At least I don’t spit on myself

For some reason when I’m at the dentist I always want to talk to the hygienist as she’s scraping and prodding away at my teeth. I don’t know what it is about the inability to have coherent words come out of my mouth that prompts me to try anyway. I should ask my mom if this is normal, because she’s hygienist. She told me recently that a large number of her patients spit on themselves, maybe jabbering is another awkward thing we all have in common.

So there I was, lying back in the dental chair, a sharp instrument cleaning plaque off my teeth and spraying a fine mist of water on my chin, trying to carry on a conversation about my life with a woman I’ve only met three times before. It had been a year and a half (I know! I know! And my mom’s a hygienist) since I’d last seen her, so we had a lot of catching up to do.

The last time we had discussed the upcoming wedding of her daughter, and I had eased her mind some at the youthful age of the bride and groom. Having married at 20-years-old, I assured her that if done under the right circumstances it didn’t have to be a cause of concern.

And by the right circumstances, I meant God’s timing.

My hygienist is a Christian, and so are her daughter and son-in-law. I knew that I could talk with her about guidance from God, hearing Him speak, following His leading and she would understand. What’s hard, is when people don’t get it.

How do you hear God speak?

How can you be confident it’s Him?

Why would He care?

What if you’re wrong?

On second thought, these are all questions I have myself. Daily, hourly even, I wonder about choices I’ve made and decisions I have ahead of me. Not that I regret anything I’ve done that I feel He’s called me to, but it’s interesting to look back at what Josh and I have done based on the Lord’s promptings.

Married at 20-years-old.

Dropped out of Bible college to pursue a position in ministry.

Sold our home and moved out-of-state with a 2-year-old and a 6-week-old without a confirmed job, to return to Bible college.

Quit my job to stay home full-time with our children, losing a third of our income.

And those are just the major things. There are so many choices I make, inclinations I follow, throughout my day that really make no logical sense. I love logic. I like to look at the things that are happening in my life and use them as clues to figure out what God’s doing next. I can see a logical pattern to it all and want to run, headlong, in that direction.

Frequently I discover that God has something different in mind.

That can be so frustrating. I sometimes find myself envying people who just make decisions based on what they want or think is best. It seems so easy to say, “This is what I’d like to do, now I’m going to go do it.” Instead, Josh and I agonize over our decisions. We pray, we discuss, we wait, we wait, we wait. I drive him crazy by wanting to talk about every twist and turn I think God is doing. He drives me crazy by, well, not talking about it.

In those moments of envy I am saved by one reminder:

Many plans are in a man’s heart, but the counsel of the Lord will stand. Proverbs 19:21

This year alone, I have decided that I would start a prepared meals business, enter a Master’s program, get my BA in creative writing, open an Etsy shop to sell handmade hairbows, become a missionary in Papua New Guinea, open a retreat center for ministry leaders, host a women’s bible study, and the list goes on and on and on.

In and of themselves, none of these are sinful or wrong ideas. There’s a number of good ideas in there that I know I would excel at. But they were MY ideas.

MANY are the plans in Melissa’s heart.

BUT the counsel of the Lord will stand.

That’s why I no longer envy those people who make such flippant decisions about their life. They have nothing to fall back on when the times get tough. Doubt comes after every decision. At some point you wonder, “Did I make the right choice?” Josh and I have committed our lives to the will of God. Our decisions are only made once we feel confident that we are following Him into something He is already doing.

When marriage gets tough, I know without a doubt that this is the man God placed me with. When it’s hard to be far from family and friends, I take comfort in the fact that it’s through God’s guidance that we’re here. When money is tight, I stand on the promise that He will provide for our needs as we follow Him.

And this is what I told my hygienist. That was the assurance I gave her, as I was wearing big plastic glasses and a paper bib.

The counsel of the Lord will stand.

What do you do in those times of doubt? Is there a verse, or Promise, you rely on? Or, what’s your most embarrassing dentist story?

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21 thoughts on “At least I don’t spit on myself

  1. As someone making some of these crazy God choices right now, I appreciate your perspective! No matter how many times I do this, it’s always hard to remember that God doesn’t always call us to make sense!

    1. You know what’s interesting? I’m so logical and methodical in my thought process, but I actually enjoy it more when the plan is completely nuts. I think it’s that lack of predictability that gives me the freedom to completely trust God, because I can’t do anything else. I had more peace about our decision to move back to California after Cora was born than I’ve had about any other decision. It was like, “Ok, God. The only way this is going to happen is through your doing.” I then placed it in His hands and sat back to watch what He did. It was amazing. :) Haha!

    1. I feel like it’s both a freeing and a terrifying place to be. Praying for you as you release it all to Him, that His peace that passes all understanding will guard your heart and mind.

  2. Love this post, Melissa! I know exactly how you feel because I LOVE logic…and control. God’s put me in some crazy positions to teach me how to relinquish that in my life. It’s a work in progress.

    I laughed about your dentist story because I was there this morning. I always wonder why the hygienist talks to me because I just end up drooling all over myself. I feel like that episode of The Office where Holly thought Kevin was disabled and was talking to him like a little kid.

    1. Tony – Thank you so much for your comment, your story which makes me feel like I’m not alone in my dental weirdness, and also for your blogging advice. It’s always good to get some feedback, because sometimes I think everyone’s just being nice and I’d love a little critique. I really appreciated it. :)

  3. My hygenist always asks me questions when my mouth is wide open and I can’t answer without spitting pastey stuff on her! Enjoyed your post!

    1. Haha! I’m going to have to ask my mom, but I think they do it on purpose because they know we’ll feel compelled to answer. It’s gotta be a power trip. :)

  4. It is SO comforting to KNOW that the decisions you’ve made are the right decisions, when they are from the Lord. I cannot imagine what marriage must be like for people who didn’t have a clear direction from the Lord. Luke and I have been forced (by God) to walk in faith so many times with our more major life decisions (taking a job in Arizona, getting married with me so young and so quickly, buying our place before WE thought we were ready, etc.) and time after time it has been hard, but there has been SO much confirmation from the Lord that it was right. We have never had to doubt, which is a blessing. I don’t know if I’d survive with that kind of doubt about our decisions. He is faithful.

    Thanks for the well-articulated reminder!

    Glad your teeth are squeaky-clean! …Reminds me that I need to go. :-P I hate going to the dentist.

    1. I totally agree with you about the marriage thing! I know there have been times in my marriage where I’ve fully relied on that clear direction from God to keep me going strong and fighting. We’re human, and we’re selfish. Being in relationship with God helps me to remember Josh’s side of things, and even more, the sacrifice He made for me and that makes what I do seem so small in comparison. You and Luke are a great model of a couple that seeks God’s direction in each of your decisions, it’s something I’ve always appreciated about you two! He IS faithful. :)

  5. I have been envious (i.e., upset) before about decisions people make. For instance, one person said God showed them they had a choice of two places to move to and they could choose. I thought, “that’s not fair. I didn’t get to choose! I was told to go.” Bottom line: I had to get over it. God is God and I am not. It’s about relationship, not fairness or rules or anything else. I just know now that I want to follow where He’s leading and trust Him. Safest place to be.

    Thanks Melissa.

  6. i am a lover of logic, too. i am a scientist and a rational thinker. i like to be in control. i like to know what is coming. but God has and continues to wreck me of that.

    the Lord has called me to wait for my ex-fiance to come back to Him and to me. he ((my ex-fiance)) is in a really bad place right now and having to watch it is unbelievably painful. and seeing this often makes me wonder “did i make the right choice?” i find myself in this place often because i KNOW this is what the Lord has called me to but this calling defies all logic and defies what my current circumstance looks like right now.

    i loved your line, “When marriage ((in my case, engagement)) gets tough, I know without a doubt that this is the man God placed me with.” i know the same truth.

    many are the thoughts of LS of how the Lord is going to do this miracle, but the counsel of the Lord WILL STAND. and i know that when the miracle comes to pass, the counsel of the Lord and His way WILL STAND – and it will be better and exceedingly abundantly more than i have asked/thought and imagined. . .

    1. Control. Mmm…I was trying to stay away from that word, because it’s always been a major issue for me. :) Thank you for your transparency here, LS, and I know that He will be faithful to the guidance He’s providing you. It truly will end in an outcome that is over and above anything you can plan for!

  7. I think about this too, Melissa! It’s like so much work to just make decisions .. and I see other people who just seem so carefree … :) One of my fave verses that has encouraged me is from John 6:29

    Jesus answered, “The work of God is this: to believe in the one he has sent.”

    Thanks again for taking such a courageous posture to show us what faith REALLY looks like – you’re a shining example!

    So happy & encouraged you shared it in the jam!

    1. Thank you for sharing that verse with me, Bonnie. This week has been really hard and I’ve felt completely overwhelmed with everything going on in my life. It’s nice to take a step back and look at the bigger picture; all I’ve got to do is look at Jesus and believe in Him.

  8. I love how God reminds me of things at seemingly unconnected moments. The dentist? How comforting to know that God keeps reminding us of what he’s about even when we’re getting our teeth cleaned. “The counsel of the LORD shall stand.” What comfort! What great impetus to seek him wholeheartedly.

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