It was certainly not what I was expecting as I made my way down the winding road to the Stones. To my right were mountainous hills of luscious green foliage and to my left were the gentle waves of Northern Ireland’s coastline. All was peachy until I strolled closer to that tiny inlet. Everything was so beautiful, however the approaching stench was not. I couldn’t decide if I should filter whatever toxic waste was causing the stench by breathing through my nose, or breathe the fumes into my mouth and spare myself the agony of my nasal senses.
I couldn’t understand how this vile smelling tiny inlet was rotting away despite being connected to the lively ocean within the distance of a few leaps. I looked around for clear signs of death, ocean pollution, or something that would make sense of the smell, but my attempts were futile. It was as if there was an invisible wall barring the fresh ocean waves from entering the relatively tiny area of still water.
I continued onwards gasping for fresh air, praying that I would survive the horrendous ordeal. (Spoiler Alert: I survived.) I also knew, as I looked upon the stanky shore, that there was insight to be found in the experience.
I feel our lives can resemble this inlet on the coastline. All is seemingly good from a distance — the ocean is flowing and there’s much beauty to look at. However, as we get closer to our inner selves, there’s a still and stagnate area where a subtle scent begins to introduce itself. I wonder how often we breathe through our mouths and miss the impending stench and I also wonder how often we breathe through our noses, fully aware of the unpleasant smell, yet not taking action towards discerning a solution.
I know how unpleasant it was to take in the foul odour by that inlet and I also know how difficult it can be to take in the sometimes unpleasant odour’s that linger in my soul. It often feels easier to put up the invisible wall and breathe through our mouths than to address the lack of flowing water, but I’ve learned through experience that that apparent ease only leads to greater contamination.
What’s causing the smell? Is it an area of your heart that you just can’t let God into? Is it something that you just can’t trust Him with? Are you unwilling to surrender something to Him? Perhaps it’s an area of sin that you feel unable to let go of, repent of, or conquer?
Take your time and reflect on this. We are all on a unique journey with different looking coastlines. However, one thing is for certain — as we let down our invisible walls, Jesus is always willing and ready to cleanse and freshen the inlets of our soul’s with gentle waves of Living Water.