Be careful what your facial expression broadcasts

We seldom think about the messages we send the world, but we should.

Blog. Happy old woman. 10.14

I got a shocking reminder of that truth one day when I was out shopping. A smiling white-haired lady who looked a bit like my late grandmother put her hand on my shoulder and said, "Aw, Honey, it can't be that bad."

I stared at her in confusion and said, "Excuse me? I don't know what you mean."

Eyes twinkling, she smiled and said, "Well, I noticed you look like you lost your last friend. I just want you to know whatever the trouble is, you'll get through it and it helps to smile. That's all.

"Now you take care of yourself, Sweetie. Whatever's going on with you, it's just life. Sometimes life is hard, but you can do hard, I know you can. You'll be okay."

I thanked her for caring, still mystified.

Then I passed a mirror--and stopped short. She was right. I did look grim.

Do you ever do that?

That day I realized I probably wore that face more often than I knew. Whether I label it "concentration" or "preoccupied," that face was not a good idea. 

  • First, because pinching up one's face leads to (gasp!) wrinkles.
  • Second, because what people read on our faces affects their moods.
  • Third, because if we say we have the joy and peace of Jesus, we'd better look as if we do. Otherwise our words of faith sound empty.
  • Fourth--and just as important--it's not fair to the people in our world.

As someone said, we owe the world a happy face

Why? Because you and I affect the people around us. Our families. Our co-workers. Strangers in stores.

Each of them is walking around and dealing with their lives and their problems, which may be all they can manage at the moment. Why should they have to dredge up strength to keep from "catching" our bad moods? 

If you're a mom or dad you probably know that when we parents crackle with tension our kids walk on tiptoe around us.

And if we live in Tension City our children pattern the behavior as the way to live. Our uptight way of coping with life becomes their "normal."

Yes, but "Nobody knows the trouble I seen . . . "

That old spiritual speaks truth, doesn't it? No one can know or feel exactly what another person is living with. As the song says, nobody knows our hurt and pain but Jesus, who says:

"Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest." Matthew 11:28  ESV

"Heavy laden." Don't we feel that way sometimes? 

The NIV translates that verse:

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest." 

Whether we're feeling overworked and over-stressed, weighed down by cares or stuck in a situation we cannot change, He can give us rest.

It's the only rest that lasts. 

Eight hours of sleep or a nap refreshes temporarily, but deep-down rest for our hearts can be found only one place. In Jesus.

Life. It will wear us down, but Jesus lifts us up. Always. 

The key is to turn our thoughts and our hearts to Him instead of getting mired in the problem-of-the-moment.

He's the One who carries us through each day on His shoulders, who turns our mourning into dancing. 

(Jesus said) "I have said these things to you that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world."     John 16:33  ESV

If we keep our eyes on Him we can be at peace, even during the hard times--and our faces will show it.  

As that kindly lady in the store put it, "Whatever's going on with you, it's just life. Sometimes life is hard, but you can do hard, I know you can."

My friend, you can do hard, I know you can.

I wish you peace and joy in Jesus, today and every day, 

Lenore


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