Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Praying Through the Fear

“Cast all your anxieties upon him, for he cares about you.” – I Peter 5:7 (RSV) 

It was a first for me. I was not one of those people with “dentist phobia.” Growing up, our family dentist was also our family friend. I had my teeth filled with only a minimal amount of anesthetic. I was awake for oral surgery and watched the procedure with fascination. No, going to the dentist never scared me. Until yesterday.

A bad experience and fear of the unknown can be a powerful cocktail, and I was drinking it up. I felt woozy from all of the thoughts swimming around my head. My mind wandered back to the last major dental work I had, a disastrous event that resulted in gum ulcers, an infection and a complete redo on the crown itself. What if I have to go through another awful experience? With TWO teeth needing crowns today, will it be even worse?

I had also been reading about dental work and rheumatoid arthritis (RA), a diagnosis I didn’t have the last time I had a crown, and I was seriously questioning my decision to have the procedure without talking to my doctor first. I’m already experiencing an RA flare – should I prepare for even more pain? I didn’t think about being on an immune suppressant drug. Should I have asked for antibiotics?

With my anxiety increasing as the appointment time grew closer, I wondered if my blood pressure would shoot up and knew that heart palpitations would follow if I didn’t calm down.

I groaned when my name was called and reluctantly sat down in the chair, hastily expressing my concerns to the dental assistant. As she left the room to go check the X-rays and get the dentist, I did something I’ve never done before in a dental office. I folded my hands, bowed my head, and prayed.

Lord, help me trust. Help me trust in the dentist and help me trust in You. Calm my heart, Lord, and give me peace. Take my fear, Lord. Give me the confidence I need to know it will be OK. Guide the dentist and help me feel Your love. Please, Lord, just help me trust.

Gone were the palpitations. Gone was the anxiety. I closed my eyes and pictured Jesus in my mind, His kind eyes and loving smile beckoning me to trust. It will be OK.

An hour later, with the left side of my mouth numb and two temporary crowns on my lower back molars, I was on my way home.

I reflected on that hour in the dentist’s chair. With one invisible touch from the Master’s hand, my fear had simply melted away. With my focus on Him, all I could feel was love and peace and joy. The sound of the drill was just background noise, the occasional twinge just a minor interruption. Before I knew it, the procedure was over.

The dentist had said at the end, “You were great!” But I knew different. I was not great. No, not at all. If he had seen me beforehand, he would have known that. God was great. Jesus carried me through.

How many times in my life has Jesus had to carry me through circumstances I couldn’t manage on my own? Situations that had me confused and bewildered, in fear and doubt and uncertainty? So many, I can’t count. But here’s what I’ve realized: While Jesus has carried me through many difficult situations, He is often carrying me kicking and screaming!

So many times, I have worked myself up into such a tizzy of emotion that I may be saying “God help me!” under my breath, but I am still fighting my circumstances with every ounce of energy I have. Jesus is trying to rescue me out of the burning building, while I am still trying to put out the fire myself!

That hour at the dentist showed me that when I really and truly let go and let God, my circumstances immediately get easier. I still had to have the two crowns put on my teeth. The dental work didn’t just go away. But it proved that the words of one of my most beloved hymns are true:

Turn your eyes upon Jesus,
Look full in His wonderful face,
And the things of earth will grow strangely dim,
In the light of His glory and grace.

Every day I have a choice. Will I keep my eyes on my circumstances and allow fear to rule my life, or will I keep my focus on Jesus and allow peace to reign in my heart?

In Isaiah 41:10, God implores us to trust. He is with us. We do not need to be worried or anxious about anything. “Do not fear, for I am with you; do not anxiously look about you, for I am your God.”
What we need is not a change of circumstance. What we need most is communion with Him.
And in case we still doubt, He assures us, “I will strengthen you, surely I will help you, surely I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.”

Regardless of our past experiences, our current situation or our fear of the future unknown, God wants us to know He is there. He will not let us go. He is worthy of our trust.

Do not worry about anything; instead PRAY about everything. Tell God your needs, and don’t forget to thank Him for His answers. (Philippians 4:6)

Praying Through the Fear originally appeared on Spring Sight blog, by Linda W. Perkins. Click here for more posts. Get even more encouragement by following me on FacebookPinterest, and Twitter

Many of Spring Sight's posts can also be found each week on Crystal Storms' #IntentionalTuesday,  Kelly Balarie's #RaRaLinkUp, Holly Barrett's Testimony Tuesday, Arabah Joy's Grace & Truth, Holley Gerth's Coffee for Your Heart,  and Woman to Woman's Word Filled Wednesday. This week, I am also linking up with Jennifer Dukes Lee and Dawn at Journeys in Grace.

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  1. Linda, your story reminds me of so many times I have allowed fears to send my heart racing. But in those moments when I need His peace, just His name will settle me down. There is power in the name of Jesus.

    I'm learning to picture His hand holding mine to remind me He's right there beside me. Sweet blessings to you, friend. : )

    1. Yes, there sure is power in Jesus' name. I love that the Bible says at the sound of His name, all the earth rejoices, and the darkness flees. Amen!

  2. Yes, Linda. Every day we have a choice. Thank you for showing us today your reliance upon God during a difficult moment.
    Love the verse in Philippians. Also in Isaiah, when God says, "I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness." Very comforting.

    1. Amen, Gleniece. It is wonderful to know He is always there to lift us up and hold us. Thanks so much for stopping by!

  3. I love the picture of God rescuing us from a burning building but we are still trying to get the fire out ourselves. It is crazy to think that God who is all powerful all knowing and in control of the fire and I still think I can take it. He is trustworthy and I need to let go. Thank you for sharing visiting from Holley's linkup #49

  4. "Every day I have a choice. Will I keep my eyes on my circumstances and allow fear to rule my life, or will I keep my focus on Jesus and allow peace to reign in my heart?" I need this reminder. It's so easy to worry and fear and forget that God has promised to be with us. How much better to go to Him first with our worries and fears! Why is it so hard to remember that sometimes? Blessings to you! I'm your neighbor at #TellHisStory.

    1. I hear you, Gayle. Philippians 4:6 was the first Bible verse I ever memorized...for a reason! :-) God bless!

  5. Wow, Linda! Your words here are "right on time" for me today -- I actually had a long converation with a friend about dental work yesterday, and we are both going through a crazy season of difficult circumstances right now. I will be sharing your encouraging words here with her. Thanks so much!

    1. I'm so glad I was able to encourage you with my experience, Lyli. Thanks for letting know and blessing my day!