Stinkin’ up the room
Have you ever walked into a room and known right away that something was just a little off? It’s just like a putrid odor was released and suddenly everything smells like it. I mean you were just coming in from smelling the roses and now your nostrils have been attacked. Your deepest desire is to quickly find the source of the smell and get rid of it. But what if you can’t…
No, I am not talking about dirty diapers or bad dog gas. I’m talking about attitude. Bad attitude! Attitude is the atmosphere we each carry around. Each one of us has our own unique atmosphere. Sometimes we wear the fragrance of flowers or dew drops or fresh-cut grass and sometimes we wear the stench of mildew or dirty socks or roadkill. And as you well know, others can smell your fragrance. There are fragrances that blend nicely and create an aroma like walking into an Italian restaurant…roasting tomatoes, garlic and onions and fresh baked bread. Or, one fragrance can take over and dominate the room, like opening a container that has been lost in the back of the fridge for way too long. Suddenly, you can smell nothing else.
The thing with attitude is that it’s catchy. If a sourpuss is in the room, their grumpiness can spread to anyone that comes in close contact. Even the phone can be a carrier. You know that saying…if Momma ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy. Well, there is a reason this statement is true. Moms are usually the epicenter of the home. When Mommy is crabby, those around her become collateral damage. Husband, kids, even friends can fall prey to her atmosphere. Mom can also cause rays of sunshine to break through the cloudiest of days.
Because our own atmospheres can get easily infected it is important to pay attention to how we react to things around us. When the kids are whining and crying and the messy house is screaming at you, you can easily get frustrated or angry or you can laugh about it. I once read that you can’t be angry if you are tickling someone or being tickled. I have tried this with my kiddos and it is so true. Instead of grumpiness taking over things lighten up. Joy inserts itself into your atmosphere. Sure it really doesn’t solve any of the problems, but sometimes all you need is a different outlook.
What to do if you don’t have someone around to tickle with? It has been suggested that if you start to make yourself laugh it will eventually turn into a real laugh. I know my dad has tried this and gone from a fake laugh into a genuine belly laugh. I myself like to try praise. For chains that seem to bind you, fall powerless behind you when you praise Him. Usually when I am in a stinky mood I can’t just start coming up with spontaneous praise. So, I use Psalm 103:1-5 especially verse one. ‘Bless the LORD, O my soul: and all that is within me, bless His holy name.’ I start here and just say this verse over and over in different ways…emphasizing the different words. It’s often not easy, but it is so worth it.
Often we get infected because we just react instead of taking a moment. There is nothing wrong with stopping before speaking. Breathe deep and allow yourself a moment to see what is really going on. See the truth of the day. Be the lighthouse in the raging storms of life that are all around. Allow yourself to smell like chocolate chip cookies coming out of the oven. Next time someone calls you and you can smell the stench through the phone, don’t let it change your atmosphere, instead offer them a bouquet of gardenia and allow them to be infected by you.
This seems like such a simple concept…as in don’t worry, be happy. I’m not talking about hakuna matata…I’m just saying life can be much more joyful if we focus on how we can influence instead of how we are being influenced. And since the joy of the Lord is our strength the more we allow His joy in the stronger we become. I know I want to be strong for my family. I know I don’t have enough strength on my own. I know that when I allow myself to carry the fragrance from on high I am much more delightful to be around.
So, I have just one question for you. What fragrance are you wearing today?