I walked into the cubbyhole, where I was to prepare for the procedure that would fix my leaky Mitral Valve.  There, waiting for me, was that ugly, faded, pea green hospital gown made of course, heavy, uncomfortable fabric.  Alongside was a pair of yellow socks and a clear plastic bag for my personal effects.

“Take everything off,” I was told, “And put that on making sure it is open in the back.  Don’t tie it.  Spread it out before you lie down.  Don’t lay on it.”  

  From past experience I had already determined that hospital gowns were designed and produced by some sadistic person who hates sick people.

“Taking off everything” meant that I also had to remove my wig.  My hair is sparse to say the least, so I never leave my house without my store bought hair.   However, I refused to remove my eyebrows.  I pencil them on, because they are just as non-existent as my hair.  Without them I look like a “Nightmare on Elm Street.” 

In surgery, they want you just as you came out of the womb—nothing that hinders their work nor infects the surgical site, but I wasn’t about to go into the “Cath Lab” without my eyebrows, and somehow I got by with it.

I learned one thing.  There is no way for a patient to disguise himself in the operating room, for he is stripped down to naked flesh.

Now, I can’t help but think of all the effort we go to and the money we spend to make ourselves look better—in a sense, to disguise ourselves.  On a day, when I don’t have to leave the house, I don’t bother with makeup.  A little bit of moisturizer does it, but I don’t like to look in the mirror.  I like me better with makeup applied.

Do you have any idea how much is spent each year on all this beautifying stuff—makeup, hair, pedicures, gym membership, etc.?  Research says that, on average, a woman spends $3,756.00—yearly, and $225,360.00 in a lifetime, and 30% of women say that they would lay out more money for cosmetic surgery to maintain a youthful appearance.

The amount of money spent yearly to beautify ourselves is in the billions.

Least you think I am against all of this, let me tell you, “Just like you don’t like the way I look when I get up in the morning.  I like to be beautiful.  I never let anyone in my house until I have my hair and eyebrows on.

So we spend a great deal of time and money disguising our outward appearance, but I am more concerned about our “inward man.” Someone has coined the phrase, “The intimate stranger.”  To me that simply means that we know a lot of people whom we do not know at all.  Many of us live in masquerade all our life never daring to allow a look into the depths of our soul.  The mask is securely attached keeping our true identity a secret to everyone but God.  Sometime we even believe we have Him fooled.  

In a sense, we are buttoned up living in disguise never revealing our true self to the world around us.  We keep our hopes and dreams and problems to ourselves, because being transparent is a risky business making us vulnerable to all kinds of hurts and disappointments and disillusionment.

Truth is we spend far more time and resources beautifying the outward me than we spend on the inward “me.”  Yet God created the “whole me.” 

In Psalm 139:13 David said, “For you formed my inward parts; You covered me in my mother’s womb.”

He not only gave us eyes and lips and cheeks to beautify, but He also gave us a heart, a soul, and a spirit.  It is that soul that longs to be beautified. Our outward beauty means little, if there is no inward beauty.

In Matthew 23:27-28 Jesus railed at those who “appear beautiful outwardly, but inside are full of uncleanness.  …hypocrisy and lawlessness.”  He was speaking to those who pretended to be something they were not.

In 2 Corinthians 5:12 Paul speaks of those “…who boast in appearance but not in heart.” 

God is more concerned with our inner beauty than our outward beauty.  So how do we beautify the soul—the real me?

In 2 Corinthians 4:16 Paul says, “Therefore do not lose heart…the inner man is being renewed day by day.”

Be honest with yourself and with God.  He knows the worst about you.  Spend time in His presence every day.  The more time you spend with Him the more you will be like Him, and day by day He will renew the inner you.  The words to an old song come to mind.

Let the beauty of Jesus be seen in me,

All His wonderful passion and purity.

Oh, thou spirit divine all my nature refine

Till the beauty of Jesus be seen in me.

Let God refine and beautify the inner you—the real you.  Then take a risk, and hang up your mask.  The world needs to see the real you and God wants to use the real you.