Have you heard of the frown-smile? I hadn’t until I had teenagers at home. One of them excitedly shared the discovery. First, you frown. Make sure you have a scowl on your face. Then, smile with your lips only, while keeping the frown expression in tact. We spent some hilarious moments as a family practicing this new-found skill, and spread the joy when visiting friends. Amid the laughter we learned you simply can’t keep a frown when your lips are smiling. Somehow your lips take over, and the smile spreads across your face. A couple of my kids managed to master the frown-smile without laughing, but there was no way to take their frowns seriously.
If you’re around me much, you know that I like to smile. I don’t smile when I’m in deep thought or concentrating. But when others are around me, I try to smile. I have even taken to smiling when I’m alone and I don’t feel like it at first. It’s not that I’m trying to be fake. Smiling is contagious, and I believe it positively influences my attitude and outlook. When I’m tired or feeling down, I smile. Very quickly, the rest of me follows suit. I can actually feel the change inside me.
When I meet new people or encounter situations that are uncomfortable, I bring a smile. It helps to dispel awkwardness and creates a friendly environment. A smile can communicate confidence and warmth during times of uncertainty or anxiety.
This month my husband has been preaching a series on being thankful at our church. He said that Christ-followers should be the most optimistic people on the planet. I agree with him. Even when walking through difficult circumstances, we serve the God of all hope (Romans 15:13). His peace guards our hearts and minds (Philippians 4:7). He gives us joy, and everything else we need (Galatians 5:22-23). This hope and peace and joy must not stay bottled up inside. It should show on our countenance, and burst forth in the form of a smile.
With the Thanksgiving holiday right around the corner, it’s a great reminder to keep gratitude in focus. It’s a great reminder that we have so much to smile about.