processes can sabotage us by making us feel greedy, selfish, isolated, and lazy.

If we want to rid ourselves of stinky thoughts, we need to wash them away...but whatever you do, please don’t use the waffle soap.  No, seriously, if we want to wash away the thoughts that stink, then we should pray for the ability to recognize truth, beauty, and goodness.  Our soul hungers and thirsts for these things.  The thoughts, words, and actions that inspire us and others to be more Christ-like are far from stinky.

In our Bible Study, we also walked away with six easy words to remember:  Just do the next right thing.  We don’t have to overwhelm ourselves with every detail of our future.  Only God knows how that will be.  We can release that burden now.  However, we can focus on baby steps, like choosing the next right thing.  With God’s grace, I know we can be successful.

Have you ever thought, “There’s no way that I can make a difference.  There’s no way that I can inspire.  I’m just one person.  Just little ole me.  I can’t do great things.  That’s impossible.  I’m not strong enough.  I’m not brave enough.  I’m not smart enough.  I’m not pretty enough.  I’m not good enough.  I’m.  Not.  Enough.”

Prime example of stinky thinking.  Negative to the core.

I read a wonderfully encouraging post by Pastor Andy this week called, “No Small Thing.”  It resonated with me on many levels.  At times, I’ve felt like he felt.  In my tiny corner of the blog world, I too, am small potatoes when compared to other Christian writers who have tens of thousands of facebook likes and blog followers.

But, like Pastor Andy reminds us, “Who despises the day of small things? (Zechariah 4:10).  When it comes to God and our service to Him, there are no small things.”   Pastor Andy encourages us with reminders that taking our children to church make heaven’s angel choirs break into song.  And the quiet prayers we say at night?  They powerfully affect the course of our life and the lives of others.  When we lovingly cook for our family or clean the house or toil away at a tedious job – whenever we faithfully live and work for God and others – God smiles and the angels sing.  Our service to God is never a small thing.  Thank you so much for the needed reminder, Pastor Andy!

Potatoes, big or small, can still nourish the body.  Right?  And, even when we feel like we are “small potatoes,” we can still nourish a soul or ten or twenty.  Right?  Right.  Every soul touched by the gospel by seeing and feeling Christ through others is a very big thing indeed!  There’s nothing stinky about that!

Like the syrupy-sweet smell that lingered on our hands, so too does stinky thinking linger if we let it.  Let’s say NO to stinky thinking this week.  Anytime a stinky thought tries to find its way in, let’s put our hand out and say, “No!  You are NOT welcome here!” 

We can do this!

Have a great week, Sunshines!

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