the struggle is real

struggle is real

Flying down the dirt roads on my parents’ property on our Honda Odyssey go-kart are some of my favorite childhood memories.

There was a time in the field when I landed in a ditch. As hard as I would try, I couldn’t quite get the go-kart out of the ditch without flipping it. I had the knowledge of how to do it, but I just couldn’t achieve that goal. So there I sat, upside down, protected by the roll cage and seat belt, as I struggled to remove the go-kart from the ditch.

While not having anything in common with those fun times on the Honda Odyssey, yesterday, I faced another real struggle.

Having broken a tooth, I sat in the dentist chair for an emergency dental appointment. Sure, I had prayed myself up, asked my family to do the same, and had spent time with the Lord that morning, resting in His unfailing peace.

I reached up and placed my earbud in one ear and adjusted the volume. I needed to be able to hear both my playlist on my phone and the dentist. The songs from some of my favorite Christian artists flooded into my mind.

Yet, as they numbed me up and the dentist arrived with the needle that would inject the anesthetic into my gums, fear and trepidation rose within me.

dentist

If you guessed that I am not fond of needles, you are correct. I join 50 million other people who share the fear of needles.

Doesn’t make it any easier that I am in good company.

This isn’t my first rodeo when it comes to dental work or needles. I’ve been going to the dentist since I was four years old. I’ve had orthodontic work, wisdom teeth removal, and a gum graft. I’ve had my appendix removed and spent a large part of my first pregnancy connected to IVs during a long stint in the hospital with hyperemesis gravidarum and pneumonia. Each year, I have a wellness blood draw with my annual physical. I’ve never put off a medical procedure because of my fear of needles.

But the struggle is real.

Scripture verses flooded my mind as the needle drew closer. Verses about fear, worry, anxiety, God’s comfort, His refuge, and the list goes on.

Psalm 46 1

Verses I know by heart. Verses I have drawn upon many times in my life for comfort.

So why then was I still anxious about that needle? Why was a grown woman struggling with something some would deem minor?

My heart and my mind were in agreement. God would get me through this. I was not alone. He was there with me. He went before me, would never let me go. He created the entire world and everything in it. I knew needles were not a big deal for Him. And yet, I still struggled.

Experts say that everyone has a fear and/or phobia. Many people have more than one (snakes, heights, public speaking, spiders anyone?) Still, I hate the thought of being fearful of an inanimate object. I hate the thought of having to share with the dentist and her team members that taking a needle to the mouth is a hugely stressful event for me.

The procedure was over in an hour and a half. Drowsy, loopy, and starting to feel the pain from the procedure, I staggered out of the room and was driven home by my teenage daughter.

I’d made it through.

In three weeks, I go back for round two, again with another needle (or two). Someday, hopefully long before I enter into eternity, I hope to no longer get ramped up with anxiety at the mere thought of a needle.

But even if I continue to have this fear the remainder of my life, I know one thing is certain. While God’s will may not be that I am fearless, it is His promise that He is with me no matter how many times I have to deal with fears (or anything else).

That His daughter was struggling with the needle at the dentist’s office mattered to Him. I mattered to Him. My seemingly “little” problem in the scope of all of the huge problems in today’s world mattered to my Lord and Savior.

Sometimes struggles are real. Our mind and heart know one thing, but our human selves do not cooperate. During these struggles, God grows us. While we wish He could do it in a less anxiety-provoking and terrifying way, we can rest in the knowledge that He is always with us and everything is in His control.

Psalm 56 3

 

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