Sunday, December 21, 2014

When We Pretend to Smile



What if you don’t feel like smiling? What if the very fact you have to pretend to be happy makes Christmas day, a birthday party, a play date with your kids, an office party, or a vacation something you dread? 

There is a brick on your heart; there is a cloud over your mind. There is something in your life, something big, that takes over and causes you to have ill feelings. 

Maybe, it’s your baby who went to be with the Lord before you had a chance to meet them, or the child you know and love who gets sicker by the day. Or maybe, it’s the fact that Christmas is weeks away and you still don’t have a job or a way to pay your bills.  Your child’s birthday is tomorrow, and you don’t have the money in your bank account to buy a present. You have a New Year’s party to go to with your spouse, who has asked you for a separation. Or you have to spend a week with a family member whose behaviors and hurtful words tear the family apart. 

Whatever the situation may be, it is causing you pain, anxiety, or heartbreak that you just can’t cover up. You believe in God and you love God. You know that you have many blessings in your life, and that you should be thankful for them; yet, this one situation is robbing you of the joy you could be feeling. You feel angry that despite your hard work and faith in God, these bad things are happening to you.  

What do you do? Do you pretend to smile, or do you allow yourself to cry?

You cry. Because that is what our bodies do when we feel sad. Then, you rejoice. You rejoice in your sufferings because that is what God tells us to do. And no, your smile will not be fake. It will be real, because it comes from the power of the Holy Spirit. 

Paul writes in Romans 5:2-5 “And we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God.  Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance, perseverance, character; and character, hope.  And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us”. 

You see, when you become a Christian, God does not promise you will be free from hardships or suffering. In fact, it is almost a guarantee that at some point in your life you will have major hardships, pain and suffering. 

What God did promise, is that He will use those difficulties to help us grow in character. Even more, God has given us the Holy Spirit, which provides us with all the power and love that we could ever need to get through life’s painful times. 

We don’t have to fake being happy, nor do we have to wonder how we will get through the day. As Christians, we already have living within us, the power to feel joyful and have a joyful day. The key to tapping into this power and love that is already within you, is by believing and trusting in this ability and asking God to provide it. 

I like to think of the power and love of the Holy Spirit as the tears in my eyes. They are always there, in endless amounts, but they won’t flow freely from my eyes until my heart and mind react to something. I can’t just tell myself to cry and expect to cry. I have to go deeper than that. Likewise, the Holy Spirit is always there, ready to take over your heart and mind when you need it, but it’s not going to take over if you don’t believe it, accept it, and invite it to. 

We stand in grace, we are free from sin, and we have the power to overcome life’s most difficult circumstances. Will you invite the Holy Spirit to take over your heart and mind and put a real smile on your heart?

For more, read and pray over Romans 5:1-11.
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