On Saturday I had a series of Botox injections in my head. No, it was not because of vanity. When you look like me, vanity has left the building well before Elvis! The first image here will confirm that for you.
It was medical, and if you want to know more, read the previous entry. It will be at least a week before we know if the injections have had the desired result, but yesterday afternoon I noticed for the first time the difference that the injections have had on my face. I have discovered that my forehead doesn’t work any more. I can raise my
eyebrows as before, but there is a big patch across the middle of my forehead where nothing happens when I do that. It’s numb, unresponsive, emotionless. I have highlighted the area for you in case it’s not obvious – there are usually a LOT more lines in the forehead than that.
It feels very strange because I think I am moving all the usual muscles but they are not all responding. And, yes the wrinkles in my forehead have diminished. But it is temporary, the effect will wear off in a few months.
I think I can begin to understand how it feels to have had Botox injections for cosmetic reasons. And I can understand how effective Botox is at reducing wrinkles and lines. And I can understand how difficult it must then be for the person who has had the treatment to move those facial muscles in their usual way.
I reckon that many of us have Spiritual Botox injections, especially just before we go to church. We make sure that we look our best and we make sure that nobody can see or suspect what is really going on. We hide what is really going on underneath the Botox exterior that reveals none of the wrinkles and creases in our life. We try to present a spiritually vibrant exterior when underneath we feel terrible. We smile as best we can at everyone as we sip our post-service beverages and hope that they won’t see that what we present to them is not real.
Bill Hybels suggests that ‘character’ is how we are when nobody else is around. That suggests that when others are around we quickly inject the Spiritual Botox and hide behind it. How different would churches be if we stopped using Spiritual Botox and started sharing our lives with one another? How much more would God be able to bless and support us through the community of the church in which he has placed us if we were a bit more vulnerable, honest and willing to allow people to get to know the real us?
I’m not talking about hypocrisy here. I think it’s more a fear of how others might treat us and respond to us ‘if they only knew’. It’s a fear of rejection, of gossip, or being judged. And sadly it may be a fear that is fuelled by previous past experience. I pray that this will not be your experience again. And if we are honest, all of us inject Spiritual Botox (yes, Ministers included). When we are honest about it we often find that this unlocks relief, empathy, and a sense of God’s loving community that will never be experienced while we are still injecting.
Be blessed, be a blessing.
A middle-aged woman has a heart attack and is taken to the hospital. While on the operating table she has a near death experience. During that experience she sees God and asks if this is it. God says no and explains that she has another 30 years to live.
Upon her recovery she decides to just stay in the hospital and have a face lift, liposuction, breast augmentation, tummy tuck, botox injections, the works. She even has someone come in and change her hair color. She figures since she’s got another 30 years she might as well make the most of it.
She walks out of the hospital after the last operation and is killed by an ambulance speeding by. She arrives in front of God and complains, “I thought you said I had another 30 years.”
God replies, “I didn’t recognize you.”