Have you ever felt like if the world was smiling, you wouldn't, just to spite them? I'm not saying that I am in such a pessimistic attitude; I'm just asking the question. Now I have been tempted to do just that, refuse to smile that is, and succumb to the constant negative. Recently I have heard of fellow ministers (both paid and not) and have noticed myself being bombarded by the oppressive influence of pessimism and hardship of the soul and mind. One perspective popular held to, is that this must mean we are doing something right, or else evil would be unwarranted. I somewhat agree with that and even acknowledge that suffering accompanies a closer relationship with God. Taking on the mantle of spiritual leadership opens us up to depression and hardship and we often forget to smile.
I was recently having a conversation with someone who was being very harsh with their criticism and remarks of both the leadership and direction of the church, and through his eyes I would have to agree with him. On my way out he said something to me that really stuck, "however bad they may be, I hope that you can keep up you enthusiasm." that made think of how I must come across to these people and how, as a whole, we ministers must always show a face of encouragement and general enthusiasm to the congregation. I did not expect the heavy weight that would be put on my emotional and spiritual back when I took this job. I have now adjusted and I not only accept but I also love the growth I have seen in myself because of it. I don’t think we must be charismatic, the world all ready has too much of that. However, we must remind ourselves to just smile. I challenge you to smile when you are with the church, when you are in elders/deacons meetings, when you are teaching/participating in small groups. Furthermore, when you do jump over the cliff and take the leap showing others that you choose to smile instead of cry, try mean it!