In the interest of full disclosure, I am not one of those women who spend their days slaving over the ironing. I happen to believe that permanent press was one of the greatest advances of the 20th century. The iron was only in operation that day because I was giving my daughter a sewing lesson, and I do admit to being a little obsessive about pressing seams as I go along.
I reached for the water bottle sitting nearby and poured it into the water reservoir, then checked the sewing pattern for the next step while I waited for the iron to build up a nice head of steam. All of a sudden, an odd smell wafted through the room.
You know those moments when you think you catch a whiff of smoke in the house and hope you’re wrong? More often than not, that’s the case. But this time when I sniffed cautiously, the smell had gotten stronger.
“Something’s burning!” I called to my husband in a calm, matter-of-fact tone. (It was not a panic-stricken shriek, no matter what he says.)
“It’s just your iron heating up.”
I wanted to take comfort in that thought, but this odor was something different. Almost fruity. Kind of like the smell you get when the juices in a berry pie spill over in the oven. But I hadn’t been doing any baking.
I hurried to the kitchen and checked the oven, just to make sure. Nope. The oven was off, there was nothing on the stove. Okay, I was really frustrated now—and maybe a teensy bit panicked, because that smell wasn’t fading away. I went back in the dining room and realized the odor was even more intense there. The closer I got to the iron, the stronger that scorched-fruit stench became. I snatched up the iron, which was now spewing out a bubbling stream of brown gunk. What on earth?
With a flash of insight (accompanied by a distinct sinking feeling), I reached for the water bottle, opened it, and sniffed. That was when I realized I hadn’t used the bottle of water I kept handy for the iron, but the one I’d been drinking from earlier. The one into which I’d mixed a packet of Kiwi-Strawberry Propel.
As crazy as that sounds, there wasn’t any way of telling at first glance that the bottle held anything other than water. The Propel blended in without leaving a trace of color to indicate its presence. I only would have known something was different by smelling or tasting the water.
Life can be like that. In Song of Solomon, the Bible talks about “the little foxes that spoil the vines.” The grape growers may have been careful about the keeping the big dangers away, but if the little hazards were overlooked, they could be just as destructive.
It’s easy to let little things slip into our lives that play havoc with the spiritual fruit we’re supposed to bear. Something that looks innocuous—or isn’t noticeable at all without close inspection—can taint our spiritual walk without revealing itself until a “stench” lets us know that something is wrong.
The whole experience with the iron was a good reminder to take a closer look at my life. What things have I let in that might look okay on the surface but will bring me grief later on? Maybe it would be a good idea to schedule a spiritual survey every once in a while—kind of a “maintenance check” to determine whether my life “manifests the sweet aroma of the knowledge of Him in every place.”
By the way—just in case you're wondering, I’m enjoying my new iron.