True confessions: I hate going to the dentist. I have endured migraines and leg pain and shoulder pain that keeps me awake…but there’s something about the dentist that reduces me to a quivering mess. This has not always been the case. I used to love the dentist. I didn’t have any cavities until I was 30 years old and pregnant, so up until that point getting my teeth checked was lovely, a great opportunity for me to enjoy the dentist’s accolades as they all beamed at me in approval, commented on my “beautiful mouth” and sent me out the door.
What I didn’t know until I actually had to have dental work is that my mouth does not go numb easily. This was discovered the hard way. They would give me a shot of Novocain, then routinely in the middle of drilling they would hit a raw nerve and I would just about go through the ceiling. Due to my limited experience with cavities, it was several years before I found out that my experience was not one shared by all those who frequent dentist chairs. I switched dentists (twice) and found one who was better at giving shots, but by this time the damage was done…and I no longer skipped into the dentist happily, ready for my applause. I had officially become one of those people who dread the dentist. I know the gory details are a bit dramatic, but you must know that my jaw also locks when they are doing dental work and I’m one of those lucky souls with sensitive gums and exposed roots. So much fun.
As you might have figured out by now, I had an appointment today at noon. I didn’t wake up quivering, but as the time approached, there was a certain amount of dread that increased as the clock hands marched towards 12. I sat down in that chair and my jaw was clenched so tight I had a headache within the first five minutes.
My God showed up at the dentist’s today. Did you know He makes office calls? Fear over what I cannot control is one of my major stumbling blocks, a core issue that resurfaces in a variety of ways in the fabric of my life. And as I sat with my jaw clenched I had an incredible epiphany: my worrying over this possibly painful situation is not helping. It’s making things a lot worse. In reality it will never help. My belief that being hyper vigilant will somehow help is a lie and one I have struggled over believing since I was small. I’ve tried to talk myself into the truth (and so has my husband a number of times), but today I was convinced. My fear was giving me a headache and making my jaw hurt!
I prayed right then and there. I told myself the truth--if it hurt, it hurt, I had no control over that, but my being all tense and worked up was not the answer. I worked consciously to relax and things went great! It was the easiest dental appointment I’ve had in years. The amazing this is, I have tried to talk myself into relaxing in other situations before and it just didn't work. I couldn't let go of whatever was making me afraid. Who knew that I’d get the victory over a core personal issue today? I didn’t even see it coming. It reminds me that we need to be hopeful, on the lookout for victory, for God to show up in our lives and change it for the better. We never know when we are on the edge of breakthrough!