Excuse me

It's one of those things you don't talk about, normally.

Body odor.


There, I said it! When my thyroid cancer suppression gets out of balance, it comes and goes. When there's not much going on, and I'm on the hypothyroid side of things...there's not much body odor to speak of. Or body hair, for that matter! I quit wearing deodorant, I quit shaving, I only shower about once or twice a week - and I look and smell fine. It's like my inner hippie went on vacation.  I go to the doctor and report all this, and he ups my meds to get me back to normal, and whoa, baby, that inner hippie is back with a vengeance!  My leg hair has me near tears in the shower, thinking back to the stinging bite of the words flung from the preteen boys warming the bench at Little League when I went over the cliff into puberty four or five years before the rest of the girls on the team.  My usual hippie deodorant does nothing to squelch the stench and by the end of the day I'm embarrassed to crawl into bed with my husband.

Believe it or not, I'm headed toward a spiritual metaphor here.

Yes, I'm going to talk about God in the context of body odor.

{feel free to get the giggles anytime, I won't mind! Or hear you, for that matter!}

Kind of like my spiritual life.  When there's not much going on, there's nothing ugly to see (or should I say, nothing to see in general?).  Everything stays well beneath the surface, and nobody notices that there's anything wrong at all.  And when I'm close to God, and I'm working up a sweat trying to stay on track with His purpose and His glory and His kingdom...well, there's a lot more to notice!  I notice it - in the angry conversations I have with God when I don't understand something, in the tears that won't stop and the hurt as the sand-paper grates on my soul and I wake up less and less me.  When I'm just going along trying to stay in my skin and not grate on anybody and stay comfortable, that's exactly what happens: I slide deeper into a spiritual stupor, and my God-connection goes dormant, and I don't grate on anybody.  I'm soft and mushy and hairless and odorless and tasteless.  The reduced fat, small-portion size version of me.  But when I'm sitting with my Bible in the mornings, and I'm deep in God's word, and I don't care what other people think, and I'm far from dormant...

I guess what I'm trying to say is my inner Christian - just like the inner hippie that shows up when my body is functioning right - can be messy, and abrasive, and maybe sometimes even seem less than pleasant.

Iron sharpens iron, and one man sharpens another (Proverbs 27:17).  The Prosperity Gospel might have you thinking that walking with Jesus means having lots of friends, laughing all the time, having enough money to go around, an easy marriage, successful kids, or a spic-and-span perfectly decorated domicile.  What if what God really wants is a bunch of stinky hippies shaking up the world?

"Nice" isn't the same as "holy".  "God is love" doesn't mean "God is nice".  (Marilyn McIntyre writes in Christianity Today)

Just like "stinky" doesn't necessarily mean "dirty", and "smells nice" isn't the same as "clean", sometimes "holy" is a lot closer to "righteous anger" than it is to "pleasant words".  Jesus, in Matthew 23, is far from nice, and also underlines the dissection between appearances and reality with His harsh words:
Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You clean the outside of the cup and dish, but inside they are full of greed and self-indulgence. Blind Pharisee! First clean the inside of the cup and dish, and then the outside also will be clean. Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You are like whitewashed tombs, which look beautiful on the outside but on the inside are full of dead men’s bones and everything unclean. In the same way, on the outside you appear to people as righteous but on the inside you are full of hypocrisy and wickedness. (v. 25-28)
Sometimes we might just have to follow the example of the table-tossing, line-in-the-sand-drawing, righteous anger Jesus instead of the calm, cool and collected man with the flowing locks and perfectly color-coordinated robe.  Be willing to be that kind of Christian.

Just something I've been thinking about...every time I put on deodorant.




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Today and tomorrow, I'm traveling by car the 18 hours to the Relevant Conference, accompanied by Jess York and Caleb.  If you wouldn't mind praying for our safety, we'd appreciate it.  And maybe I'll get some new topics at the conference and I'll never talk to you about body odor again! :-)