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I had to go to the Dentist. Need I say more? A crown came loose and I was counting on an easy fix. Instead, we may have to take out a second mortgage to pay for what needs to be done!

Going to the dentist is an exercise in relinquishing control. God has been teaching me a lot about that this year.

Everyone knows that a trip to the Dentist is stressful for most people. Look at the lengths a dentist goes to in order to make his patients relax. Many offices provide waiting rooms that look more like your living room than a doctor’s office. With their big overstuffed chairs, subdued lighting and large flat screen televisions they hope that before going into the ‘back’ you will relax and take a few deep breaths. At the Dentist’s, your stress starts before you even begin, you stress in anticipation of what is to come.

That’s why some dentists even provide televisions in the exam rooms. To keep you calm while you wait. After all, once they start working you cannot see the TV when laying back and you cannot hear it over the whirr of the equipment. However, no amount of distraction can transform the experience entirely. There simply is nothing pleasant about having to lay back with your mouth wide open while someone is digging around in there. And of course, if you need work done, there is the pain factor also. Did I mention you have to relinquish control?

Once in that chair, you feel vulnerable. And what needs to be done, how long it will take, how much it will hurt and how much it will cost is all out of your control. So what do many of us do? We avoid the dentist. Our discomfort and fear of what he will find, and of what he will want to do, cause us to stay away.

Sadly, some of us avoid intimacy with Christ or the truth of His Word for the same reasons. We are afraid of relinquishing control of our lives.  We are afraid of what He will find or what He will want to do.  We do not like feeling vulnerable.  We are unsure about what needs to be done, how long it will take, how much it will hurt and how much it will cost us.

Those are understandable concerns when you are at the dentist. My dentist’s office does everything they can to make my visit more comfortable. But they can only do so much to make an unpleasant experience bearable. The good news is that my time spent there, my willingness to relinquish control, does help me in the long run. Whether it is just a little cleaning and checkup or serious repair work.  And that is why I go back.

Do you want to live for God? Do you want to grow more like Christ? Do not avoid Him. Keep going back to spend time with Him in prayer and in His Word. Growing in our walk as Christians requires time spent with Him where we make ourselves totally vulnerable and trust our hearts to His loving hands. We must lay back and open our hearts and minds. We must let Him do regular checkups and some deep cleaning. And know that sometimes we must give ourselves over to some serious repair. Rejoice if He sheds light on an area of your life that needs change. Remind yourself that being uncomfortable for a little while may be necessary for lasting change to happen.

I have some unpleasant work ahead with the oral surgeon and dentist. It is simply part of the maintenance needed on this decaying earthly body. At least I will end up with some beautiful new teeth.

The work that really interests me is the work that will last for eternity! I am ready to be all that God wants me to be. How about you? Are you ready to relinquish control to Him and see what new and beautiful things He can create in you?