We’ve been told to wear masks in public for almost a year now! They may be helpful for health (although some say that’s up for debate), but they sure are a nuisance. They make it hard to breathe, hard to talk, hard to wear glasses (fog city!), and they are just kinda annoying.
But worst of all, I hate how masks prevent us from connecting with the people we come in contact with. Seriously, no one can see a large portion of our facial expressions! At times I’ve found myself asking, “Why am I smiling at that person, they can’t even see it?” Technically I can go from one public place to another, have on my grumpy face, and no one will know it!
But perhaps there’s reason to keep smiling, even if no one can see it.
A smile is such an interesting thing. Why does putting our mouth in a certain position communicate so much? I don’t know the answer to that question, but it seems that’s how God made us. Proverbs 15:13 says, “A glad heart makes a cheerful face.” In other words, if our hearts are glad our faces show it. And a mask doesn’t (or shouldn’t!) remove our happy hearts, so in that sense, it just makes sense to smile!
In reality, we should be smiling often (whether masked or not) because we have so many reasons to be joyful! Just the fact that we’ve been given another day is reason enough to rejoice. As Psalm 118:24 says, “This is the day that the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.” And then, we have a plethora of other God-given blessings to keep our hearts glad.
All that to say, we smile a lot because it’s a natural thing to do, especially as Christians.
Fight to Smile
Sometimes, I admit, it’s easier to not smile. Which probably reflects where my heart is in that smile-less moment. Which is exactly why we should keep smiling even when people don’t see it…it keeps our hearts in check. Choosing to smile nudges us towards a more joyful demeanor — it reminds us to cheer up a bit.
If that sounds far-fetched, picture a young child with a sour stare…you know they are grumpy, but as soon as you playfully coax a smile out of them, their whole demeanor changes. A smile seems to effect more than the shape of our mouths. In fact, I dare you to smile right now (if it wouldn’t be terribly awkward) and see if it doesn’t have at least a small affect on the inside!
It’s almost as if the mouth is connected to the “heart” by a string, and the upward motion of the smile tugs at the heart. It awakens it a little. This is all theory (and metaphor), but see if constantly choosing to smile doesn’t nudge you towards more joy.
The Habit of Smiling
Last but not least, we should smile because it’s a really good habit to maintain.
Smiling at people means we are conscious of them. It means we haven’t retreated into our own world and become unaware of who’s around us. Even if people can’t see our smile, each smile we give people is like a tiny act of kindness. It’s a habit that keeps us more others focused.
The other option would be developing a habit of not smiling at those we came across (because they can’t see it anyway). I can only imagine how easy our selfish hearts could get used to such a practice (or non practice). But that’s not the kind of people we want to be, we want to be smilers!
Be A Smiler!
It really does come down to the fact that we smile, even if no one sees it, because it reflects who we are—people who are joyful and can’t help but show it on our face, people who choose joy even when we don’t feel like it, and people who want to be others-minded and kind. All of which should bring that smile to our face!
So today, wherever you go, make sure to put your mouth in that particular upward position—keep smiling under your mask!