Who are you serving with your joy?
Sometimes I don’t feel like smiling. I’m moody that way, I suppose. It’s not that I’m not happy. It’s not that there aren’t good things going on in my life. It’s not that I have something against those who smile often. There are just days that I don’t want to smile. Or laugh. Or jump up and down and dance a jig. Definitely not dance a jig.
But the other day, I was sitting around the table with some sisterfriends from my church as we were planning curriculum for our Children’s Church. We were brainstorming various ways we could teach children to serve. That’s when that three letter word came up. It’s been chasing me down now for the last few months.
My first thought was, “What does joy have to do with anything?” My next thought was a bit more convicting: “Is joy really an act of service?”
Ding! Ding! Ding!
So here’s the thing: When I say “I don’t feel like smiling,” I’m clear that I’m not considering anyone else but me. What I want. What I feel like doing.
But smiles aren’t always for me. Laughter isn’t just for my release. No one is walking around smiling at themselves in every reflective surface—mirrors, spoons, glasses just because. Well, I suppose there are people who do that, but there are places for them. Most of the time our smiles are unconscious. An automatic response to our mood. A reflection of the joy or lack of joy that resides in our spirit.
My smile is for my daughter who, as the late Toni Morrison once said, desires to see me “light up” when she walks into the room.
My laughter is for my friend who is struggling with the weight of illness and needs to hear me laugh to get a moment of relief.
“A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a broken spirit saps a person’s strength.” – Prov. 17:22 NLT
None of this is predicated on “how I feel.”
So when we smile (or laugh or, yes, even dance a jig) even though we don’t feel up to it, even though our mood doesn’t dictate it, it is a conscious and intentional act of service. We are giving of ourselves in a way that breaks down our pride and blesses others. Someone on our jobs, in our classrooms, in our homes needs our smile. Yes, even the fake one. Because you know what happens, right?
Smiles are contagious.
Laughter is infectious.
Your fake smile and mediocre mood has to bow down to the joy that comes from the act of serving someone by making him or her happy. All of sudden, you’ll find your smile to be real and your laughter to be authentic.
So here I go ….
What about you? Who will you serve with your smile or laughter today?