I smell things. It’s a little awkward to admit, but if a guy wearing a good-smelling cologne passes me, I will ever so intentionally catch a whiff as it trails behind him (I know just when to sniff for the fullest affect, too). I accidentally created in my little brother the cumbersome habit of smelling the hand soap every time he washes his hands, because I was the one who taught him how to wash his hands. And that’s what I do. Second to Christmas lights, my favorite way to set the mood in a room is to create the right scent with a candle, food, or my nifty wax melter. Scents are an art. And I like them.
The other day, the topic came up when I was talking with my boyfriend. I mentioned I liked scents and the immediate reaction on his face quickly conveyed the understanding that he didn’t have the same appreciation.
I balked for a second. I didn’t want to admit to being big into something my boyfriend clearly wasn’t! I could rephrase it. I could say, “I mean, I like certain scents in certain situations.” That’s not a lie. I could say, “It’s like, not something I would spend money on, so I mean, I guess I just kinda like them…” That’s not a lie either. But either of those would have minimized my appreciation for scents–something that is true to me.
So I was brave for a minute and just let that one be. I like smelling things (of a large variety; I mean, even skunk scent, when taking in moderation, also has a mysterious beauty to it…) and, other than food, my boyfriend doesn’t. We’re different. I have a trait he doesn’t inherently admire. But I have it. It’s who I am. Why not own it?
That night I listened to a podcast that was especially relevant to that conversation with my boyfriend. It was about integrity–being true to oneself.
You are who you are because God made you that way. Although sin can throw in some complications, you–your true self–is worth being proud of. Even if you like something, do something, or prefer something that those around you don’t, that’s okay. You are beautifully and wonderfully made—intentionally. Be confident, my friend!
If you always try to adjust to be like those around you, you will be cheating yourself. And, honestly, you will be cheating your friends out of the truest version of you–the best gift you can give those you love.
Now, that doesn’t mean we don’t have filters. I say the word “heck.” Between me and God, I feel that is okay. However, I know a handful of people who don’t appreciate “heck” being used. So, out of respect, when in their company, I will refrain from saying it. I will do this as subtly as possible, but I am not trying to hide the fact that I say “heck.” I’m not changing nor hiding who I am. Only filtering out of respect for the situation.
In the podcast, Coby said he learned he likes energy drinks–much to his wife’s chagrin. At first he was ashamed to admit it, so he kept it out of sight whenever he drank one. But then he decided he wasn’t being true to himself, and in doing so, he wasn’t being honest with her. So, he opened up. While his wife didn’t approve per se, she also didn’t ask him to stop. Out of respect, he doesn’t drink energy drinks all the time (his wife would be concerned for his health), but he also doesn’t hide it when he does. He’s living with integrity in this area.
I want to be a person of integrity. We tend to think of integrity in the big picture; do I lie? Do I cheat? Do I steal? etc. Obviously if you’re not being true to yourself in the big picture, you don’t have integrity worked into your lifestyle. But I have the feeling that the everyday growth includes being a person of integrity in the small things. Being willing to stand by my appreciation for scents, even when it’s not shared, for example.
I want to live true to myself and my ideals. I want to live honest out of respect for myself and how God created me. And I want to live filtered out of respect for those around me, whom God also created.
Either way, at the end of the day, I want to be confident in myself, not shifting to attempt to be like the people around me. It takes courage, but it sets on us a foundation of authentic power and a healthy pride in who God made us.
Want to join my courageous journey? I’d love to have comments below of times when you practiced integrity–even if it’s something as stupid as admitting you like to smell things 😉