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Serious Smile

August 15, 2009

Life is very serious, and so it must be handled with a very serious smile. And it’s best to bring it with you, for quite often circumstances will not provide you with provocation. I am not telling you to “look within.” Sometimes the only smile you can find there is that of a court jester or a cynic. Nor am I suggesting that you somehow transcend reality with some blind spiritual ecstasy. That is an escape reserved for concentration camps and extreme suffering.

The creative mind finds it difficult to smile in the midst of drudgery. The difference between a smile and a gripe is not the circumstance, but the point of view. To the rancher it’s a useless place to raise cattle; to the oil man it’s a treasure trove. To the tired mother, repeating the same chores day after day, struggling to keep peace with the children, aware of her fading youth and her failure to have achieved the self-expression she expected, wishing for romance that died too quickly, today is just another burden to be borne; whereas to the mother with a vision for eternity, today is an opportunity to be God’s nanny, teaching His kids to honor Him. She doesn’t carry the burden of personal ambition.

Borrowed worries can leave us pulling God’s load, probably in a direction He would never take it. My Daddy used to say that he found life difficult until he resigned as chairman of the universe. The common laborer smiles while his boss pulls his hair out. If you’re not running the company, but assuming the responsibility anyway, you may never find rest. The song says, “Trust and obey, for there’s no other way to be happy in Jesus, but to trust and obey.” If you look at the quality of your trust, your smile may vanish, but if you look to the success of Him whom you trust, there will always be more than enough motivation to smile.

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5 comments on “Serious Smile”

  1. “She doesn’t carry the burden of personal ambition.” I cast this burden upon the Lord 4yrs. ago, when I read “Created to be His Helpmmeet” for the first time!!! When I think of all God has blessed me with and how much I don”t deserve it, my heart can”t help but smile!!!

  2. Oh how often I burden myself with the heavy load God was prepared to carry, instead of carrying Jesus’ yoke that is light, soft and easy to bear. I take too much responsibility on myself, to the point that I stress just about everything. The baby wakes the moment I ‘should’ have started cleaning. The toddler wants Mommy to come play mud cakes just as I was about to (or is busy with) preparing dinner. At such a moment my blood pressure soars and I have a hard time feeling any peace or joy. I know my face then is hard and tense and if I try to smile, I know my children know it’s because I try, not because I feel it. And that makes my tension worse, because I SO want to be joyful and ‘easy going’ in my life. My brain knows I should rest and rejoice in the Lord, my heart has been trained with fear and guilt as a child, leaving me struggling daily with myself, daily praying for the ability to overcome unnecessary stress. Dear Father in Heaven, I seriously need Your smile on my face !!!

  3. I lead and teach in Children’s Church. How I became in touch with your writings was through one of the children I serve. He brought your Bible about good and evil. It has only been since this week that I’ve begun to tap in to your very helpful guidance. Right now I’m running alittle tired because our church burnt down, and another church has joined in with us. More children coming in requires as you well know, a lot of moving furniture around in a very small area to accommodate children from ages toddlers to 14. Your spiritual guidance regarding children is very timely. Thank you. Num. 6:24-26