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If you ever come to visit us, and use our bathroom, you’ll notice that we have two different soap dispensers next to the sink.  One contains Dr. Bronner’s lavender liquid soap, and the other, antibacterial Softsoap. A little strange to have two, but those soap dispensers actually represent a big victory for me spiritually.

After I got married, one of the many things I was very excited about was having my own house and keeping it the way I wanted to.  Between living in my parents’ house and regularly cleaning for several different families, to working as a mother’s helper in two different places and living with my in-laws for awhile before getting married, I’d experienced my share of different households.  And in all of those, I saw things I liked and things I didn’t like.  And I came away with very decided opinions (and much anticipation) as to how I was going to run my own household.

One of the big things I wanted was to go all-natural in regard to cleaners, soaps, etc.  I was able to accomplish that pretty easily with cleaners and with hand soap, we started out just using Dr. Bronner’s lavender liquid soap and I thought it was great.  However, my husband didn’t like it, and asked if I would mind if we got some antibacterial Softsoap.  Of course, I said that would be fine, but inwardly a battle raged.  Softsoap?!  Tops on the list of Triclosan criminals that to me epitomized the conventional way of cleaning  I wanted so badly to get away from. (Triclosan is the substance in antibacterial soaps, lotions, etc. that that kills germs and is not very good for you.)  I felt like it would contaminate my perfect little “all-natural” home.

But then I realized — I was being ridiculous.  I mean, it’s soap!!  Yes, Triclosan isn’t a good thing to have much contact with, but the same goes for many other things that we deal with every day.  Having antibacterial hand soap in our bathroom would not kill anyone, that’s for sure.  And yes, it supposedly “messes up” my perfect little all-natural-ness, but that’s a good thing.  Going green was obviously becoming an idol to me and so it actually needed to be messed up.  My pride over being so natural could end up hurting myself and my family much more than any amount of chemicals ever would.

So I calmed down and let go of it.  We compromised and he let me keep the dispenser of Dr. Bronner’s at the sink too.  And every single time I fill our Mason jar dispenser with that antibacterial soap, or when I put another double package of it next to the quinoa in our Costco cart, I’m reminded again not to let my crunchiness become an idol or a source of pride.  While it’s good a thing to strive to care for my family in a natural way, idolatry and pride are much nastier “chemicals” by far.

Soapy Idolatry

image credit: mzeynepd via stock.xchng
post originally published at Something Simple

9 Comments

  1. What a grace-filled surrender…
    I relate closely to your desire to avoid harmful “unnaturalness” for I have experienced the one-minded obsession that I can slip into all in the name of health. I know as well that this “righteous” desire can become all too easily a divider, even just mentally when I feel that I can “look down” on those who don’t value or have knowledge about caring for themselves in a holistic manner. This posture of surrender and humility is a position I must return to daily… So poignantly and beautifully portrayed in this post. Thank you.

  2. Oh Wow! I wish more people could read this and see it as it is – idolatry. I have seen the devastating results when one won’t compromise on little things such as soap. Is a little chemical used in cleaning rather than all natural, or a little “junk” food rather then “healthy” food worth a marriage?

  3. I have been taught the same lesson this year; bickering is worse for my baby than having Reese’s for lunch when he’s out with dad. Now I see the small addition of junk in his diet as an opportunity not to be the quarrelsome woman, lest my husband should feel the need to live in a corner on the roof (proverbs 21:9). Which would IN NO WAY benefit our son 😉

  4. This is such a good point! And, there are many lessons for us single girls here too…sometimes maybe our expectations of our future “perfect little home” could be a bit too high going into marriage – this is the perfect reminder. 🙂 And I too struggle with my pride at times, so thank you for your openness and this reminder that family is much more important. 🙂

  5. Well said, Jessica. Thank you for sharing this. I appreciate you so very much!

  6. Thank you Jessica for sharing such a great and honest insight to how unbecoming things do their best to try to sneek in and ruin the well meaning things we try to do.:)I enjoyed reading your article very much, it is making me question myself about several things I’ve been trying to do…like nagging people to take their vitamins… Oh boy:(

  7. Agreeing with Jessiqua! What a sweet open viewing of yourself.
    Why-oh-why do we spend so much majoring on the minors?
    Nice to be free of at least one, huh Jessica.

  8. So honest! This is fresh and wonderful! Thank you for sharing this little intimate piece of your life with us!

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