My perspective was that I had the answer for their life. I knew the cure for their problems. I was confident that whatever it was that they were experiencing in their life—it would be better if they tried on my religion.
So, what’s the stench in your life? The one you don’t notice? What’s the fragrance in your life—the one that only other people smell?
Think of it this way. Have you ever come back from vacation and noticed the odor of your house? I’m not talking about forgetting to take out the garbage—I’m talking about that special smell that other people know as the fragrance of your home but you rarely smell because it is yours.
You also have a way of looking at life that is uniquely yours—or unique to your community. That smell or odor or fragrance—whatever you label it—that’s a piece of you. That’s your perspective on life.
Once upon a time—not long ago—my odor contained quite a bit of judgment of others, better than-ness, and self-righteousness. I wouldn’t be surprised if the odor still lingers although I am working hard to exchange it for inclusivity, friendship, and authenticity.
Today, I am so embarrassed by myself and the conversations that I had with countless people. I spent hours preaching religion to my co-workers while at the same time judging their lifestyle choices. How unlike Jesus I was…yet the community that I was a part of was in complete support of my behavior. We all were living on the pig farm and didn’t notice the stench of judgment and exclusivity that we were creating.
We even used the bible to justify our behavior. Here’s a verse that would come up when we dealt with how people didn’t like us:
“Because of Christ, we give off a sweet scent rising to God, which is recognized by those on the way of salvation—an aroma redolent with life. But those on the way to destruction treat us more like the stench from a rotting corpse.”
So, instead of loving people exactly where they were--like Christ—we told ourselves that those that are on the way to destruction (sinners) have no choice but to think we smell nasty. It’s a self-fulfilling prophecy.
It’s all so ludicrous.
It was only when I stepped out of that filter of life and really experienced people that were different than me did I understand my own pungent odor.
So what does this mean for you? Coaching is about choice at its core. It’s about showing you to you and having you discover those perspectives/filters/odors that you’ve been living with—the fragrances that you may or may not be interested in keeping around.
Now you have a choice:
Your choices are to A: go back to the pig farm (there will always be plenty of pig farming going on) or B: decide to experience something different.
- Step out of your comfort zone and learn the depths of another religion—not to convert them—or to be converted—but to experience something new.
- Did you grow up secluded from other races? Make a concerted effort to put new and different people in your life. Ask them about their lives. Find out what you can learn from them.
- Do you have trouble understanding White Sox fans? Or Cubs fans? Put on your opposing team’s jersey for a day and just observe what happens to you.
- Do you have an opinion about the city? The suburbs? Spend a day there with eyes of curiosity instead of judgment.
- Try seafood for goodness sakes…you may actually love it.
It’s your life. It’s your choice. Don’t miss out on what you could be smelling!