“Don’t draw my wrinkles!”

I’ll be sketching a long line of people at a church dinner or community party, and in the course of an hour or two will hear it a dozen times.

“Don’t draw my wrinkles.”

Usually I laugh it off.  “You don’t have any wrinkles.”  Or I tease that “I take the wrinkles from the women and give them to the men.”

Sometimes I say, “Hey, they don’t call me ‘Botox Joe’ for nothing!”

Why do people hate facial wrinkles so much?

Some child called them “crinkles.”

With a man, those etches in the face add to the character, make him look distinguished.  With a woman, perhaps the same although in different ways.  Even so, they are evidence of having lived and loved.

A college friend said he had a high school teacher who never smiled because she didn’t want the facial lines.  I thought then and think now, what a price to pay.

What I would like to say to those warning me away from drawing those lines in their face is something like the following….

Oh, friend.

Own those wrinkles, those folds in the material that say you are someone interesting and that you have lived.

Think of them as a road map saying you’ve been to fascinating places, a treasure map where nothing is buried but it’s all on the surface waiting to be gathered and enjoyed.

When you stand before your Lord at the end and He wants to know if you have lived and loved, given and hurt, suffered and gotten up and given it another try, just look at Him on that radiant Throne and flash that smile of yours we all love.

Show Him your crinkles.

As those facial crevasses reflect the light from the Throne, no words will be needed.

Pity the one who comes to the end with no evidence he has lived, no proof she has smiled, not a single sign they have suffered or hurt or endured.

Own those crinkles, friend.  You paid dearly for every one of them.  They are what make you like the beautiful you you have become.

They are uniquely yours, as distinct as your fingerprint, your voice print, and your DNA.  No one else’s crevasses are the same as yours.  If every zebra’s and every tiger’s stripes are unique, how much more your smile lines.

“Why are you cast down, O my soul? And why are you disquieted within me?  Hope in God.  For I shall yet praise Him, the help of my countenance and my God” (Psalm 42:11).  (Also 42:5 and 43:5)

The Lord is the “help of my countenance.”  Some translations say “the health of my countenance,” since the Hebrew words for “help” and “health” are the same.

A healthy countenance–facial appearance–is a great thing.

What would a healthy countenance look like?  My answer–and you will have yours–is that such a great facial expression would include the following:

–clear, look-you-in-the-eye contact.  This conveys self-confidence. The person overcome with an inferiority complex will not lift up their eyes to look at you. Over and over Scripture tells us to “lift  up our heads!”  Think of the times we’ve all noticed football players on the sidelines with hang-dog expressions because their team is losing.  Coaches are known to administer serious tongue-lashings in the locker room, warning players not ever to give up and never to hang their heads down in defeat.

–So the head is lifted up and the eyes look you square in the face.

–The person smiles easily.  They open their mouths and show their pearly-whites and throw themselves into their great laughter.  From them you will hear none of this “I don’t smile” or “I don’t like my smile” which I get so often.  Confidence exudes from the pores of their skin. They love life and are happy with themselves and are fully present in this moment.

–They speak up, and do not mumble.  They love people and it shows.  Their face is an accurate indicator of what’s going on inside them, and because Jesus Christ has made them whole, He has transformed their facial expressions.

“We all with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory…” (2 Corinthians 3:18).

So, go ahead. Let your true beauty shine forth. This is what Peter spoke of: “…the hidden person of the heart, with the incorruptible beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is very precious in the sight of God” (I Peter 3:4).

God loves your smile.  Show it to Him often.

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