The precepts of the Lord are right, giving joy to the heart. The commands of the Lord are radiant, giving light to the eyes (Psalm 19:8, NIV).
Friend to Friend
Years ago, I was in the elevator in a department store with two of my kids. A young employee stood sullenly inside the elevator. With a smile on my face, I nudged my oldest to ask the employee how his day was going. Without looking up, the employee mumbled, “This is my second job today.” I empathized and said something like, “It must be very tiring to have to work two shifts. But at least you have work.” The elevator doors opened and he shuffled out lazily, never making eye contact or smiling to us once.
I decided to take advantage of that moment to teach something to my young kids. “Boy, he seemed grumpy,” I whispered. I commented that good customer service includes smiling at people even when you don’t feel like it.
That principle works in retail, and it works everywhere else too. One of the most important things you can wear isn’t bought with money. It’s a smile. Mother Teresa said, “Every time you smile at someone, it is an action of love, a gift to that person, a beautiful thing.”
There are times when we may not feel like smiling. Maybe our children are struggling, or our next pay check is in question. Today’s truth gives us a reason to smile, no matter what is happening in our lives. Psalm 19:8 declares, “The precepts of the Lord are right, giving joy to the heart. The commands of the Lord are radiant, giving light to the eyes” (NIV). Imagine if this verse was read aloud by someone who was frowning. That would seem contradictory (and comical).
That’s because today’s verse is packed with joy and celebration. God’s Word brings light into our otherwise dark lives. We have a reason and the ability to always smile. Smiling is a powerful physical weapon against worry and anxiety. Nehemiah tells us “the joy of the Lord is your strength” (Nehemiah 8:10, NIV).
Did you know your muscles have to work harder to form a frown than to smile? So give your muscles a break and let your mouth curl into a smile right now.
When my daughter Noelle was two, I was trying to teach her to exercise her smiling muscles more. Even when she wasn’t in a good mood, I’d say, “Show me your smile!” She’d tilt her head and fake a little smile. It wasn’t exactly sincere, but it was a start.
Usually within a few minutes, her whiny voice disappeared, and she was back to her cheerful self. It’s not a bad idea to fake a smile when feeling low because before long, it can become the genuine article. By forcing a smile, you can trick your body into believing all is well, reducing stress and tension. It’s like flipping a switch to make a connection between your smile and your soul.
That might sound silly, but we see a very good example of David talking to himself when he was discouraged. He was trying to smile again. Psalm 42:11 (records his pep talk, “Why, my soul, are you downcast? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God” (NIV).
Proverbs 17:22 (NIV) says, “A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.” When you choose to smile at others (even when you don’t feel like it), you are reflecting the heart of God. Your smile may be the medicine your family and friends need today. It’s the best thing you can wear. A smile never goes out of season.
Psalm 16:11 says, “You will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand” (NIV). We can learn how to smile more readily by spending time with God – the maker of smiles.
Dear God, I know You will not abandon me or allow my enemies to triumph over me. You make known to me the path of life and fill me with joy in Your presence. I can smile today because I am loved. Help me to bring joy to others.
In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Now It’s Your Turn
Think about how often you smile during the day. Who do you smile at? What makes you smile?
Make it your goal today to smile at your co-workers, friends, or family members at least five times.
More from the Girlfriends
We are often looking down at our devices instead of looking up and smiling at our loved ones. Visit Arlene’s Happy Home University to learn more about her book Screen Kids and how to manage technology well in your home.