This morning I was at the dentist to get a couple of cavities filled. Believe it or not, I actually have to go back in a week to get another cavity filled. Ugh. As an avid brusher, I'm not totally certain what I'm doing wrong with my teeth. However, I suspect it has alot to do with two things: 1) I never floss 2) I love candy.
That probably about does it. Now, just saying, my husband never flosses and equally loves candy, yet never has cavities. So, as I tell my children, life is not fair.
But it is what it is so I got my cavities filled. It's not all bad. I spent 90 minutes relaxed in a fairly comfortable dental recliner with good music playing and enjoyable conversation (when there wasn't a thousand tools in my mouth). Kind of peaceful actually, compared to the three-ring circus I direct at home. The Novocaine shots were rather unpleasant, and the drilling was a tad bit unnerving, but overall it was fairly relaxing.
I talked to my dentist a bit about my cavities and asked why I'm getting them. He said it's actually pretty normal (and that my husband is the odd one for never getting them!)
I said to him, "But I was here six months ago and didn't have any. Now I have three. How can that be?"
He responded, "Oh no. You had them before. It's just at your appointment six months ago we didn't do x-rays. We can't see these cavities in-between the teeth unless we do x-rays."
Then he showed me my x-rays, and pointed out the cavities he was going to fill. He said he suspects they've been growing for a year. Then he showed me a handful of other spots of decay that he can see. We're talking tiny, pencil-dot spots of gray on the white x-ray. An unskilled eye like mine doesn't even notice them. And yet, if not taken care of, these tiny miniscule spots of decay would eventually decay the whole tooth. Thank God for skilled dentists who can see them and fix them.
Then he started to fix them. Novocaine, drills, filling putty, cotton balls, drool-wiping swabs, and a thousand tools in my mouth. And PRECISION. Tedious precision on his part (for which I'm very thankful).
But the whole time I couldn't stop thinking about the precision of the process. And the hidden-ness of the cavities. And the commonality of tooth decay. And the severity of what could happen if I didn't have a dentist to see them and fix them. "We can only see them with x-rays."
What if I had an x-ray of my soul? Of the things of the heart? What would I find?
How many tiny, pencil-dot spots of decay would I be shocked to find? How many larger, darker blotches of decay would I find? Why do we pay so much attention to our teeth and so little attention to our souls?
This morning before I went to my appointment, can you guess what I did? Yep. Floss. Why? I was going to get cavities filled. The cavities were already there. Flossing didn't help one bit with those cavities. But I did it so I could at least feel like I was adequately preparing for the appointment.
Why don't I do that before I go meet with God? Why don't I do a soul-check before getting to worship every Sunday morning? When I sit down with my Bible on my sunny patio chair in the mornings, why don't I first ask God to x-ray my soul and let me know where I need His word to speak truth and life into my heart?
Because it's easier not to know, that's why. Because ignorance really is bliss, that's why.
Except, not really.
Because those spots of decay in my soul - envy, pride, jealousy, anger, insecurity, discord, anxiety, vanity, materialism - interrupt and interfere tremendously with all of my relationships. If I let God x-ray my soul, and then speak into those spots of decay with His powerful Word, healing would come not only to me, but also to the decayed relationships in my life.
And God's Word is far more precise than even my dentist. His healing process takes divine precision and perfection on His end (which He does perfectly) and much patience and cooperation on my end (which can be a struggle).
But it'll be worth it, as His hand brings life where there has been decay. Beauty from ashes.
If I daily asked God to x-ray me, show me my decay, and then fill my soul cavities, how much more effective could I be for the Kingdom of God? As a wife, mother, friend, neighbor, sister, daughter, writer, speaker, etc. How could God use me if I first let him drill out the decay and fill up my spirit with His love and righteousness?
X-ray my heart, Lord. Show me my soul cavities, and fill them, please.
Search me, God, and know my heart;