Have you stopped to look at the people you pass in your local grocery store, convenience store or supermarket lately? I have started doing just that, making it a point to smile at each and every one that I pass along the way.

I receive very few smiles in return. It's not just a specific age of people. I pass all ages and they all look as if they might break something were they to smile back at me.

I often wonder: Is there something on my face? Maybe there’s something in my teeth, or maybe my hair is sticking straight up and I don’t realize it?

It has to be something, right? I mean, who doesn’t love to smile?

“Why do so many people look so unhappy?” I asked myself. Is it the masks? Perhaps we wore those stupid things for so long that we have forgotten that we can smile. And what were those masks really hiding? Most of us know that they weren’t preventing a virus. What they seem to have messed with is our ability to show joy!

Our world seems to be filled with more stress and anxiety. Constant restlessness and impatience for things to happen will steal your joy and rob you of precious time and priceless moments. As one of my favorite authors, Elisabeth Elliot, wrote, “Restlessness and impatience change nothing except our peace and joy.” Our joy doesn’t come from ourselves, other people, or material things, it comes from God.

According to Elliot, “The world looks for happiness through self-assertion. The Christian knows that joy is found in self-abandonment. 'If a man will let himself be lost for My sake,' Jesus said, 'he will find his true self.’”

I know that there are most definitely moments in life when a smile is hard to find, but let that moment pass and remember that you have so much to be joyful about. You are breathing, you have life, you have family or friends that love you. You are here for a purpose.

There are no accidents in this life, my friend, only God’s will. He trusts us to be a light in a world of darkness and to share his love with others. Many times you will share your joy and feel that it goes unnoticed, but don’t stop.

There are many who are struggling with things we are unaware of who may later remember your smile or your kind gesture. There are those who feel hopeless and may stop and think after seeing your smile, that they, too, have a reason to smile.

Continue to smile, and you might just get one back. It would be pretty awesome if everyone reading this did just that. Maybe then, the table of misery wouldn’t have so many guests seated at it, for the table of joy would be the new place to be.

To connect with the author of this story, or to comment, email [email protected].

Don't miss out! Subscribe to our newsletter and get our top stories every weekday morning.