Everyone warned me about the pain, so I left my first orthodontist appointment tense and expecting the worst. Oddly enough, my braces gave me hardly any trouble those first weeks that I was so on edge. As rewiring visits passed without a hitch, I grew rather pleased with the process. I was seeing progress with minimal discomfort. After a few months, however, my positive change hit a snag.
Amid the straight rows of teeth, which had obediently moved beneath the gentle pressure of thin wires, an obstinate peg tooth refused to budge. It flared out unflatteringly. Something had to be done; more extreme measures were required. Heavier bands with tighter tension came first—accompanied by mouth tenderness I hadn’t felt before. Still, the tooth remained defiantly out of line. Chains added weight and pressure against the tooth.There was movement, but the discomfort was much greater than the minor, positive change. Then, a file was used to chisel away part of the tooth. Oh, how sore my mouth became, but the job was not finished. Every few days additional adjustments were made--more tightening, stretching, filing, and grinding. The ache grew into a pulsating throb. I didn’t want my lips to touch my teeth!
However, with the technician’s patience and the increase of pain, the tooth has begun to cooperate. Little by little, it has lined up, and this old gal is getting close to the day when wires, brackets…and every other thing that has kept my lips feeling estranged from my face…will be removed. But, I wouldn't be at this point if I hadn't gone through the trouble.
Obstinate areas in my spirit require a similar process. When I refuse to be corrected by gentle pressure, tougher conditions are required. Conditions that tug my heart, rub me the wrong way, and file away pieces of me that are in the way of my progress. Conditions that cause pain and tenderness as they loose me from the comfortable way I’ve always been. I don’t enjoy the tension put on my weaknesses by the stronger parts of me that have already surrendered to God, but I’m glad for every squeezing, straining, pulling discomfort nonetheless. Suffering will change me so I can experience the eternal outcome I’ve always desired. And that’s what it’s all about.
Others have said it before, and it’s true. Sometimes, living for God hurts. Realignment is tough. But when the crooked is shaped by skilled hands, the end result of the uncomfortable process will be worth it. The unsightly will become beautiful, and in the place of pain will be a winning smile.
Tip/Tidbit: Today, tackle the obstacles that are keeping your heart from having a smile. Endure the process. A victor's grin is assured in the end!