Thursday, December 31, 2009

Striving To Smell Like God

Hello P31 subscribers! Thanks so much for dropping by today.

Maybe you have been doing what I have been doing the past few days - several tasks that needed to be done, but that I really did not want to do. Activities that were necessary, but that I did not enjoy. What was I doing, you ask? I was visiting multiple stores and malls to exchange some Christmas gifts for myself and the kids that did not fit!

Well, yesterday topped it all off. After three days of standing in long lines, and listening to frustrating and confusing reasons of why I could not exchange an item or get our money back, I was at wits end - and one unfortunate sales clerk took the brunt of that frustration.

You see, I had one last stop to make, which was merely making an even exchange of two pairs of jeans to change the size, and return two pairs of ear rings that I had bought my daughter that she did not really like.

When it was finally my turn to be helped after standing in a crowded line for quite a while, I handed over my items and receipts. After about ten minutes of two store employees studying my receipt and adding things up on a calculator, I finally asked what the problem was, and explained that I simply wanted to do an even exchange for the blue jeans, and return the two pairs of ear rings.

They both happily reassured me that there was no problem, and that they would take care of it, so I continued to wait, as the line of people behind me continued to grow. After another ten minutes or more of confusion of which I could not understand, the young man finally finished the transaction, and announced to me that I owed him $26.30. At first, I thought I had misunderstood him, but he continued to stand there waiting for me to give him the money.

I suddenly felt my blood pressure rising, but I managed to ask peacefully how I could possibly owe any money when I was leaving with the same two pair of jeans I had come in with, and had returned two additional items. He of course provided a lengthy and confusing explanation of their store policies, why I owed more money for items I had already paid for, and why he was correct.

Then with little patience and three days of frustration flaming in my eyes, I informed him that if he had told me twenty five minutes ago that he could not do an even exchange for two pairs of jeans that were exactly alike but a different size, and that there would be a problem with the return since I had purchased them at the same store but a different location, then I would not have wasted my time standing in this hot, crowded store for thirty five minutes trying to return them, and that I would just take my items to the original store. Hmmmmph! (I dont think any horns sprouted out of my head, but my daughters who were standing there with me during this ordeal, might argue that point.)

The face on the sales clerk said it all, as he excused himself and handed the transaction over to the manager of the store.

Friends, I am pretty confident that I was not smelling like God in that store. I am also fairly sure that I did not leave a sweet aroma lingering either! Isnt it funny how God puts us to the test and grants us opportunities to live out what we say and believe!

You see, it is easy to smell sweet and fragrant when things are going our way, when we are well rested, and when we are having a great day. It is easy to show patience, when our patience is not being tested. That is why striving to smell like God is a challenge, because it is not our natural tendency to be sweet, when emotions are tested and frustrations are high.

Love is not a feeling, it is a response, and is a genuine concern for anyone that we come in contact with, regardless of whether or not we know them or agree with what they are saying or doing.

Smelling like God can be as simple as a smile, a hug, making a phone call to someone who needs to hear from a friend, saying thank you, or sending an encouraging note to someone. Smelling like God can be as simple as having patience with our children and being kind to people who are not treating us kindly in return.

Smelling like God can also be as simple as having compassion on a sales clerk who has probably had one hundred customers get mad at him while trying to return a pair of jeans that were the wrong size, and responding with kindness and understanding.

Smelling like God requires loving others with the same kind of love that Jesus shows towards us, and that is the kind of love that will cause others to sit up and take notice.

If we are serious about honoring God with our life, we have to make a commitment to try to be a sweet fragrance to those around, in good times and bad. We have to be ready and willing to renew that commitment every day.

There is a simple saying that we have all heard before, that says "think before you speak". Learning the art of not blurting out whatever emotions, feelings, thoughts and words that are on the tip of our tongue takes time, and most importantly, it requires the intervention of the Holy Spirit within us.

Ephesians 5:17,18 says "Don’t act thoughtlessly, but understand what the Lord wants you to filled with the Holy Spirit". (NLT) This verse truly reiterates that phrase of thinking before we speak - and - thinking before we act.

As you consider your New Year's resolutions for 2010, ask God to help you see any areas of your life today that need improvement, and that are leaving a smell in the lives of others that is not a sweet aroma, and certainly not honoring to Him.

Through His strength and intervention, and our true desire to live a life that glorifies Him in all that we do,and say, we can learn to smell like God and be a pleasing aroma in the hearts of others in the coming year.

Psalm 23:3 He renews my strength.He guides me along right paths,bringing honor to his name. (NLT)

Psalm 86:11-12 Teach me your ways, O Lord,that I may live according to your truth!
Grant me purity of heart, so that I may honor you. With all my heart I will praise you, O Lord my God. I will give glory to your name forever, (NLT)

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Amy Carroll said...

I loved your devo, and I giggled all the way through the first part of your post. (Then I read it out loud to Barry.)

Thanks for the reminder of my highter standard based on the grace that has been extended to me.


Katrina said...

Hi Tracie,

You words are so inspiring. I read the Encouragement for Today on today. I was so moved by your story and analogy. I said to myself, who is this writer? I wish you all the best in your quest to do God's will in your life. I need to clean up my act. I am challenged to do better.


My Journey to Hope said...

I enjoyed reading your devo for today. God's been putting it on my heart a lot to practice the fruits of the spirit in my day to day activities- with the kids, doing chores around the house, etc. Your words were a good reminder that even the smallest act leaves a sweet fragrance behind, when done with the right heart. Thank you!

:) Michelle

Anonymous said...

Loved your devo . . . thanks so much for the reminder :)

This might sound weird, but can you tell me what kind of perfume you have that is light and fruity . . . I've been looking for something like that for a long time and just can't stand all the smells when I try to test them in the store :)

Tracie Miles said...

Hi friends - the perfume I had on that day was from the Ann Taylor store, called Possibilities. Perfect name for our attempts to smell like fruits of the spirit - dont you think?! :) Smiles.

Delores said...

I was at one time the clerk, in Your stry, and Yes We spent 8 hours a day listening to others Yelling at Us, but My Mother always gave Us this advice that I have tried to carry with Me from then on, She said return the ugliness with kindness, sometimes people are having a real Bad day, but if You smile and keep Your lips closed, they will realize that they, are doing hurtful things. kill people with kindness it hurts more. I have had people actually give Me a apology and then We both would laugh, and they left the store Happy, and made My day better, You see We both need to be forgiven, and just like God always forives Us We need to learn to forgive others. Thanks so much for Your blog, I made My Ladies in My Sunday School class a Treasure Box, for Christmas, and they all loved them, Thanks for sharing, I put there names in the Blanks and they said How Personal it was, but I told them I could not take all the credit. Thanks again.

Anonymous said...

Dear Tracie,

My name is Selene, I'm a subscriber of P31 for a while now and check your blog from time to time, but never posted anything.
Today, as the last day of 2009, I decided to write to say thank you, for the way you have inspired and encouraged me with your testimony and your stories. Thank you for stepping out in faith and for being an example of servanthood to so many of us, as a mom and wife,professional, friend and so many other roles I'm certain you have.
May the Lord continue to bless you and your ministry, in 2010 and in the years ahead, as you faithfully keep on the path He has called you to.
Love and sweet blessings,
Toronto, Canada

B His Girl said...

Great post Tracie. Sometimes our 'pig pen' fragrance rises out of us. I pray we leave our Father's fragrance wherever we go!

May you be firmly attached to the true vine in 2010. I pray for a bumper crop of fruit in your life. I pray God uses your life to display His goodness, kindness, self control, joy, love, peace, everyone who crosses your path. Blessings B