Wednesday, February 8, 2012

God and Orthodontics

One of my themes for 2012 is patience.  Trust me, I did not pick it.  At this point in my life, patience is hard to come by.  The funny thing is, God knew this.  He gave me this theme anyway, and then set me out on my journey. 
What do God and orthodontics have in common, you might ask?  Patience.  And why I am blogging about orthodontics?  Well, at the ripe old age of thirty something, having had braces for 2 ½ years in my younger days, I have decided to straighten up my pearly whites yet again.  Not with braces, but with Invisalign.  I recently went to the orthodontist to have my consultation, find out how it was going to work, what all was involved in the process, how long it would take, and how much it was going to cost (OUCH!).  And I'm off on my orthodontic journey!
For those of you who know me well, you know that once I make up my mind about something, I pretty much want it now.  If I decide that I want to go on a trip, chances are that I will book it that day or soon thereafter.  If I decide that I need to go on a diet, it starts right that minute, guns-a-blazing.  If I make up my mind to buy something, it happens pretty darn quickly.  And if I decide that I want to get my teeth straight, well, I make an appointment and want them fixed right now.  Not in two years (GASP!), but RIGHT NOW.  However, orthodontics doesn’t work that way.  The structure of my mouth has to change slowly over time with the help of the orthodontist, several contraptions, and usually some pain and discomfort.  But in the end, I know that my teeth will be more beautiful then ever and will walk around smiling all the time. 
So I don't think it’s a coincidence at all that God is trying to teach me patience at the same time that I am entering a long process to straighten my teeth.  His timing is impeccable.  There are things that are out of my control, which is another hard lesson for me. 
An orthodontist is a specialist who is trained in a very specific field with years of education and experience to back him up.  He knows what he’s doing, and I don’t have the ability to fix my teeth on my own.  I must rely on his expertise.  With an orthodontist, I have a formal plan that I must stick to for the desired results.  I have to go back for regular appointments, take care of my mouth, and listen to my orders.  If I don’t, then the plan doesn’t work and I end up in the same situation that I started in. 
The likeness between God and orthodontics was just too obvious and convicting for me to ignore.  I’m not saying that there aren’t differences (because clearly they are), but for my theme of patience for 2012, the similarities are astounding. 
God is more than just a specialist in one field; He’s a specialist in ALL fields.  Every single area of my life.  And He also has a plan for my life.  One that I am supposed to consult Him on and be diligent in following.  I’m also supposed to check in with Him for regular appointments.  His plan is laid out in the Bible, and those regular appointments?  That’s supposed to be my prayer life. 
So all of these thoughts have put me in a little bit of a tizzy.   I’m screwing up the plan….I’m not making any progress….I take one step forward and two steps back.  In other words, if I’m not actively striving to follow God’s instructions for my life, then I’m going nowhere.  I’m stagnant and sitting in the same position moment after moment, day after day, year after year.   If I don’t wear my Invisalign trays, my orthodontist’s plan won’t work.  If I’m not actively pursuing what God is telling me to do, I’m not getting any closer to His truth.
I think the key factor for me is truly having God’s plan as my desired result.  With my teeth, it's a clear and strong desire to have straight teeth, so it's pretty easy for me to stick to the plan.  If I desire things of this world, or my own plans and ambitions, then I won’t work hard to achieve God’s plan.  If I think that I have the best plan and know how I think I can achieve it, then I won’t be checking in for my regular appointments with God. 
So this is my point of realization where I need to change my desire before I set the course.  And I’ll have to admit that I don’t think that my heart is all in at the moment.  I always think that I want God’s plan for me, but then I get impatient and try to move things along on my own.  And hence, I end up in the little tizzy that I’m in right now.
I hope this is making some sort of sense.  I feel like I’m just throwing up all over this blog.  But it really does scare me!  I get so easily distracted in my life.  At least with orthodontics, I can see my progress.  I know that I’m getting closer and closer to my desired goal.  God doesn’t always show me my progress in life, or at least in ways that I recognize or prefer.  More than anything, I think ultimately what God wants is for me to truly, wholeheartedly, desire Him and His plan.  To be all in and to have an unwaivering faith in Him.  To trust Him.   He does, after all, exist so that I can glorify Him.  He’s here.  He’s present.  And He’s waiting for my heart to desire Him.