Thursday, February 25, 2016

Time to Get Clean

The past 12 years I've had the challenging pleasure of leading a week of camp for middle schoolers. I've served at two different camps with distinctively different styles, but there has been one constant regardless of location and demographic: middle school boys don't always shower during the week. They use Axe body spray as a covering mechanism for sweaty bodies and odors, but not all of them will automatically head for the showers without some coercion. Instead they will use some pseudo-manly scent of body spray to cover themselves in an effort to appear "clean." I can tell you there is no smell on the face of planet earth like a middle school dorm at the end of the week. The blended smell of damp towels (from swimming-not from showering), socks, sweaty t-shirts, and an unholy musty odor create a nasal palette no one should have to endure. This combination of smells serves as a poignant reminder that under the superficial layer of body spray things are still dirty.

How do we do this in other areas of our life? What else do we attempt to cover up hoping no one will notice? What distractions do we use to hide the fact that we are something completely different underneath the surface?

We can spray on a number of superficial behaviors (church attendance, learning to say the right things instead of being honest, avoiding tough conversations, ignoring our feelings), but without addressing any of the underlying issues we are only covering up bigger problems. We might appear to be clean, but the longer we go without dealing with the root cause only adds to our layers of complicated mess. Even if the process is difficult,
we are better off scrubbing off the layers of hurt and frustration so we can be more confident in who we are underneath.

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