Anxiety and the Dentist.

I hate the dentist more than the average person.

I only hate one thing, the sharp tool the hygienist uses to scrape plaque off my teeth. I leave the dentist needing blood to return to my left hand after I place my left hand in my right hand and squeeze as hard as I can for the duration of the teeth cleaning. I irrationally anticipate the pain I would feel if the hygienist were to stab my sensitive gums with her sharp tool.

Every once in a while my hygienist stabs me, on accident I assume, and I realize that the pain is not as bad as I had feared. I survived.

Something happens to us when our fears are realized and we live to tell about it. We gain a confidence, a steadfastness, a calm that can’t be realized another way. When I look back at the things I used to allow to consume me with anxiety I now laugh at many of them. Though at the time they felt as real as the stainless steel on the dentist’s tool.

I wondered if Carmel Young Life could survive a small camp trip, or a banquet that didn’t raise our budget, or the loss of a leader, or the support of a committee member etc etc.. The truth is I wondered if I could survive those fears. e li

I still have all kinds of fears, but I have lived through enough to know that it will be okay so my fears no longer consume me.

I did survive all of those things and more and now I am privileged to be in the role of working closely with many YL staff who have many fears without the benefit of hindsight. I badly want to spare them the agony associated with the seeming tenuousness of our ministries. I want to accelerate the learning process.

Even if it were possible to spare them this agony I would be doing them an injustice by accelerating the learning process. Most of the time we needed to be stabbed by the sharp tool to realize we will be okay in the end.

“Anxiety is experiencing failure in advance” – Seth Godin

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