Have you ever wondered?
Have you ever thought about angels? You know, with all the references to “sweet aroma” and incense in the Bible, surely smell means a lot to God.
And He gave us (or at least most of us) a keen sense of smell. The thought of apple pie or banana bread in the oven might make us think of fall. Burning wood, sweet memories of camping or bon fires. Pinesol makes me think of a clean house. And … well, the smell of vomit almost makes me get sick, as well.
As my blood has boiled and my anger gotten stronger in the last twenty-four hours, for some reason, I began to think that Satan must really stink. I think his stench would be so overpowering and distinct that …. I would never forget it. ever.
There is a verse in Ephesians that says that the devil is “the prince of the power of the air.” I’ve heard different ideas about what that verse may mean, but what I KNOW for sure is that our words travel through the air. And I know that the enemy takes what you say and twists it before it reaches my ears so that I hear something that you didn’t mean. And he takes my ideas and distorts them so that you read them in a different flavor than they were intended.
When we commune with God daily … all day …. He is able to filter these things for us and we can see the best in others EVEN when they mean evil.
But, for some reason, this is very, very difficult for us when we are dealing with ideas about ourselves.
If you say something to someone else that could misinterpreted as unkind, we would be quick to say to that person, “I bet they meant …… so and so” or “I don’t think that is what she meant.” But, with ourselves, we allow this negative, nasty tape to run in our heads. We take what was said and add to it. We make it into more than it may have possibly even been intended. WHY do we do this?
Do men do this, too? Or is it just a “woman” thing?
If I had a mic and could give a speech to the world, I would choose to speak only to the women.
And I would say, “You are Beautiful.”
You are beautiful, as you are, where you are, through and through, inside and out. God made you unique. He made you lovely and He created you in His image. He made you special and gifted and unlike anyone else – and that’s a GOOD thing!!
Think of your own daughter …. (or imagine that you have one). If a “friend” of hers said to her some of the things that YOU say to YOURSELF, wouldn’t you tell your daughter, “Honey, she’s not really your friend if she talks like that to you.” What if her friend said,
“You can’t do anything right.
You never finish anything.
You’re so slow!!
You’re a klutz.
You’re a loser.
You’re ___________ (you fill in the blank).
I would tell my daughter to love her where she is, only speak kindness back to her
…. but distance herself from that girl. That girl is NOT her real friend.
So, why, oh WHY, do we allow the same kind of talk that we would recognize as unhelpful and unkind in someone else ….. to spin like a broken record with the needle on the vinyl in our own heads?
Why the rant? Why the frustration and anger?
Because, a friend wrote me and poured out her soul and all I can hear is
self-condemnation. She actually said that sometimes she feels like a “loser”. And I hate it. It makes me sooooo sad!!!! I hate the conversation she is having with herself in her head. I can smell it from here. It has a stench. It’s not from God … it’s from our enemy.
AND the enemy has, at least in part, used this blog (and the many others like it)
to kindle the idea and fan the flames of those burning thoughts.
Because like others, I crop my images to keep out the clutter and mess
(who wants to see THAT? I don’t!)
and I tell you the side of the story that I want you to hear
(because that is where I personally try to keep my own focus).
But, these habits cause life to look more beautiful for the viewer/reader
than they actually are in real life.
In other words, my “real life” (with cropped images)
looks cleaner and prettier than your “real life” (because you see behind the scenes).
But, in reality … my reality is no different from yours.
So, let’s go behind the scenes.
I am an artist. I am a photographer. I don’t just *snap* a photo. I position myself so the junk in the background is … not in the frame. I move stuff (A friend used to tease me. He’d say, “Oh, wait! Let me move that tree,” as I put people into position to take a photo) In my home … there are messes everywhere. And sometimes it takes creating a mess to clean things up. So, if you ever read THIS blog and you think how I have it all together and you don’t
…. let me take you behind the scenes.
Tonight, I’m having a dinner party for ten. I went ahead and set the date because I’ve been putting it off for at least a month. I keep waiting for “everything” to be presentable. Well, if I keep waiting … it never will be. So, I set a date. In less than twelve hours, we will have guests. This is what my house looks like RIGHT NOW.
I’ve been reglazing my bay windows …. the little boy down the street came by to chat over the weekend. He said, “So, you’re into month two, now, aren’t you?” Why yes, Cody!! I am! Aren’t you observant? I knew it would be hard …. time consuming … and tedious – it’s MUCH more than I had imagined. MuCh!!This is a piece of art that I started about two weeks ago.
I WOULD be finished with it …
but …. in order to finish it, I have to sift through this unsorted scrapbook paper. My idea incorporates strips of paper and I haven’t made the time to choose my papers. So, the project sits …. and waits ….
And here is my bed. My bed is made …. but it’s covered with pants. One pair after another that is too tight because I have put weight BACK on. Nice. Right?
And let’s don’t mention the STILL unpainted bedroom walls. shhhhhhhh…..
Here’s the hall (that needs to be vacuumed). Those two boxes have been there for …. two weeks? Oh. But they moved from MY bedroom floor BEFORE that. They need to go into the attic, but I can’t reach the push-up door without a stool. And I haven’t taken the time to get the ladder and put these away.
And THIS is my beautiful screened porch. (Want to see the before? Go HERE.) It WAS lovely … until my man/child started a project on his car. He’s installing a stereo that is requiring him to make all sorts of alterations to his door panels. So, his mess is everywhere … since we have no garage or workshop, our screened porch is the only outdoor covered, working spot on our property.
Oh. And along with the OUTDOOR project of glazing the windows, I’m working on the INDOOR project of painting the walls. So, this is what my den looked like yesterday afternoon at around 4pm.
Want to get really detailed? I have a ziploc bag of leaves that I use for decorating for fall. I thought I knew where the bag is stored, but I can’t find it. It’s probably under the house in the fall decorations crate. I haven’t gone under there to search …. so even the candle arrangement on my dining table is unfinished.
But … I’ve gotten HUGE amounts done here in our home. Most of the time, there is only one mess … or possibly two. This is just a season. In fact, by tonight at 6pm, dinner will be on the table, the clothes will be put away, the boxes will be in the attic, windows will be cleaned (I finished glazing last night), I’ll find that bag of leaves and complete my table decoration. James is in charge of cleaning up his porch debris. Joy will vacuum. And I finished painting the bottom half of the den walls last night. I just need to put the furniture back in place.
And … if I can pull it off … I’m going to TRY to AT LEAST pick out the paper that I want to use on this project.
All this is just to say that …..
I have messes. I’m just like you. I stall. I put things off. I take on too much at once.
I no longer beat myself up.
I do what I can. I try not to have too many projects going at once.
Most of all – I look for the good. I don’t see the pile of clothes I can’t wear; I see that I am blessed with food to eat. I don’t see messy windows; I see glass that keeps out the cold, when some people are homeless. I don’t see boxes/clutter in my hall; I see boxes for new equipment for the love and creative gift that God has given me in photography. I don’t see a pile of papers; I see a stack of wonderful patterns to use to create and I thank God as most was from an exciting find at a yard sale.
Know that I am angry at the enemy on your behalf. Know that I’m asking God to REMIND ME over and over to pray for each of you. I will pray that God will use my words to you be aware of that stinky, stench of expectations that God doesn’t put upon you and self-talk that is unkind and NOT from Him. Know that there is no condemnation in Him. Don’t beat yourself. Do what you can. Change what you can … and change your attitude about the rest.