Stale Clothes

From the back seat of the car I hear, "Mama, something stinks!" As a mom of boys, I assume its just par for the usual course this particular morning en route to summer extracurriculars. However, we are in a hurry, always, so I don't have time to examine this proclamation from the back seat. I quickly attribute it to the usuals:  my two precious boys who STINK and put everything in their pockets including the once living & now very unfortunate small creatures, as well as,  once edible food. I also thought it may be another tale of "What is hiding under the seats?"  Old banana? Dirty socks...or worse?!

We had a schedule to keep and I was desperate to get to the gym after being out of town for a long weekend with no exercise!  Besides, I didn't really notice any menacing aromas.

After getting the children to their destinations, I made my way to the gym. I was headed to one of my favorite group cardio classes, which also happens to be a favorite for many people at the gym! It is always very crowded. Immediately, when I walked into the aerobics room, an unfavorable smell hit me! As the class went on, and the sweat was pouring throughout the room like a water park, I determined in my mind who was the exceptionally fragrant culprit! Fortuitously, the stinky individual was located in the proximity of my personal space! A  narrative started in my head and I began to feel a little sorry for this smelly athlete.  It became a huge distraction to me during the class. The longer I allowed the dialogue to go on in my mind, the stronger the smell became.

At the top of the hour, after finishing the class, I made a fast exit to escape the aroma of the aerobics room on a sweltering summer day! An aerobics room that has had A/C problems ALL summer. No A/C and lots of sweaty people are never a good combination. 

With to-do list in mind, I jumped in the car and headed towards home to grab a quick shower. And...there it was...the awful, lingering, fragrance of yuck!!  There it was- me, the car and the smell. That is when God did, what God does. He brought to mind the gym clothes I packed for my extremely quick weekend away. The gym clothes that I pulled from the dryer that were only about 80% dry. Dry enough to put in the suitcase for the flight, but wet enough to think I may need to rewash them when I arrived at my parents home in Ohio. The day I left for my weekend away was consistent with my life.  I was in a hurry and I didn't have anymore time to wait on the dryer.  I packed my good intentions of going to the gym while out of town but never actually made it there! 

When I arrived back to South Carolina, I catapulted back into our busy routine. I was in a rush to squeeze in a fleeting opportunity to fit in a quick work out.  Despite having a closet full of gym clothes, while unpacking my suitcase, I decided to put on the untouched, clean gym clothes in front of me -  fully forgetting about the backstory behind them. The strange thing is that there was never an alarming or unpleasant aroma in my suitcase.  But, let me assure you, by the time I was enlightened to the aroma of the once damp clothes I was wearing, God dealt with my spirit! 

Apparently, my nose deceived me just as I am able to deceive myself when I can "smell" the yuck in those around me and miss it in myself! I really didn't want to write about this little revelation God gave me. I fought it. Truth is He gave me a tremendous writer's block and kept bringing it to mind until I finally just surrendered to it this morning and said...Ok, I'm going to write about the Yuck. As a Christ follower, I like to talk about the ways God has deodorized my life, so to speak. I like to share about the trials I have already overcome because it's easier for the "yuck" to seem less yucky once there is victory over it.  But, I'm learning,  it is equally as important to recognize the current strongholds in my life that stink! It is so much easier, and honestly so much more comfortable,  to see it others. 

I've been asking God to reveal himself to me daily. He's doing it y'all. It doesn't always come in a pretty package. I used to always rely on Jeremiah 29:11 and stop. Chapter 29, verse 11 says,  "For I know the plans I have for you,  declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." However, when you read on in verse 12-13 it says, "Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all of you heart. " There are areas of my life that God is dealing with me in a real way. Those areas stink and he's reminding me of it.  The smell isn't coming from others. It's coming from me, clothes washed in the water, clean clothes - clean clothes that grew stale. 

Do you, like me, have some stale places to deal with?  Are you like me in that you restart your washer multiple times a day instead of just simply finishing the laundry? It's crazy but right now God is dealing with my heart through laundry. He's revealing to me places where mildew can grow and simply asking me..."When are you just going to finish the laundry? Move it to the dryer,  girl, and put it away!" You have to give the mildew a place to grow. So stop it! Finish the laundry. 

It's one thing to know God's word. It's an entirely different thing to do what it says. Good intentions can be a very dangerous thing. My good intentions were the catalyst of my stale clothes. And guess what, stale clothes, stink - whether you can smell them or not!

Matthew 7:3 "Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother's eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye?"