‘A happy heart makes the face cheerful.’ Proverbs 15:13 (NIV)
Since I was a teenager, I have had people ask me why I am frowning. I was always surprised, because I was never aware I was wearing a frown. I now realize that when I am deep in thought, writing, or reading, I do, indeed, tend to frown.
You no doubt have heard it said that it takes less muscles to smile than it does to frown. But I have found that often I find it easier to simply relax my face, and with that relaxation comes the frown.
Now, I have also had the opposite observation from others…that I am aways wearing a cheerful smile. I am joyful, and when I am around everybody notices and enjoys my laughter. And the fact is that I do love to laugh, I enjoy a good, clean joke, gentle teasing, and funny stories. I love to be around people, and when I am being social, then I will probably be this other person…the smiling one!
Frowning does not always mean I am sad, or depressed, or angry. It is just the natural way my countenance seems to lean. I recognize now that when I smile, or have a pleasant expression on my face, those around me are more upbeat, and more relaxed than if I am frowning. The reality is, I would prefer to wear the smile all the time, rather than the frown.
In life, we often have reason to frown. Yet sometimes we can’t contain our joy, and we must smile. We are complex beings and usually can’t simply choose one or the other. We must have reasons to feel a certain way, or to act another way. And while we can’t always control how we feel, there are actions we can take to help us choose the outcome of which choice we make. Those actions are found in the Word of God.
‘Then fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.’ Galatians 5:22-23 (NIV)
Each one of these “fruits” brings a bounty. When we love, we feel like singing. When we feel joy, we want to jump. When we find peace, we are comforted. When we are patient, we see a good end. When we show kindness, our heart fills with happiness. When we experience goodness, we long to see more. Faithfulness teaches us perseverance. Gentleness brings grace. And self-control shows the power of good discipline.
The Lord our God wishes us to be filled with laughter and joy. He knows it is good medicine for our souls. And it is a proven fact that laughter reduces stress and anxious feelings. It is a gift from God that we should exercise often, and be grateful for always. In this way, you and I can always claim a happy heart!
‘May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.’ Romans 15:13 (NIV)