2000-03-03 - Has Your Smile Worn Off?
Tonight I looked at my dilapidated keychain. At one time, it was a very cute smiley face, in the 70's tradition. But now the smile is worn off, and it's simply a big yellow ball. The smile had worn off. I thought, "Sometimes that happens to us. We let the worries and hassles of everyday life wear our smiles off." We allow exterior circumstances to render us irritable, and we forget all we have for which to be thankful. God does not expect us to be "up" all the time, nor to pretend all is well when it is not. It is very Biblical to share our difficulties with both God (see Ps. 62:8) and our Christian friends (see Rom. 12:15) But one of the gifts of His Holy Spirit is joy, and that is not dependent on what is happening around us.
Gal 5:22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness. (NIV)1
Even during a very taxing situation, the Macedonian churches were joyful. How can we prevent "losing our smile" to the hurts and worries of our lives? We can pray for God to help us see all our circumstances, and all people, through Jesus' eyes. Then we can see them in a sense of perspective, an eternal one. Instead of cursing the person who cuts us off in traffic or jumps ahead of us in the grocery store line, we will utter a little prayer for him.
We can ask God to help us have a teachable spirit. If we make a "C" instead of our usual "A" on an exam, this can be a good lesson in humility, and perhaps help us be better able to empathize with those who struggle in school. If the doctor's office makes a billing error and thinks we have not paid a bill, instead of seeing it as an annoyance, we can realize that many people face this monthly -- and some are unable to keep up with bills, even if they are working full-time or overtime and doing the best they can. He can teach us valuable lessons from every situation we face.
We can practice thankfulness. I hope you will join me in trying to find at least one thing for which to be thankful, in every situation you face--whether it's a trivial annoyance or a deep pain.
Dear Lord, please help us to see all people and circumstances through Your eyes. Help us to retain the smiles on our faces and in our hearts, no matter what is happening around us. In Jesus' name, amen.
1 The New International Version, (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House) © 1984.