by Heather Norman Smith
Please help me, Lord, I prayed. Please make this easy.
My dentist visits are times of fervent prayer. During even the simplest of procedures, I almost always end up crying from anxiety, at least a little, and it seemed the recent visit to fill two cavities would be no different. As the dentist came at me with the needle, I prayed harder in my mind. Please help me get through this. My prayer was desperate, pleading.
Then something life-changing happened. The dentist poked the needle into my gum, and I stopped praying. I quit begging God to help me. Instead, I began to thank God for being so good. I changed my prayers into praises, and the panic lifted—it dissolved and floated toward the heavens with my words of adoration. It was the most painless injection of Novocain ever. So, I kept praising, right through the drilling, and the result was nothing short of miraculous.
You are magnificent, marvelous, wonderful, worthy. Magnificent, marvelous, wonderful, worthy. Over and over, I offered those words silently. At some point, I remember thanking God for a good dentist who could fix my teeth.
In a gentle voice, the dentist encouraged, “You’re doing good,” as he worked. He always says that because he’s kind and genuinely empathetic about my anxiety. But for the first time, I actually felt like I was doing okay. Not just getting by. Not just managing. I was good.
A verse rang in my mind. “I will bless the LORD at all times: his praise shall continually be in my mouth” (Psalm 34:1b KJV). Though the praises weren’t actually coming from my mouth—a little hard to do when your teeth are being drilled—they were there in my heart, thanks to the prompting of the Holy Spirit, Who knew what I needed to do. God had heard my original request to make the visit easy, and He used my praises to accomplish it.
I’ve visited the dentist a lot over the past year, since I finally decided to prioritize oral health over my fear, and I’ve still got a few visits left to get all the problems corrected. But if I can just remember my “secret weapon,” I don’t think I’ll dread the next appointment quite so much. Now to try praising the Lord in an elevator…
What makes you panic? What causes you distress? Maybe praise is your answer, too.
This article is brought to you by the Advanced Writers and Speakers Association (AWSA).
About the author: Heather Norman Smith is an author of Christian Fiction set in her home state of North Carolina. Her goal is to entertain and encourage while illuminating the redemptive love of God. Learn more about her work at www.heathernormansmith.com and her Amazon author page.
Join the conversation: What brings on anxiety for you? How do you manage it?