Depression Impression

I have been leading a bible study on Tuesdays with the guys who work with me at Eastisde. This past week we started talking through the Fruits of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22,23) and we started with Joy – not because it’s the most important – but because I think it is one of the toughest, especially for guys. Our culture tends to treat joyfulness in men as somehow effeminate … Men are supposed to be reserved, stern, serious. It gives an impression of depression.

Standing on the stage in a church – you end up making lots of eye contact with people sitting in the audience. The ones that are most difficult are the ones that sit with their arms crossed and a scowl on their face. I’ve seen looks before that literally made me lose my place as to where I was in the talk. I think to myself – “Man! that guy hates my guts!! What did I do to him??” Then you talk to them after and – nope, they weren’t making a face at you or because of you – it’s just their normal, every day walking around face. A permanent frown – or scowl. Where is their joy? “Well,” you say – “not everyone has to smile all the time to prove they have joy Jason.” Actually, yes. That’s what a smile conveys – one’s joy! Have you ever tried to watch a funny movie or listen to a comedian and laugh while you are frowning? It’s impossible unless you are faking it. So when we have joy – it should be impossible to do anything but smile!

I feel sorry for all of the scowlers and frowners of the world. A life without joy is heartbreaking to me. If we believe in a star-breathing God (Psalm 33:6) who loves us and cares for our needs – joy should be the easiest thing in the world to find. There will always be times that hit us that bring sorrow and a time for tears but joy comes in the morning (Psalm 30:5).

So smile… and don’t be ashamed to keep that on your face. No one will think less of you… they’ll actually probably quit worrying you are depressed.

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