Countenance isn’t a word we use much in everyday conversation, and I’m not sure why. It’s a great word. It says, “the way a person looked like they were feeling” all in three little syllables.

I’ve been thinking about MY countenance lately. I know that I am a positive, usually cheery, very friendly person. I also know that most of the time, I don’t LOOK like it.

I squint a lot, sometimes even when I have my glasses on. Squinting automatically gives the impression of being disagreeable. It was worse before I got my glasses again. Imagine me, singing on the worship team, squinting at the monitor trying to read the words — and looking grumpy while singing praises to God!

I frown while I think or ponder things – even if I’m not thinking about something unhappy. I might be trying to think of a good gift to give my husband but you’d never know it by looking at me. I often realize in the middle of listening to a pastor that I’m frowning at the pastor! I immediately try to switch to something that appears like interested listening, but I’m sure most of the time I look like I’m disagreeing with what the pastor is saying!

When daydreaming, I stare off into space – often in the direction of some other person without realizing it. It’s a little unsettling because I’ll suddenly realize I’m staring at somebody (probably with a frown on my face!) and then try to cover it with a big smile so they don’t think I was glaring at THEM. Oy.

And then there are times that I just flat out am not really thinking of anything or feeling particularly anything and for some reason just don’t have a very happy look on my face. I often caught myself, while nursing or rocking one of my children, staring at their little face, not really thinking anything, and then realizing that I probably looked unhappy while staring at my child – not the picture I want to present. It’s a good thing that very young infants haven’t learned to interpret facial expressions yet. 😛

I don’t think there are any direct biblical passages talking about keeping a pleasant face. But I do know that there are other passages that speak of our character and our witness. And I’ve come to the conclusion through these experiences that I’m not giving a good impression of my character and witness if I have a sad or grumpy countenance.

If you think I’m grasping at straws suggesting some kind of biblical support for pleasantness, consider the practical applications as well. More times than I can recall, my countenance caused some kind of issue with my spouse. My frown was misinterpreted and my husband felt like I disagreed with him when I really didn’t.

Imagine how many confrontations you could avoid by keeping a pleasant face. Imagine being remembered by your children, spouse, and other people you met as someone “with a kind face.”

When I think of Jesus, I imagine him with a kind face. We know there were a few times he got angry at sin, and I’m sure there were a few times he felt sad, but I’d like to think that most of the time he had a kind countenance. He was after all, sinless, and there would have been no cause for grumpy, unhappy or disagreeable looks.

I realize that most of the time I make grumpy faces unintentionally, but no one else knows that. It gives the impression of things that aren’t there, and that’s the part I don’t like. I don’t want to give the IMPRESSION of sinful attitudes – especially if they’re not really there!

So how can I work on keeping a kind countenance? It’s something I think about frequently, and whenever I think about it I give myself a countenance check. I think it also takes practice, like keeping good posture. So I practice keeping a pleasant countenance while listening to my children tell something, while teaching them, while talking with my husband…. I haven’t mastered this yet, but I’m betting that’s the big one right there: Practice, practice, practice. I’m hoping that with enough practice, over time, it becomes a habit.


0 0 votes
Article Rating

Written by


Hey, y’all! I’m Amber and I wear many hats. I drink a ton of coffee and I’m constantly sweeping crumbs off the floor. After 18 years of homeschooling, I’m getting close to graduating my third child and now we are starting over at preschool with our fourth, Lil Miss Mouse. She keeps us young and she’s the main reason for my excessive coffee consumption. Drink up!