Fragrance is a delicate thing that’s hard to put words to but impossible to ignore. Freshly brewed coffee. Freshly baked bread.  Oak burning in the fireplace. Freshly cut grass. A baby’s skin. The inside of a new car. The air after a thunderstorm. Your life.

Yes, your life has a fragrance. You have an impact on people around you that may be hard to put words to but is impossible to ignore. And the question is, does your life smell like Jesus?

No, not a first century Jewish man. But God’s goal for you is that you have the same impact on people that Jesus did. A powerful way to think about God’s purpose for you is the aroma that comes from your life (see 2 Corinthians 2:14-16).

You cannot live without having an impact on others. It may seem your impact is insignificant, but that’s not true. One friend of mine says, “You may not be able to change the world, but to someone you are the world.”

You might wish for a greater or more positive impact on others, and that’s not a bad thing to wish for. But you don’t come to smell like Jesus by wanting to, or by trying harder. It’s not something you can spray on like some perfume. It’s something that can only come from deep inside you, from the you that you allow God to create you to be.

And the process by which He does that is usually very uncomfortable.

God is Crafting a Unique Fragrance

God goes about creating that fragrance in a unique way in each of us. The crafting of the anointing oil for the Old Testament tabernacle is an object lesson of this. God gave Moses very detailed instructions with a very specific recipe for creating the anointing oil:

“The Lord said to Moses, “Take the finest spices: of liquid myrrh 500 shekels, and of sweet-smelling cinnamon half as much, that is, 250, and 250 of aromatic cane, and 500 of cassia, according to the shekel of the sanctuary, and a hin of olive oil. And you shall make of these a sacred anointing oil blended as by the perfumer; it shall be a holy anointing oil.” (Exodus 30:22-25)

Very specific ingredients, ground together. And the fragrance that resulted was beautiful, unique, and captivating.

That’s how He works in you and me too.

The Ingredients in My Perfume

I’ve recently come to understand in a new way how all the ingredients in my own life have gone into me becoming who I am today, and how each one has been absolutely necessary for me to do what God is asking me to do now, to give off the fragrance my life has become.

My early years growing up in a dysfunctional family, my medical training and experience, my years of severe distress and what I learned coming out of that, my theological training, my loving marriage, the media training and experience my husband helped me gain, the journey of grief after his death, my ministry experience in helping people address many of their deepest struggles, the challenges of building a ministry organization – good, bad, and even ugly, I would not be who I am now without all of that.

There is a substance in me that God needs me to have in order to do what He’s given me to do. And it’s come through hard experience. I can see now how all those ingredients have been ground together in God’s perfuming process in me.

“Blended as by the perfumer” – that’s a painful process. The perfumer must crush, grind, and blend the various ingredients together, as with a mortar and pestle, in order for the fragrance to be released. It’s not a process any of us enjoy, but the results are truly spectacular.

The Ingredients in Your Perfume

What are the ingredients in the perfume God is creating out of your life? And remember, in His economy nothing is wasted. Everything, everything, is necessary for you to become who He needs you to be in order to fulfill what He created you to do. That’s a big part of how He does miracles.

Your purpose is not some grandiose thing in the future; it starts right now. It’s not something you primarily DO; it flows out of who you are, who you have become. And it’s always about something beyond you, bigger than you. The “bigger than you” is how the fragrance of your life impacts others.

In midlife it’s tempting for some people to imagine their best years are in the past, and therefore they may have missed God’s purpose for them. Not true. It’s never too late. There’s no expiration date on God’s purpose for you.  (Tweet that.)

Your part in the equation is to make everything available for Jesus to use. Don’t hold anything back. The dark closet in your soul, the part of your history that you’d like to forget, the struggle you can’t seem to get past – those are all ingredients necessary to create the aroma God needs your life to display.

You can be sure those ingredients will be crushed and ground together. It’s only in that process that the true aroma of your life can be released, that you will come to smell like Jesus.

And the resulting fragrance will be both unique and captivating.

Your Turn: Do you smell like Jesus yet? What ingredients in your life might you have been holding back from making fully available to Him? Will you let Him have them now?  Leave a comment below.

Tweetables: why not share this post?

  • God takes all the ingredients of your life – good, bad, and ugly – and crushes them, grinds them together to release the fragrance He needs your life to display. That’s how you come to smell like Jesus. Tweet that.

Struggling with God’s Purpose for You Now?

If you’re a woman in midlife, I’m inviting you to our Navigating Midlife online course! This course provides an honest look at menopause, aging, and living more Fully Alive. And we specifically look at understanding God’s purpose for you in midlife and beyond. Check it out.