Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Smells like Skunk

Do you see these two? Don’t they look like angels?

Perfect angels, right?

We all remember Rizzoli’s three near-death experiences, so maybe only one of them fits that description. Unfortunately, even Charlie, “the good kid,” was on my bad list a few weeks ago when both of our dogs got sprayed by a skunk in our backyard.


They had the creature cornered where he could not escape, and they were not deterred by the stinky smells at all. We’re convinced they got sprayed more than once at close range.

It took about four days to get the smell out of the house—and even still, I swear it lingers in a few places.

We gave the dogs 11 baths (Rizzoli, the lucky one, receiving one more bath than Charlie) with all kinds of home remedies, Pinterest suggestions, old wives tales, and vet-recommended solutions. Nothing helped with the smell—at least not on first application. We did have some success with the de-skunk shampoo the vet’s office sells, but it took three applications each.

Even now, almost two weeks later, I still smell it when Rizzoli shakes her ears, her now-shedding hair flying in the air, and I groan.

What a mess!

The timing was terrible, of course. It initially happened just before bed, on a night when we were already getting in bed late.

I fell into bed at 1:00 a.m., exhausted.

The next day we were leaving town, and I just wanted to give up, to lay down and say, “I can’t do this.”

(For the record, my hubs, as usual, was the rockstar. I think he gave 5 or 6 baths in a short span of a few hours.)

Two days later, the smell wasn’t better—for the dogs or our house. I felt so discouraged.
We’d light candles and spray aromas and bought every imaginable wall plug, but all of that only temporarily masked the smell.

Now that I’ve had some time and space from what really was an unpleasant experience at an inopportune time, I feel like the Lord has used that to speak spiritual truth to my heart.

Y’all, maybe I’ve only been masking the smell, but this has been a challenging six months. I’ve been tested to what feels like my core. My patience. My attitude. My humility. My leadership.
Even my values have been tested.

What’s more important: What God says about me or what people say? Pleasing God or pleasing man?
What’s do I value most: Being recognized, validated, defended, appreciated? Or Being a daughter, accepted and beloved?

It’s been tough, and I’ve seen my flesh on a new level.

I felt like the Lord reminded me that when I try to do this life stuff on my own, it’s like spraying Fabreeze around my house and hoping it will make the smell go away.

Funny, right? Because it’s so foolish.

Only the Holy Spirit can do the real work, the under-the-surface work, where the skunk’s poison resides, where it’s settled and seeped into pores and pockets.

I recently had someone speak a word over me, and he said that I needed to unyoke myself to the things that trouble my heart. Howell told me afterward that he immediately felt like that meant unyoking myself to other people’s opinions of me.

This isn’t new information or a new struggle—of course I shouldn’t care what others think, and I’ve known this is a habit of mine for a while.

But something about that phrase—unyoke yourself—really got my attention.

I always thought of the “do not be yoked” verses as relating to marriage or relationships. But Howell’s exactly right. I’ve yoked myself to what other people think of me rather than yoking myself to the Lord and letting His opinion rule.

If there’s a spiritual smell to being yoked to others’ opinions, I guarantee it’s worse than a skunk.

What about you, friends? Do you struggle with performing, pleasing, striving?

I understand completely! Let’s let Holy do a major detox in our hearts today. 

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