I will start with a story that I am not proud of, but led me to the theme of this post. Here in Buffalo last week we received some of the most extreme winter weather I have ever experienced. In addition to the foot and a half of snow, we had 4o mile an hour winds and wind chill temperatures of -30. Two days later, the roads were still difficult to travel, making even this simple 10 minute ride to pick up pizza a royal pain.
I am not patient with delays, and this trip had many with traffic, slow drivers, getting stuck at lights, etc. Between the still snowy roads and these delays, my patience ran out. All kinds of negative thoughts were running through my head, and all kinds of negative words were coming from my mouth. I was prompted and reminded by the Spirit about the positive thinking words I always preach, but it wasn’t working. In fact nothing was working to get me out of this funk.
Finally, after the Holy Spirit had tried all of its reminders and tricks, it reminded me of a message I had heard several years ago. It was about an author who discussed the effect and power of a smile. He had the readers try an experiment where they tried to think of something negative as they smile. I tried it then and several times since. It is extremely difficult. I decided to try that here during this negative tirade. Sure enough, I felt the cloud lift immediately. At first I was still complaining, though still with a smile on my face. Kind of like a toddler who laughs and cries at the same time. I could probably qualify because my actions were very toddler like : ) Anyway, it was about another minute before I was smiling all the way home, and the negative feelings quickly disappeared.
I will admit that there are times where we don’t want to smile, and obviously times like the death of a loved one where sad feelings will last for a while. That is certainly to be expected. However, there are many other times like my situation the other day. Sure I had reason to be frustrated. However, there was no reason to let it take me over as it did. I challenge you to try this little experiment the next time you find yourself allowing negative feelings and thoughts to take over your being. Keep a deliberate smile on your face, and see how long it takes before the feelings disappear. It may seem fake and foolish. However, that may even cause you to laugh a bit, and as you do the negative clouds will fade away much sooner.
I have said it many times, and it will always remain true. A smile is powerful. Even in a case like this where you may be all alone, holding a smile can change your attitude from negative to positive very quickly. If you don’t believe me then do so and find out for yourself. If you have a crazy story like mine, I certainly invite you to share. Enjoy the blessings 🙂