This might sound like a strange question to ask, but consider this: whatever we are full of will be what leaks from the deepest recesses of our being whether we intend that or not.
One obvious way we see this is when we are overly tired or stressed. No matter what our faith or desire may be to emulate, most of us will leak lots of evidences of that exhaustion. Our words will be sharper and our tone will often reflect frustration. We will listen less well even if we don’t want that to happen. We will be eager to get away from everyone and everything to find some level of relief even if that simply means falling into bed.
It happens to all of us.
But there are other things that seep out of us that may be harder to recognize unless we determine to observe ourselves objectively. If we are full of bitterness, envy, jealousy, lust, selfishness, greed, anger, or resentment, those will leak in our responses to life and those in it. We may very well try to hide such things in the recesses of our hearts, but we are never as skilled as we think in doing so.
Those less nice things, those sins, that we have left unattended within our hearts lead to a feeling of emptiness and we go to great lengths to try to fill that emptiness. We may use any number of things including but not limited to alcohol, cigarettes, food, spending (also known as retail therapy), sleeping, TV, movies, music, gambling, or even excessive exercise. We want to evade and avoid what seems to be devouring us. But we won’t stop there.
We also will try to use others to try to fill us up. Ruth Haley Barton puts it this way:
“When we are not finding ourselves loved by God in solitude, in the company of others we are always on the prowl for ways they can fill our emptiness. We enter life in community trying to grab and grasp from others what only God can give.”
What we most need is for those persons we seek out to lovingly point us to the only Source that can deal with both the ugly things in our unattended heart and the emptiness that comes when our hearts have chilled from bitterness, disappointment, hurt, rejection, and more.
“At times the strength of spiritual community lies in the love of people who refrain from getting caught in the trap of trying to fix everything for us, who pray for us and allow us the pain of our wilderness, our wants, so that we may be more deeply grounded in God.” Rosemary Dougherty
Those people will need a tenacious grace-filled faith to both nudge us and leave us alone with God even when we protest that we don’t hear Him or He doesn’t care.
“Solitude, at its most basic and profound level, is simply an opportunity to be ourselves with God.” Ruth Haley Barton
The simple truth is this: when we sit in the presence of the Lord, we are changed. His love overshadows us and washes away the debris within and floods us with Himself. It is then when we have been drenched like dew on grass in the early morning that we are satisfied. And when we leave that place to re-enter our world, we leak His love, His fragrance.
Paul writes in 2 Corinthians 2:15 (AMP):
“For we are the sweet fragrance of Christ [which ascends] to God, [discernible both] among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing;”