I remember learning this phrase in high school: Stop and smell the roses. When you’re not born and bred in the USA, its not typical to understand the meaning of phrases like this one.
What does “stop and smell the roses” mean? Let’s look at a couple of definitions:
Wiktionary: To relax; to take time out of one’s busy schedule to enjoy or appreciate the beauty of life.
Urban Dictionary: this means stop stressing out, over-thinking, or complaining. Put your troubles in perspective and try to enjoy the short time you have on earth.
Our lives are busy. We are busy working mothers who juggle a full-time job, a husband and the kids, and the dog, and cat, and family, etc, etc. Or, we’re stay at home mothers who juggle school work, house work, volunteer work and all the other types of work. Or, we’re busy career-women, juggling meetings, and grocery shopping, and deadlines, and reports. We are busy people. And it seems that the busier we are, the more “important” we seem to be.
We can no longer leave our job and have some coffee with a friend because we don’t have leisure time. Coffee? At 5pm? Are you crazy! I have to put in at least 12 hours of work today, and then get home and cook dinner and prep my clothes for tomorrow, and watch our favorite show, and whiten my teeth and do my hair and have all the kids in bed by 8pm and…and…and the list goes on and on.
I have had this phrase in my mind all week long. It has been quite a busy, stressful and frustrating year for me. My husband and I moved to the US, we sold everything and started from scratch. We have had tough times, very tough ones. Economically, physically, emotionally, romantically, you name it..all the ..ly’s. All the stress and frustration that built up made it hard to see through the fog and see the light at the end of the tunnel. The light wasn’t a better financial perspective. It wasn’t even a romantic cruise vacation. The light, which I’m beginning to see, is a polished heart, a positive attitude and a sense of compassion, peace, trust and love for one another and for everyone else.
God has been slowly removing all our “comfort zones”, one by one. He has been telling us every day that our ways aren’t His ways, and that our path is not His path. He has greater things planned for us. The greatest thing He has been showing us could not have been if we had not “lost” our comfort. He has replaced everything material with everything spiritual, everything negative with everything positive. No fortune in the world, no new wardrobe, no new car could have changed our hearts and minds the way God has done it. He has put the silver through the fire so that we may glow.
I’m finally able to understand this journey and as I continue down this path, I now fully understand and comprehend what it is to STOP and smell the roses. To me, this phrase has so much meaning. It can mean relax, but it can also mean listen. Listen to God as He speaks. Listen to your husband when he needs to be heard. Listen to your friend who needs that 5pm coffee because she/he feels down and needs a friend. Listen to that stranger on the street that everybody passes and nobody stops and shows compassion. Listen to what God needs to tell you. Be open to surprises. Be open to His provision.
And so, I share my verse for this week, because as we have struggled to believe in God’s provision, He has been more than faithful to making sure we understand that He’s taking care of us, so that we may STOP and smell the roses, and STOP and bless others with what He was blessed us.
2 Corinthians 9:8-10
And God can give you more blessings than you need, and you will always have plenty of everything. You will have enough to give to every good work. As the Scriptures say,“He gives generously to the poor; his goodness will continue forever.”God is the one who gives seed to those who plant, and he gives bread for food. And God will give you spiritual seed and make that seed grow. He will produce a great harvest from your goodness.