It is interesting how God will put multiple events/conversations, etc. before us that all relate to a similar theme. He usually does this to teach us something and to make us search His Word for His truth!
The past few days have been one such occurrence for me. I had been reading through several devotions at Above Rubies . Then, as I was "blog surfing", I came across a post on a blog that was talking about hypocrisy, smiling and referring to the author of the devotions at Above Rubies. The particular devotion was entitled, "The Warmth of A Smile" by Nancy Campbell. Then, a friend posted on our homeschool egroup list some comments on another recent devotion she had received. It is posted here.
I wanted to share what the Lord has taught me about these ideas. Nancy makes a statement towards the end of her devotional, "Try it dear mother. Start smiling at your children. Keep smiling at your children. Smile when you are happy. Smile when you are unhappy. Smile even when you don’t feel like smiling." The blog I came across as I was "surfing" was critical of this statement. She thought that it was hypocritical to "smile even when you don't feel like smiling".
Unfortunately, the whole point of the devotional thought is being missed. If we are walking in the warmth of God's smile (realizing how He is looking upon us), we should be doing the same with our children! God's Word talks repeatedly about being joyful whether we "feel" like it or not (1-feelings/"fleshly reactions" are deceitful and not what we are to pin our understanding on anyway). It doesn't mean we are always "happy" in the situation but we are filled with joy (2) because God is faithful even when we are not!
We need to remember to share that joy with our children! It is so easy to give lots of smiles to everyone but our own family, so it wouldn't hurt to try to keep it foremost in our mind to make sure we smile when the opportunity arises. Many tense moments have been broken by a smile or a laugh in the midst of it... "(3)laughter is good medicine". It doesn't have to be done hypocritically... but we may have to renew our minds to the understanding of how God wants us to be with our kids and others around us. Smiling at others would be done in obedience to what God calls us to do--"love one another". It may take some effort, but with God's help--asking HIM to help us realize when to share a smile, when to laugh/release our tension, etc.--we can share the joy He has placed within us.
If we make ourselves smile, even if it is only in the mirror at ourselves, it will change our mood and attitude. Try it sometime, you just might make yourself laugh! So Nancy is right in saying that smiling can change the atmosphere of our homes, and there is nothing wrong with that! We tend to take our own family for granted so much and spend more time fussing with or about them instead of seeing them through God's eyes.
I know I do this often, unfortunately. My prayer is that God will open my eyes and my heart to see my children and family as He does, even in the midst of tough or stressful situations!
Just a few examples:
1- John 6:63; Jeremiah 17:9; Matthew 26:41; Romans 8:1, 5
2- Psalm 16:11, 27:6, 51:12; Nehemiah 8:10; Habbakuk 3:18; Zephaniah 3:17; I Thessalonians 2:19
3- Proverbs 17:22; Job 8:21; Psalm 126:2