One morning I walked around the lobby area of our church before the doors for the service were opened. I like to do that to see who might be alone or look new or lost and try to connect with them as a way of extending a welcome. If you have been new to something like a church or event you know the feeling.
What makes it more likely that you will be noticed and welcomed if you are in this situation? I like to call it having a “yes face” – a concept I once heard from a pastor. I believe it was Chuck Swindoll.
What is a “yes face”?
It is a face that is worn by people who seem to be unable to suppress a smile. These people appear to be thinking lovely thoughts, seeing wonderful things, and smelling delightful aromas.
When you observe these people they exhibit certain characteristics.
- Approachable – you get the sense that if you approach them you will not be interrupting or annoying them. They will make time for you. They make eye contact and display an easy posture.
- Emotionally Available – you expect that they will not look past you, but will try to connect with you and get to know you. You do not perceive an aura of defensiveness around them.
- Others Focused – they seem to be interested in what is going on around them and who is present.
What does a “no face” look like?
- Pinched – brows furrowed, worried, angry or anxious. There may be a frown or an “almost frown” ready to break out at any moment. They may look like they perpetually smell 3-day-old fish.Self-absorbed – they seem to be in their own world and there is no room for anyone else and therefore…
- Unapproachable – Their demeanor signals “Leave me alone.”
Sadly, I have too often seen a “no face” on divorcees and others who have gone through painful experiences. It is not their faults, but it works against them. Often they are not even aware that this is what they are projecting to the world. But they are more likely to feel isolated and not know why.
I believe that both faces are an external reflection of what is going on internally. When we cultivate joy and peace and forgiveness and optimism it will leak out of us naturally. But when we nurse bitterness and fear and negativity, that is likely to leak out of us as well.
Take a look in the mirror. What do you imagine people see? Is there a ready smile on your lips and eyes that sparkle? Or do you look upset, scared or apathetic?
For those who wish to be included, and especially for those singles that are looking to connect with the opposite sex this is something that needs to be mastered. The best way we can do this is by being present and aware when we are around people – and to care for our heart when we aren’t. Feed yourself the goodness of God and let it drip from you at all times.
Job 29:24 When I smiled at them, they scarcely believed it; the light of my face was precious to them.