Grace Notes: Stinky Face

By Deborah Coty

Our conversation as my preschool grandbuddy Blaine watched me applying make-up:

Blaine: What’s that stuff do, Mimi?

Me: It’s blush; it gives me more color.

Blaine: Oh. Why do you want to be pink?

Me: I don’t want to be pink. I just don’t want to look like a walking marshmallow.

[Silence while he contemplates this deep concept.] 

Blaine: What are you doing now, Mimi?

Me: Spraying perfume to make me smell pretty. See – [holding out wrist for olfactory inspection] – What do you think?

Blaine: [making stinky face] Ewww. You smell like my Pull-Ups. 

Swell.

I, too, have been perfecting my stinky face lately. Not intentionally, but when I pass the reflective surface of a mirror, microwave, or window, I’m floored at the scary expression staring back at me.

The thing is, I’m not necessarily angry … or sad … or even displeased. I’m just preoccupied. So preoccupied that I’m not aware of what my face is doing, and apparently when ignored, my facial muscles default to the same scowl I’d seen on my mother’s face a million times as a child.

I used to think she was mad at me. When I asked her what I’d done, she seemed surprised. “Why, nothing,” she said, “I’m not upset with you; I’m focused on what I’m doing. Just ignore my face.”

Well, that’s impossible, isn’t it? The face is the window into the mind. We read the faces of others to discern what they’re thinking. It’s the way Papa God wired us. Reading faces is our feedback mechanism to know where we stand with others. Body language sends signals loud and clear to those around us about what’s going on inside.

So that leads me to these convicting questions: Does my expression edify people or frighten the bejeebies out of them? Are they blessed or intimidated? Does the love of Jesus shine through my eyes and encourage through my smile? Has my face caught on to the joy of the Lord in my heart?

In a nutshell, is the God’s-love-with-skin-on-it ME I want to portray to people the ME they really see?  

Hmm. Maybe I should tell my face the good news more often. Perhaps I should make a serious effort to be more aware of my subconscious stinky face and offer my countenance to the Lord as an instrument of praise.
And leave the Eau de Pull-Ups at home. 

“I give you thanks, O LORD, with all my heart” (Psalm 138:1, NLT) And my face.