…and this time, it’s in the most literal sense! This is a note to self, but for anyone else out there prone to sometimes make scheduling errors, please be forewarned that scheduling your six-year- old’s dental check up on the first full day of first grade is probably not the best option! He has had a loose tooth for quite some time now, and although some children are excited to lose a tooth, Jack seems to carry a kind affinity toward his teeth. It is always a huge ordeal, no matter how we try to go about it. And this time was no different. The dentist said that the tooth had to go, and Jack gave his word that he would pull it. As we sat there that night on the couch, ready to complete the task at hand, the tears started. And boy, did they come. So when I asked him what the tears were for, he told me how sad he was that the tooth would be gone from his mouth forever. I didn’t realize he had formed such a strong relationship with those pearly whites in his mouth, but evidently, he was bothered. Then he said that he thought it would hurt. Excuse after excuse why the tooth shouldn’t have to go, but Dad made the executive decision that the tooth had to go. Period. So as we sat there, ready to pull this tooth that was barely hanging on, I, in my infinite wisdom (haha), told him that the pain he felt when he tried to eat all week was ten times worse than the split second it would hurt for me to pull it. That seemed to make sense and calm him just long enough to claim my prize! Out came the tooth and there walked a happy boy. At no point did I have intentions to bring hurt or pain to my little boy, but I knew the relief he would feel when it was gone.
Why do I feel the necessity to share this with you? Because I think all of us at some time or another try to hang on to a ‘loose tooth.’ Spiritually speaking, of course. What is hanging around in your life that you know really should go? What are you hanging on to for dear life that should have been taken care of weeks, months, or even years ago? Whatever it is holds no intrinsic value, and in the long run, will prohibit proper growth. The pain that you may feel trying to hold on to it only dims in comparison to the momentary pain you may feel in letting go. And just think, there is a brand new ‘tooth’ that is ready to break the surface if you will only pull the old to prepare for the new.
There were four aspects of the situation that I felt carried spiritual significance.
- Holding on to the old can inhibit new growth.
- The pain of holding on to the old far exceeds the pain of letting it go.
- God isn’t waiting for the opportunity to bring pain into our lives!
- When it’s all said and done, it wasn’t as bad as you expected!
One thing to keep in mind is that this is only in reference to small things that create problems for us. We should never try to ‘pull’ the things of great importance. Our marriages, our relationships, our closeness to the Lord, those things should be tended to with great care. Those are the permanent teeth in our lives, and we should diligently seek to keep those strong. Just for today, I will tend to that loose tooth that I’ve been afraid to tend to!
Matthew 7:11 “… how much more shall your Father who is in heaven give good things to them that ask him?”