Smile, I Did and Lost 40 Pounds | UMC YoungPeople
Connecting young people and their adult leaders to God, the church, and the world
November 2012

Smile, I Did and Lost 40 Pounds

By: Nick Chrisohon

I hate awkward situations. I really do. I'm also really good at making situations awkward. I'm not bragging - more lamenting.

As a kid, I used to hear stories about how smiling required less work than frowning and thus was easier. I have yet to do research on that statement, but there are plenty of times when it just isn't true. In awkward situations, smiling may as well be torture.

I recently had an awkward conversation with a woman I met at work. She asked why I came to Nashville and to Vanderbilt University, so I answered to get a divinity degree. She then asked me the question that still is hard for me to talk about... "Oh? So what are you going to do with that?" Now, my immediate response was, "I'm going to work for the church." Her response "oh very nice…or should I say – amen?"

I'm not sure what she meant. Is she actually a Christian, and that's just a funny response or was it - how I originally took it - an awkward attempt to neutralize her feeling that she can't be herself around me?

I know a guy who thrives off that moment. He loves when people feel like they have to stop being themselves and act differently because the "Christian" is in the room. I don't like that. If you want to change your behavior, then I feel you should do it on your own accord for your own benefit and not to appease me or anyone else. I'm not special enough to think the world should revolve around my presence and act accordingly, because I am the representative of God in the room.

Consequently, I'll probably be making a lasting impression on this girl on how a Christian should walk, talk, act, and be. I want her (and people in general) to understand that Christians are people too. We have issues, faults, and bad days. We constantly fail to abide by the moral codes given to us. It is this reason that being the Christian in the room has allowed me to gain perspective – and a sense of humor – about my role.

That role is to prove that there is good in the world, because the real effects Christians have are not solely within the church walls, because those people we are trying to reach are not within those walls. Our mission is to be carriers of the joy of God’s grace. Are we perfect? No. Are we going to screw up? Yes. But ultimately, your testimony to people is not how good you are at faking a smile and being good, but showing that you can find something to smile about after you have a bad moment and blown your cover.

Sure you can be the “good Christian,” but wouldn’t you rather drop the diet plan and go for being the one with a great personality?

Discussion: When have I tried too hard to be “the Christian?” When have I forsaken my Christianity to avoid the awkward moment? What is the balance between the two? How can I make smiling natural and not a workout?

See more devotions from Nick, and our other Young Adult writers, or find our how you can become a writer yourself at our By Young Adults for Young Adults devotion page.