Times have changed...but I am still smiling. #itestify

Today, when I walked into my new favorite brunch spot, the owner greeted me with a big 'hello'. As I walked by, I over-heard her telling the customers at the register that I always had such a big beautiful smile on my face. The kind that lit up the room. 
Hearing her say this about me made my heart smile a bit.

I was a little shocked when the owner came over to my table, sat down and started asking me questions about the source of my smile. She asked me why I always seemed to smile...she asked me if my life had always been good...if that's the reason why I smile so much.I didn't have an easy answer to this question...so I just 'smiled' at the nice lady
...and hoped she would drop it.

She did.

I thought about the question a bit more. 

I remembered the times when I didn't have a good reason to smile...but smiled anyway. There were actually lots of reasons.

I smiled because I didn't want anyone to know what I was going thru...whether it was depression, anger, hurt, fear, or worry.

I smiled thru my insecurities and low self-esteem...hoping that my smile made me look confident to those around me.
I performed for the people in my life...
and my smile was a mask. 
I wore it to protect myself; to protect my heart. I was afraid that they wouldn't like or 
love the real me. I didn't think they could handle it.

So I thought I was protecting them from it...by hiding. At least that is what I was trying to do.
It was exhausting.
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One day I realized that God always saw me and loved me unconditionally. And...he had sent people to love me...who could see me too. I didn't need a mask anymore...
There was no reason to hide.
I could just be me...warts and all.

I smile today because my heart is filled with joy and love. It sometimes comes out when I meet people. I kinda can't help it.
...and that's OK.
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