Just Keep Smiling :)

Hi PWYFA Family! Cameron Dobbs here!

Recently, I recorded a podcast episode with Maia Mae Huff. Spoiler alert, she is our guest in our upcoming Season 2 episode! I cannot wait to share our conversation. Until then, here is something that struck me.

Maia Mae has a beautiful company called MM Designs. One of her most popular items is her Keep Smiling Hat. These trucker hats have the cutest smiley faces patched onto the front of them. She says this in the product description in reference to their motivation, “Yes, life can be very difficult and it’s not in hopes of ignoring that but instead to find the beauty & strength to smile in the little moments He’s given us + to look forward because the best is yet to come!!” Wow. So good!

There’s a lot of power behind a smile. Check out this excerpt from my book, PWYFA Play Where Your Feet Are™.

Have you ever heard a song and thought to yourself, “If there were a movie about me, this song would be playing at *insert moment*? Well, just about the time I joined [my volleyball club’s top 14s team] and my nerves escalated through the roof, Kelly Clarkson released an absolute banger, “What Doesn’t Kill You Makes You Stronger.” My mom told me that this would be my anthem for the year, and of course, “Mother knows best,” so it was. (“Girl on Fire” was the following year’s anthem–college scholarships started coming in, so my mom had to hype me up. Thanks, Mama. Love you.”

Hard workout after hard workout, and guess what? I survived, and I became stronger…

Whenever I go through something hard in life, I always return to Clarkson’s hit. I also return to 2 Corinthians 4:8-9, which tells us, “We are pressed on every side by troubles, but we are not crushed. We are perplexed, but not driven to despair. We are hunted down, but never abandoned by God. We get knocked down, but we are not destroyed.” No matter how hard things get, no matter how bent I become, I never seem to break–not physically, emotionally, or spiritually. And you know what? I don’t think I ever will…

Over the years, I’ve come to realize it’s easy to trust God with the things you can control. What’s tough is trusting Him with the things you cannot. Praising God and focusing on Him when life is hard is when your faith is most renewed, restrengthened, and rewarded. Just remember, “bent” doesn’t mean “broken”–what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger,… [and] God has a reputation that precedes Him. He, too, is undefeated–always has been, always will be.

I sang “What Doesn’t Kill You Makes You Stronger” for over a year. Believe me when I tell you, declaring that over your life will make an impact. I’m not just saying that either. Did you know that smiling while you run tricks your brain into enjoying the process, calms you down, and allows you to breathe easier? It is a scientifically proven fact.”

Did you catch that? Smiling is a scientific technique to get through the toughest challenges.

In writing my book, I did a lot of research to cite sources and fact-check information. Noel Brick and Richard Metcalfe wrote an incredible article speaking on this very concept. They state, “Smiling may increase relaxation among runners, while frowning may increase tension… our recommendation is to pay some attention to your facial expression and to smile as much as you can during your run. Even when the miles seem grueling, try to focus on pleasant memories, beam and say hello to people as you run past, grin at cameras on the sidelines, or even a small smile to yourself when you complete each mile will work too.”

Maybe that’s what it means in Isaiah 40:31 when it says those who hope in the Lord “will run and not grow weary.”

In running our races, we can focus on the most pleasant memory — Christ our Savior and the hope we have in Him. There is never a day that our circumstances stop us from smiling. We have the power to choose joy. We have the power to raise a Hallelujah in the middle of our storms. Like Maia Mae says, we have the power “to smile in the little moments He’s given us + to look forward because the best is yet to come.”

Friends, we have the power to keep smiling, and there is so much power in that.

To read more about the science behind smiling, check out the following articles:

How to improve your running? Smiling boosts efficiency, researchers find

The Epic Untold Story of Nike’s (Almost) Perfect Marathon

The Effects of Smiling and Frowning on Perceived Affect and Exertion While Physically Active

Biofeedback and relaxation techniques improves running economy in sub-elite long distance runners

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