What's so wrong with a smile?

A random memory came to mind today. It was one of those thoughts that literally pops into your head, and is completely unrelated to your surroundings..and it was a funny one, so it made me chuckle out loud, which led to that awkward feeling you have when you are sitting completely alone, just laughing to yourself. You know what I'm referring to, we've all done it. Anyways..the memory:

hen I was about 8 years old, my aunt asked me to be a flower girl in her wedding. Naturally, I was ecstatic-what little girl doesn't dream of being a part of a seemingly magical and surreal event like a wedding? Plus, she promised me a gift of stick-on earrings, and I got the pleasure of gloating to my brother about the fact that I was actually in the wedding procession, while he got stuck with "helping" with the sound system. What's not to love? As I was getting dressed in my frilly, green dress, that my darling mother had so painstakingly sewn, I had to admit that I had never looked quite so beautiful. I'm pretty positive that I actually convinced myself I was even comparable to the bride herself (humility was a fairly unfamiliar concept to 8-year Britni)! Finally, the time came to strut my stuff down that aisle. I stepped into line and put my game face on. However, as soon as I took in the fact that I would literally have the eyes of seemingly thousands of strange people all on me, I panicked. To my dismay,during my entire 2 minutes of fame I was making the most distorted faces that I could muster. The only thought running through my scattered mind was "whatever you do Britni, DON'T smile!" I puffed out my cheeks, frowned, bit my lip..anything to prevent even the slightest grin from escaping. Looking back at this mess of a performance, I have to wonder what on earth my reasoning could have been. Even later during the ceremony, the realization of what I had done sunk in. To this day, I don't know what could have accounted for the sudden imitation of a puffer fish that appeared on my face, other than some crazy antic of an 8 year old girl.

But remembering this incident got me thinking...why don't we let our beauty show? Now there are the obvious reasons such as the influence of our society on the perception of female "beauty," which deters women from exposing any beauty that doesn't align with the "standard." But I have to conclude that it runs deeper than that. There is beauty in kindness, in compassion, and in reaching out to others..but I sometimes find myself actually afraid of acting out those virtues. During a conversation I had with a couple friends this past month, we laughed (with some shame) at the fact that we were actually nervous to give a stranger a compliment. When really the probable response would be one of gratitude, and we could possibly be brightening their day on top of that. Why do we hesitate? I have to wonder if that is one of Satan's trickiest ploys, in his attempt to squelch the love of God. When we mask our beauty with coldness, humor, emotion, or whatever else, we are in a sense preventing a further sharing of God's love.
So, why?
Unfortunately, I don't have the answer. I am obviously just as guilty as the next person. But, I encourage you to ask the Lord to unveil your beauty, and be obedient in allowing him to do so. I guarantee most people in this world would much rather see your smile than your best imitation of a sea creature. :)