Smiling Behind the Mask

“Let us always meet each other with smile, for the smile is the beginning of love.”

Mother Teresa            

With masks now a part of our daily routine, I miss seeing people’s smiles. Your smile says a lot about you. You can have a big, toothy grin or a Mona Lisa subtle wrinkle to your lip. My smile has changed from dimples in my mouth line to creases in my face and crow’s feet around my eyes. As I get older, I want to smile more than ever…even if it is covered by a mask. People know when you are smiling.

I have always been mesmerized by a smile.  My mom was a practicing dental hygienist for over 30 years. If there is anyone who knows the code – brush your teeth, floss once a day and go to the dentist – it is I.  To the chagrin of many, I actually enjoy visiting the dentist. There is something really cool about having that “polished” sensation when the cleaning is done.

Smiling is one of the greatest tools in a leader’s tool belt. I wasn’t very good at it when I first came to Grace Family Church. After being there for a few months, Craig pulled me aside after a morning service and said, “You need to change your face when you are walking around church.  I know you are focused on getting things done but you look too intense.”  In my mind, “There was always “too much to do and too few people to do it.”  As I began changing my face, my attitude changed as well. I slowed down to talk to people and more importantly, to listen. As I did this, I found out that I really enjoyed hearing a person’s story and find out their gifts and talents. Ironically, as I did this, I found out there weren’t too few people serving. I was walking right past them.

A smile is universal.  It can be used in joy and pain, gladness and sorrow and many times in utter “I don’t know have a clue what to do” moments.  I had the wonderful opportunity to hear Andy Andrews give a three-hour presentation and one of the great nuggets from his talk was “smile when you talk.”  He shared how it helps you in communicating, negotiating and in business in general. 

In my business, it allows me to share the great joy I have in knowing Jesus Christ as my personal savior.  I can celebrate someone else’s win and be genuine about it.  I can sympathize with someone in a time of heartache and bring hope. I can recognize someone and let him know how important he or she really is.  A smile has unlimited potential in all situations to unlock the key to the next step. 

It also can be useful in eliminating something that gets all of us in trouble – our words.  We want to say the perfect thing or we just start talking hoping we just “roll into it.”   A smile is a great reason to pause and reflect before we engage our words and let everyone know what we think.  James 1 says, “Be slow to speak, quick to listen and slow to anger.”  If we add smiling to any or all of those three, I wonder if the results in many of our life situations would change?

A final thought – don’t let your smile become a mask. In a day where people want to look like we “have it all together”….we don’t. I don’t. I am daily seeking God to work on me, show me my weaknesses, maximize my strengths and grow. Add the daily pressures of relationships, work and unexpected curve balls – life is challenging. Don’t smile to say “I am ok and don’t need anyone.” Instead, smile and say, “I can’t do this alone and I want to invite you into my journey.” A genuine ask for help met by someone who sincerely wants to walk with you as you grow through life…

The thought of it makes me smile.

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