You’re Never Fully Dressed Without a Smile

You probably know the drill as well as I do, the I-hate-the-way-I-look attitude combined with the I’m-running-late anxiety, with a little bit of everyone-else-looks-so-cute jealousy thrown in for good measure. You’re in the middle of your mascara routine, and it occurs to you that nothing about your appearance is playing out according to plan.

The dress you wanted to wear is at the bottom of the laundry basket. You dropped your favorite eye shadow pallet, sprinkling the bathroom floor with $11 worth of shimmery powder. You had high hopes that your hair would finally, just maybe, hold some curl today; instead it’s got this half-wavy, mostly frizzy thing going on, and there’s just no stopping it.

So you arrive to your destination, your friends greet you, and this distinctive, despairing wail comes gushing from the depths of your heart: “Guys, do I look okay?!”

“You look fine!” they all reply.

“You all look so cute! I look awful,” is the natural response.

I write from experience. Time-and-time-again. That makes me a veteran of this routine. I’m even plagued by a specific dream, well nightmare, where I’m scrambling to find something—anything—in my closet to wear so I can arrive to my destination on time. It takes me hours to get ready, and I’m rendered a wreck. Thankfully, I wake up from that disaster, but the anxiety lingers.

Maybe you can relate to locking yourself in the bathroom on the verge of a dramatic and tear-filled meltdown because you are vehemently displeased with your appearance. Mascara runs down your cheeks, and the entire contents of your closet might as well be on your floor. Or maybe you relate to the feeling of never measuring up, no matter how cute your hair and clothes are.

We all experience these getting-ready woes at one point or another, right?

With every gaze into the mirror, your insecurity builds, and you leave the bathroom with heightened self-loathing. I hate the way I look.

You and I both know that’s the wrong perspective to have—but in the moment, we can’t seem to shake the feeling, and we carry it with us wherever we go.

It’s time for a strong dose of the stuff that truly matters.

You’re Never Fully Dressed Without a Smile

Do you remember the song “You’re Never Fully Dressed Without a Smile” from Annie? That show tune was a childhood favorite of mine, but recently it’s turned into a mantra of sorts that gives me perspective when I’m looking in the mirror.

Usually somewhere between applying eyeliner and running a straightener through my hair, the lyrics play through my mind:

It’s what you wear from ear to ear
And not from head to toe
That matters.

Of course, our clothes do matter, because modesty is always the God-honoring choice. But it isn’t my clothes or makeup that matter most, but my attitude—my heart. My smile.

Wherever I’m going, by God’s grace, I want to remember the thing that matters above all, to the people I’m encountering and to our Father in heaven, is how I communicate with my words, attitudes, and actions.

She is clothed with strength and dignity (Prov. 31:25 NIV)

Let your adorning be the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which in God’s sight is very precious (1 Peter 3:4)

So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God (1 Cor. 10:31).

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law (Gal. 5:22–23).

I’m never fully dressed without a smile, a cheerful heart, a joyful spirit, an others-focused state of mind. Neither are you.

I’m never fully dressed without a smile, a cheerful heart, a joyful spirit, an others-focused state of mind.

Consider what happens when we get wrapped up by insecurities or swept away in a meltdown when things go awry. More often than not, we arrive to an event, gathering, or coffee date in a frazzled, tempestuous mood.

We’re consumed with self, and we become life-drainers rather than life-givers:

  • We’re self-focused clouds that rain on the parade.
  • Like Oscar the Grouch, we drag our nasty trash can into someone’s space and spread the stench of our bad mood.
  • We pass up opportunities for fun and memories.
  • Worst of all, we beg for attention and affirmation when our confidence is really meant to be rooted in Christ.

There’s a common thread linking these negative outcomes of frustration and insecurity: a prideful focus on self.

So how do we turn our focus from inward self-service to outward love as we look in the mirror? The answer isn’t found in turning a frown upside down, but in the good stuff—the eternal, truth-filled stuff—in God Himself.

Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men (Phil. 2:3–7).

We need a big view of Him. A grand, awe-inspiring view of His mighty power, love, mercy, and sovereignty. As we understand more of Him, we begin to get a glimpse of the big picture, the redemptive story of the gospel. And our concerns about makeup grow smaller and dimmer.

He can show us how to put on humility, love, joy, and a smile for His great glory.

When we’re most concerned with God’s glory, we learn humility—how to set aside our worries about our appearance in order to focus on the good of others. Our insecurities may fight back, tooth and nail. But by God’s grace, as we look into that mirror, He can show us how to put on humility, love, joy, and a smile for His great glory, even when you feel like the pits.

The next time you’re getting ready and you feel the frustrations and insecurities bubbling up, what will you do to remind yourself of God’s truth? You’re never fully dressed without a smile that shares the love of Christ!

About Author

Samantha Nieves

Samantha loves grammar, lazy lake days, iced green tea, and writing about the glorious gospel truths that transform our everyday lives. A northern Indiana native, Samantha now lives in South Carolina and serves as the social media manager on the Revive Our Hearts staff.

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  • MarihelenG

    So true!

    • Samantha Loucks Nieves

      Thanks for reading!

  • Deena Maga

    Thank you, I sooo needed this, cause sometimes I do feel this way, and get caught up about makeup and such but I know that, that really doesn’t matter what matter is showing the real true reflection of your heart which is God. So thank you once again for reminding me of that today.

  • Anonymous Sister

    Girls, let me tell you a secret. I used to hate the way I look. I have 1000 and 1 freckles which people always told me looks adorable but I thought looked awful (maybe that’s why I like Anne of Green Gables so much ;)) BUT I saw the way other girls, who were so pretty IMO, constantly criticize themselves. I got to thinking, maybe I look fine. God created me, so there is nothing to be ashamed of! Let me tell you about me- my eyes aren’t exactly on the same line, my eyebrows are bushy, my belly is round and looks like a baby bump, and my ears stick out just a little too much. I don’t have high cheekbones and when I laugh my neck fat shows. But I won’t give up laughing for anything, it’s my favorite activity. My ears that stick out help hold back my beautiful, thick, frizzy hair. My eyes are a beautiful green with blue rings and are almond shaped. My round, opposite-of-flat belly protects vital organs (which is why most women cannot attain flat bellies, especially because of their *ahem* womanly organs) and I am not overweight but my belly reminds me to keep eating healthy. I am as pale as chicken meat, which I say means I have a beautiful, milky complexion. I am 5’1″, no where near super model height, but heels hurt too much so if the world don’t like my height they will have to deal with it. It’s not my problem. My point is, I am beautiful according to God. The world might not think I’m gorgeous, but I know I am. Not just bc of how I look, bc I most days I go out in a camp t-shirt and some gym shorts; but bc he has given me an insatiable I love of children , bc I love
    making a people laugh, I and bc He bought me at a price! I am treasured, more precious than rubies, and so are you! Take what the media says is ugly tell them why God thinks it’s beautiful. I say none of this to brag but to help you beautiful loves understand that you can have confidence when the world and the Enemy tells you not to! Lots of Love, Anonymous Sister

    • Kai 517


  • Kai 517

    Dudes, this is amazing. Thank you so much for posting this!
    I love how you incorporated one of my all-time favorite showtunes, (ironically, my sister was in an elementary school production of “Annie” and she was cast as both Burt Healy and one of the orphans), as well as mentioned Oscar the Grouch, and still tied it into God and what he says.
    Thank you so much for writing this!

  • Lollypop

    this is so meaningful, thanks so much!!!!

  • Manishidha

    I love this article! And this is not related to this but people always make fun of my lip color :(. I’ve tried to not care but even the person that I thought was my second “best friend” decided that I was ugly because of my lips. Can someone help me deal with this? Thank you for writing this article btw.