The other day I went to the dentist and to my surprise, I found out that I had my very first cavity. I sat down in their chair, feeling calm and collected and ready to face the job that needed to be done. But when my dentist asked me to open up my mouth and I saw her pull out a giant needle—I panicked! I pushed her hands away from my face and said, “No! I’m afraid of needles!”
Her assistant tried to calm me down by assuring me that I wouldn’t want to do this procedure without a shot to numb my mouth. But at that point, doing this simple procedure was not my main concern. I was ready to leave the office and come back at another time to get this filling taken care of—or never take care of it at all. There was nothing in me that was ready to face my fear of needles at that moment.
Silently she waited. And in the few minutes she gave me to calm down, I prayed to God about what I should do.
With whatever settled nerves I had left, I tried to be as honest as possible with my hygienist and told her, “I will try taking the shot but I can’t promise that I won’t panic.” She understood where I was coming from and knew that I needed a little more help to get through this. Upon my agreement, they gave me Nitrous Oxide—laughing gas.
While they were waiting for the gas to take it’s course, I remembered what God said in Joshua 1:9. “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and of good courage; do not be afraid, nor be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” Chuckling a little bit about my initial reaction to the needle, I decided at that moment that I really had no excuse. I needed to confront this problem head on and take care the issue at hand. I needed to set my fear aside and do what needed to be done.
But most of all, I needed to trust that God had a handle on my situation and that He would take care of me.
I closed my eyes and they gave me two shots. My heart was heavy, my legs and arms felt limp and I was breathing hard. I could feel my body relaxed but my mind was still racing with fearful thoughts of pain. When the shot began to take affect they began drilling. Within seconds, I felt a shot of pain flash through a nerve. I grunted urgently to make them stop. The dosage was not enough so they pulled back and gave me three more shots.
But before I knew it, it was over. When I left the dentist office, I left feeling not just numb in my mouth, but proud for persevering and coming away with a lesson: Fear cannot be an excuse for not doing the right thing or what is necessary. I can be extremely thankful to God because I knew He was and is right there beside me all along.