Ah, the fifth and final habit of Mystie Winckler’s Humble Habits course: Smiling. Why smiling? Because we are called to “Serve the LORD with gladness!” (Psalm 100:2a) And part of serving the Lord is serving our families. What attitude characterizes our interactions with our family?
This doesn’t mean we must always be happy and smiling, as if nothing was ever wrong or needed a serious discussion or disposition. But surely there are times when we can be more intentionally pleasant.
Until this past week, I didn’t have any written goal for smiling, but it was thought-provoking. I was much more aware of how often I don’t actually look at my family members when we’re talking to one another. I continue to chop vegetables or clean the desk, or whatever other tasks are SO important, while we’re talking, usually without actually looking at the person talking to me.
There are two areas I thought I could work on. The first is a smile first thing in the morning. The second is to look at the person when they begin speaking to me.
The habit I have been working on most diligently is making sure I greet each family member with a smile the first time I see them in the morning. Not everyone smiles back, but I usually get the beginnings of a smile in response. It’s hard not to smile when someone smiles at you.
Response with a pleasant look
The habit I want to acquire, but haven’t been as good about is that of looking a person in the eyes when they ask a question or begin talking to me.
Not that I need to completely stop all my activity while people talk to me (we would never eat!). But when someone asks me a question or begins a story, I can take 2 seconds to look up, look them in the eye, and have a pleasant look on my face to show that what they have to say is important to me. We all want to be noticed and attended to.
As I look back on this course, it’s easy to see the areas where I didn’t follow through and what didn’t work. It’s amazing how hard it is to add even very small habits to our lives. But I don’t want to think that it wasn’t worth it to try to implement these habits. It was instructive to see what was easy, what was hard, what was important and what was not as helpful.
Going forward, I want to continue placing scripture in my path first thing in the morning, I want to continue finding ways to add more movement into my life, I want to find quick moments to read (maybe rather than look at my phone!), I want to capture truth and continually put it in front of myself, and I want to be intentionally pleasant and look my family members in the eye when I talk with them.
It may look different than Mystie suggested but I have a better awareness of what to work toward going forward.
Whether or not you were part of the Humble Habits course, are there ideas or changes that you have made or want to make? Start small, but keeping working toward those goals!