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Do You Stink?

Do You Stink?

Recently the power went out in the building where I work and I wound up having to do three counseling sessions via candlelight that night.  The candle lighting was subtle, however, the fumes from the five different candles were so overwhelming that they overpowered my sense of smell.  I was so overcome by the fumes to the point that I questioned whether I was high by the end of the evening.  One scent may have been tolerable over the course of three hours, but five different scents were toxic. I had that smell burned into my olfactory sense for days!

Since that evening, I have been thinking of the aroma that I and others emit.  We know we can be overpowered by someone’s bad breath or body odor, but we can also be overpowered by someone’s “emotional” smell.  Sometimes the emotional aroma is so powerful that it can affect those with whom we share life. How do we “emotionally smell” to others?  I tell my family when they are emitting unpleasant physical smells so that they have the opportunity to do something about their aroma.  The truth is that unless you are middle school boy who finds terrible smells amusing because you can annoy others, most people do not want to smell unpleasant to others.

I remember the days of my perfectionism when it came to entertaining people in our home.  Nobody in our home except our guests experienced the event with great joy because the aroma of tension, anger, and anxiety filled our house before our guests arrived. I needed things to be perfect!  My family was forced to take in my unresolved emotional issues of perfectionism and they had to experience the unpleasant aroma I was producing.  Fast forward twenty plus years, and I and my family are in a much different place. I have empowered them to tell me their feelings when my behavior aroma is negatively impacting them.

Here are the steps you need to take to create a more pleasing aroma in your relationships:

1. Talk about and use vulnerable feeling words within your home. This will enable your children to learn the language of feelings at a young age. Then, they can openly talk about the unpleasant things they are experiencing from you instead of acting out their emotions.

2. Permit your family and friends to let you know when you stink.

3. Take the feedback given to you and ask yourself if there is a way you can be a more pleasing aroma. You may need to work on your issues to eliminate those unpleasant emotional aromas!

4.  Don’t make excuses for the way you smell by blaming it on others or by focusing on someone else’s smell.  If you want to be a pleasing aroma, you need to work on your own scent.

5.  If someone else stinks, you have a choice of how much you allow their unpleasant aroma to affect you.  If you walk in relationship with them, you are responsible for telling them about their offensive aroma. However, it is not your job to convince them of their smell or tell them what to do with it. You only have to choose how close you sit to them.

God calls us to be a pleasing aroma.  He says in Ephesians 5:1-2 “Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children. And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.”

Recently, a rare bird has been spotted in my neighborhood and neighbors have spent the last weeks hosting hundreds of bird watchers from all over the United States and Canada. Over 900 visitors have visited and signed the guestbook, and neighbors are all a little confused over the fascination that would cause someone to travel thousands of miles to view a bird. I have to admire their passion that drives them to spend time and money to seek out that which fulfills their dreams. How are you at investing in your dreams for your future? Do you spend time and energy on moving toward your dreams or do you just wish you could move toward your dreams? For most people, they know what their dreams are, but they don’t know what keeps them powerless and unmoving. Powerlessness can be likened to an invisible chasm in which you don’t know where it starts and you don’t know where it stops. Therefore, you wait until the fog clears to get a better view only to realize that the only way you are going to get a clearer view is to change your perspective. You need to go higher above the fog line by inviting the higher power of God into your sight line, or go deeper below the surface you are standing on and get below the fog line. Sometimes the most powerful thing we can do for ourselves is to understand what is the below the fog line; the aspects of our past and that of our parents that keep us from walking forward. I usually do a family genogram with people during our first information gathering session where I draw out the family tree on the whiteboard for people to see the feeds from their past that get into their sight line. Rare is the person that doesn’t see something that they never saw before as their history it is now in their sight line on the whiteboard. Rare is the person that does not have fog removed from their eyes when they seek to understand their past from a different perspective. Sometimes one just needs to see things below the fog line to get clarity on how to move forward. In my case, one of my empowerments came from understanding how repeated patterns of treatment from my abusive grandmother caused me to interact with my world, bond with my world, share in my world,etc. When I came to see that much of my perfectionism was tied to the beatings and verbal abuse I received for mistakes I made as a child, I could finally learn to take the fog of perfectionism out of my sight line. Before digging deeper and going below the fog line, I knew I was a people pleaser, and I knew God did not want me to live there, but there was trauma tied to mistakes that needed to be rooted out so that trauma responses were not fogging up my sight line. God wants us to achieve our dreams. He desires to us to flourish and grow because he is the one who created us. He is cheering us on to walk in power and authority and move toward our dreams, but we may have to look at some things from our past that are hidden below the surface so that we can clearly see how to walk forward.

Psalm 20:4 “May he give you the desire of your heart and make all your plans succeed.”
Psalm 33:11 “But the plans of the Lord stand firm forever, the purposes of his heart through all generations.”
Psalm 37:4-5 “Take delight in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart.