“Serve the Lord with gladness…” (Psalm 100:2a)
It speaks a universal language. Its value is priceless, yet it costs you nothing to give it away. It brightens everything around you. It’s contagious!
A smile is one of the most precious gifts you can enjoy, whether you’re the giver or receiver. And, the benefits can be enormous.
According to Meg Selig in Psychology Today, smiling can make you look younger and thinner. (Wow, I could sure use those blessings!)
It elevates your mood, creates a sense of well-being, and induces more pleasure in the brain than chocolate does. (As a chocolaholic, I find that hard to believe…but maybe it’s true since I smile more while I’m indulging in M&Ms.)
A smile makes you seem courteous, likable, and competent. Plus, Selig cites research that shows the wider your smile, the longer your lifespan will be…can’t beat that!
What I thought was most interesting in her report is that even a forced smile can boost your mood. It seems that putting on a smile, especially when you’re already down in the dumps, can make you feel happier.1
All of the pandemic masking in the past year has made smiling rather difficult for all of us. That’s why it’s more important than ever to give someone else a huge smile whenever you can be unmasked now. Even while still masking up, use your eyes and voice to send a “smile” to someone who needs encouragement.
Smiling is a privilege, too, that we can use to serve our Lord. Noted 19th-century preacher Charles Spurgeon urged us to “delight in divine service,” saying that God is the “Lord of the empire of love” and would have His servants “dressed in the livery of joy.”
“Cheerfulness is the support of our strength; in the joy of the Lord are we strong,” Spurgeon said. “It acts as the remover of difficulties.”2
That certainly implies that a smile is not only our obligation as servants of Christ, it helps make life easier for us. Just as a soft answer turns away wrath, a smile can help remove some of conflicts we experience in social interactions and other difficult situations.
How can you use a smile today, to brighten your own day or someone else’s? You are serving Jesus when you smile while sharing His story. You are praising Him best when you smile and dance in His presence.
His great love is always worthy of a joyful response. Stretch your faith and face muscles with a great big smile right now!
Jesus, how we praise You with joy in our hearts today for Your gift of salvation to us. Remind us to share smiles with everyone we meet, reflecting Your love for them. Make us beacons of joy in a world that needs more cheer. In Your good and perfect name, Amen.
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© Copyright 2021 Nancy C. Williams, Lightbourne Creative (text and photography)
Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
1Meg Selig, Psychology Today, May 25, 2016; https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/changepower/201605/the-9-superpowers-your-smile
2From Morning and Evening, a collection of excerpts from the writings of Charles Spurgeon