What’s your face like today? Is it weighted down with a frown or lifted with a smile? A smile is better!
The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands. Day after day they pour forth speech; night after night they reveal knowledge. They have no speech, they use no words; no sound is heard from them. Yet their voice goes out into all the earth, their words to the ends of the world. In the heavens God has pitched a tent for the sun.
Psalm 19:1-4 – NIV
Here in Covid Land, much to my frustration, my gym is still closed. Without benefit of an air conditioned gym, I am left with only one exercise option…to walk outdoors in the summer heat. Let me tell you that July in North Carolina is just plain hot, not too mention humid! My grandfather used to term it “lay by time,” the stretch where there wasn’t too much to do for the crops except let them grow, and oh by the way, it was too beastly hot to do any work in the field anyway. So you get the picture, it’s miserable hot around here right now!
Given the heat wave, I have moved my walking time to 6:15am. The alarm goes off at 6am, and I try to bounce happily out of bed. It doesn’t always work.
I’m not proud of it, but some mornings, I stumble down the back steps with a grimace on my face. A portion of that bad attitude can be blamed on the humidity that nearly knocks me down when I open my back door, but I fear a larger portion of the blame is internal. Not only am I hot, but I’m tired.
I am tired of the situations we find ourselves burdened with at the moment. I’m tired of masks and hand sanitizers. I’m tired of worrying about what I should and should not do. I’m tired of the seemingly endless limitations, and all the while, I fear for my loved ones. I want the hassles and hardships to go away, but they won’t. No small wonder there is a grimace on my face.
So that’s how it was the other morning when I stepped onto my street, heart heavy, shoulders slumped, worry lines making a path across my face. The troubles of the day were already needling me as I made my way down the road.
And then it happened. A golden ray of sunshine peeked through the trees and touched the side of my face. The green grass of my neighbor’s yard simply glowed in the golden light. Struck by the shimmering rays of sunshine, I couldn’t help but react. A huge grin spread across my face, replacing my scowl, washing away my worry lines. The beauty of the morning eclipsed the worries of the day, tossed them aside, demanding that I stop and take notice. It was like receiving a summons to pause and rejoice in the beauty of creation, as if the sun had grabbed me by the shoulder and exclaimed, “Don’t miss this!”
Here’s the thought that came to me at that moment: “Start with a smile.”
Was it a message? I think so. God was reminding me, “Start with a smile.”
Here’s where my thoughts went next: “Start the day with a heart of praise. Treasure the good things first. Notice the beauty all around. Let go of the problems for now and revel instead in His glory, in the beauty of His creation, His precious gift for the morning.”
“Wow!” I thought to myself as I strolled along smiling at the sky above me. And you know what? With a smile stretched across my skin, I felt better. My load seemed lighter, my worries less weighty.
In truth, nothing had changed as far as my circumstances. What changed was my attitude. I had shifted my focus away from my problems and toward my Lord. With eyes fixed on Jesus, my list of concerns seemed less troublesome.
By starting the day with a smile, I changed my perspective. The problems didn’t evaporate, but they didn’t dominate either. Looking around at the flowers and trees, the blue sky above and the rising sun peeking through the branches, I was reminded that the God who created all this beauty is the same God who walks with me through the storms. His power is limitless. His purposes are good. His love is unfailing, His compassion so deep that He would show up this morning and remind me to smile.
So friends, will you join me today? Will you start the day with a smile? Will you let go of your troubles and lift your eyes to the sky? Will you notice the beauty of creation and give Him thanks? Will you trust your problems to The Lord and believe that He will see you safely through the present storms?
Let’s don’t waste this day with worry. Let’s welcome it with worship. Start with a smile!
The law of the Lord is perfect, refreshing the soul. The statutes of the Lord are trustworthy, making wise the simple. The precepts of the Lord are right, giving joy to the heart. The commands of the Lord are radiant, giving light to the eyes.
Psalm 19:7-8 – NIV
O Sovereign Lord, thank You for the beauty of Your creation. It is amazing, Lord, a precious gift we can open anew each morning. Thank You for this day that You have given us. May we use it for Your glory. May we leave behind our bad attitudes and put on a smile instead. Help us to trust You with our problems and thank You for Your daily blessings. Let us share our smiles with others, lifting their downtrodden hearts just as You have lifted ours. Let us welcome this day with worship.
In the Glorious Name of Jesus, we give all thanks and praise,