Lined up, engines running, we sat in our cars at the intersection waiting for the traffic light to change. To my left, a middle-aged male driver stared ahead with a dead pan face. On my right, the female driver scowled reminiscent of my cat.
What do people see when they look at me? Does my face appear frazzled or irritated because I’m running late today?
I studied my tired face in the rear-view mirror and intentionally SMILED!
Like magic, my reflection became prettier and younger looking.
When the traffic light turned green, the other drivers sped ahead, but I got a wild hair and challenged myself to…
SMILE, all the way to my destination.
Can I smile for twenty-minutes with no other reason than to look happy?
Here’s what I discovered.
It takes fewer facial muscles to smile than to frown, but after five minutes, my cheek muscles ached. Maybe I should exercise those babies more often.
I glanced in the mirror at the fake smile pasted on my face. How do those beauty pageant contestants smile throughout a contest even when they lose?
To keep smiling, and look genuine, I had to think happy thoughts. “What a lovely day. The sun is breaking through the rain clouds; the field grass is turning green.”
Sure enough, my smile grew bigger, brighter.
If I allowed somber thoughts to slip into my mind, my lips instinctively sagged. So I HAD to control my thoughts.
Whenever a car passed me in the left lane, I’d turn my head and flash my pearly whites hoping someone would return the smile. But people didn’t look my way … which my husband would say is a good thing … because that meant THEY were concentrating on the road.
My concentrated effort to smile paid off.
I showed up to my destination ten minutes late. But, instead of resembling Dwarf Grumpy and making excuses when I walked into the room, I smiled and greeted everyone as though I’d won the lottery.
So why am I surprised?
God knows my thoughts affect my moods, perspective, my words and actions.
The Bible says “whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable–if anything is excellent or praiseworthy–think about such things” (Philippians 4:8).
Don’t wait for the feelings to come. Think about such things.
And when necessary, choose an action that will lift thoughts heavenward.