I had my portrait taken a couple of weeks ago. Well, not a portrait, exactly, though I did pose for it. But for this particular photographer, it didn’t matter if I smiled or not. The X-ray technician didn’t even tell me to say “cheese.”

Yep. After my recent wreck, I was transported by ambulance to the hospital, where they took pictures of me from every angle. As the nurse helped me into my hospital gown, she looked at my chart. “Wow. I never would have guessed your age. I thought you were in your twenties.”

Now at that moment, I was feeling pretty crummy. But her comment brought a smile to my face. Yes it did. Vanity dies hard, even if she was just probably trying to make a bad day better.

Which is why, a couple of hours and a CT scan later, the blow came even harder. The doctor entered the room, looked me over and lifted his eyebrows. “Wow. When I looked at your X-rays, I thought I was looking at a much older person.”

Well, thank you very much, Dr. Charm. Just what I wanted to hear.

Apparently, I have degenerative arthritis. And bone spurs.

Yes, sirree. I’ve got spurs that jingle, jangle, jingle.

The thing is, I knew arthritis ran in my family, but I’d never known for sure if I had it. And I certainly didn’t know about the bone spurs.

If the wreck hadn’t occurred, I might not ever know. But now I’m kind of freaked out about the whole thing, and trying to figure out how to stop it. Or at least, how to slow it down. Good grief. What in the world does it matter if I look good on the outside, if my insides are going to pot?

I’ve learned I need to stay at a healthy weight. Perhaps even on the skinny side, so my bones don’t have to carry such a load.

I’ve learned I need to exercise, and keep my muscles strong, so they can take some of the pressure off my bones.  

I’ve learned I need to consume a healthy diet.

I thought I was already doing those things … sort of. But now that I know, I’ll work even harder to stay healthy.

Still, I kind of wish I didn’t know. I’ve always been comfortable with my head in the sand. It’s nice and warm down there.

Hmmmmm …        

I wonder how many people have looked at me and thought I had it all together. Ha. Probably not many. But this whole ordeal reminds me of how much time and money I spend trying to look good on the outside, trying to fix my hair and make-up and wear cute clothes, trying to smile and give the impression that my life is a Disney movie, complete with birds singing and animals dancing …

But it doesn’t really matter what the world sees. There is One who has X-ray vision, and He sees all the way to my heart. He sees my spirit. And really, what does it matter if other people are impressed by what they see when they look at my life? If God’s not impressed, it’s all meaningless.            

Just as I need to work to keep my body as healthy as it can be, I want my spirit to be strong and beautiful. I’d rather have a lovely soul than a lovely face. I’d rather have stunning character than a striking physique.

Yeah. The more I think about it, I’m glad those X-rays were taken. I need to take some CT scans of my heart, and try to see what God sees. And I want to take whatever steps I need to be beautiful where it really counts.

People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.1 Samuel 16:7

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