Stinky towels: I think everyone has had the displeasure of smelling a towel that, even though it's clean, still has a funk to it. The kind of funk that won't go away no matter how many times you wash it in hot water.
Over the years I've has several conversations with friends about stinky towels and have discovered two things. 1. Most people start adding extra fabric softener to cover the smell. 2. Fabric softener is one of the most common culprits of said stank because it causes build up on the fibers of the towels. (Google it to get all the sciencey details) This morning as I was folding towels and thankful that I learned to lay off the fabric softener years ago (I used to be a Downey addict), it hit me how so often in life we try and cover the stank with some stronger perfume. We do this physically, emotionally and even spiritually... Have you ever had to go out somewhere but didn't had a chance to shower first so your spritz yourself with a little smell good before heading out the door? I know I have and do often. I drive a wonderful Jeep Wrangler that is so much fun, except when you're headed to meet a guy wanna wow with your newest dress & kitten heels or you're headed to church and will have to sit next to someone for an hour and it's a hot Georgia summer day. I learned early on that as a jeep girl, Chanel is one of my best friends (I'm partial to Mademoiselle myself) because it really is some good stuff. But I didn't come to this conclusion easily. In fact when I started using Chanel it was because my other brand had been discontinued in the states and I didn't want to have to order it from an online company I didn't know in another country. So the search began. I tried everything. It took a few months and many cosmetic counters to discover I was crazy about Chanel. First of all the smell isn't too overpowering, fruity or citrusy. It just a light, pleasant smell that is unassuming in it's effectiveness. I don't know about you, but I'm not a fan of overly floral scents. One of my pet peeves is being out on a running or hiking trail, smiling at someone coming the opposite way with the traditional "mornin'" (in the south we don't bother with the good in front of it because it's implied). Then as they pass I get a whiff of some sticky, sweet smell that causes me to sneeze. So I decided early on that I didn't want anything too overpowering. I did want something strong though. A perfume that, although unassuming in it's initial encounter, had the staying power to last throughout the day. A friend once told me you know a good perfume when you don't smell it but other people do. So after deciding I wanted some quality perfume, I hit the department stores until I found the one that was just right. If only it was as easy to pick a perfume as it was for Goldilocks to pick her porridge of choice. And even though I put this much effort into my physical perfume, this morning I started thinking of the other perfume I used to put on to cover emotional stink... For a while excessive alcohol was a scent of choice. If I could just keep the buzz going long enough and dance the night away, then I wouldn't have to deal with the fact I wasn't content with where my life had taken me. For the longest time, cigarettes were also a perfume of choice. I know, big jump from smelling like stale tobacco to a sophisticated lady, but the cigarette smell was more to deter people than attract them. As long as I was puffing out smoke, no one could really get close to me. Not only physically in my case, but I would use my need for a cigarette as an excuse to leave uncomfortable situations. I was a chain smoker and known as such, so just would head outside. But around 22 I gave up those two scents and discovered I had other, even more dangerous scents I used to cover the stench of my inner self. Sarcasm and humor: I used to be hysterical. But the problem was it came at the expense of others. Then one day someone mentioned in one of those old Facebook quizzes that I was sarcastic funny and not haha funny and God used it as a mirror to look deep within. (Now, as a side note, I'm still pretty sarcastic and enjoy pointing of the obvious, but not at other people's expense). When I felt God showing me how I used humor to take any attention off people seeing the real me, I realized something had to change. I am so thankful that I serve a God who has told us time and again in His Word that He is the one who does the changing. We must just ask and allow Him to change us. It's not an easy process, but a beautiful one that has left me with the desire to not hide behind any more scents, well at least for long. Now it doesn't take long for me to become aware of my hiding before I ask God to get to the root and allow me to live in more freedom. I'm not so naive to think there's nothing I hide behind. I'm sure those closest to me can tell you what I use to keep them at bay or others from seeing what causes me shame. That's just part of being human. But I am so thankful God gets us to a place of awareness. He loves us enough to put the emotional mirrors in front of us so we see our hiding, or anger, or shame for what it is. And in His loving goodness He waits for us to invite Him into it to bring His healing. This is a great thing because unlike towels, once we've been filled with some nastiness, we have the hope that we will smell good again and have the opportunity to bring our fresh aroma to the lives of other around us.