Losing Control and Finding Grace

So I’m sitting in the dentist’s chair, nervously chattering with his assistant as she preps me for impending doom the crown that will soon adorn my cracked tooth.

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She had apologized for calling me by the wrong name and I told her that was okay. I quickly brushed off the minor infraction without a second thought unaware that it might be a foreshadowing of things to come.

Her: “Your heart rate is 103!” 

Me: “I’m not surprised. I can’t believe how nervous I am.”

I then proceeded to remind her that I had requested the gas. You know. It’s the gas formally known as nitrous oxide and informally known as laughing gas.

I’m not sure why it got that funny little name because, while I have experienced it’s soothing effects, it has never caused me to get a case of the giggles.

Especially today.

Her: “Oh, yes.” Her reply is a bit hesitant as she studies the computer to confirm.

Me: Heavy silence.

I quietly reflect on the situation. My mind starts racing as fast as my heart. 

She didn’t know about the gas. What else doesn’t she know? They seem really busy today. Maybe she is distracted. What if something bad happens to me because she’s not paying attention?

I considered running, but it was too late. She had turned on the gas and the dentist had now made his entrance.

Him: “How are you today?”

Me: “I’d be better if I didn’t have to be here.”

Him: “Me too,” he says with a slight laugh.  

Maybe he’d hit the gas earlier, I thought.

For a person with trust issues, I did NOT need to hear that the man who held the fate of my tooth in his hands might be playing a round of golf in his head. I could only hope that his brain was present and focused – not sitting on a white, sandy beach somewhere soaking up rays.

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Now, for those of you who’ve never had the pleasure of having a crown put on, I can tell you that the procedure involves several steps. And in between each step, the dental professionals leave the room and give you a few minutes to panic “relax”.

For some reason, instead of relaxing, I found myself with a heightened awareness of my vulnerability. I kept thinking of all the things that could happen that I had absolutely no control over.

At one point, I remember praying out loud. “Help me, God!”

Here’s where it gets a little pitiful.

By the time the dentist and his assistant came back in the room I was muttering through numbed lips “I can’t calm down!”

Mercifully, the dentist upped the gas because the next thing I know his assistant is telling me “It’s okay, Leslie. Everything is going to be just fine.”

Leslie?

WHO IS LESLIE?!

I had no idea when I woke up this morning that I would walk into the dentist office today with a cracked tooth and leave with a temporary crown and an identity crisis.

But that’s what I’m learning about life. I have no control. I never did and I never will. That kind of power belongs only to God. 

And maybe if I can just keep reminding myself of that fact, I’ll start to relax a little more.

Because I can trust Him. Even when I don’t understand or have all the answers.

Even when I’m crazy scared.

HE is trustworthy and completely capable of taking care of me if I will simply surrender my delusions of control to Him.

After I got home, I was still processing everything when I saw this post from Jennifer White.

I guess God knew I needed that extra dose of confirmation since I’ll be headed back to the dentist in a couple of weeks to get my permanent crown.

Isn’t it amazing how God gives us what we need just when we need it? How, when we breathe His name, He breathes calm into our storm?

And how, in our most vulnerable moments, we can hear His voice gently singing over us, whispering peace. Whispering our name. Because we are His children and He knows us so well, loves us so deeply.

When we trust Him to repair all that is cracked and broken in us, we can rest. Our hearts protected. Sealed with grace.

Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name; you are Mine!
Isaiah 43:1
The Lord your God in your midst,
The Mighty One, will save;
He will rejoice over you with gladness,
He will quiet you with His love,
He will rejoice over you with singing.”
Zephaniah 3:17