Nothing says “style & sophistication”…
Like braces in your 50’s.
Yep, 50 something…returning to Junior High. Maybe I’ll try out for cheerleading!
I noticed that my teeth were shifting. As I sat in the orthodontist’s waiting room (with all the other 13 year olds), I was excited about getting my smile back in alignment. Turns out there are similarities between getting braces and growing spiritually.
Go to the Expert. It wasn’t enough to recognize that my teeth were shifting. I needed to see an orthodontist, get his perspective, and trust him to work things out.
No pain, no gain. As wires were installed and tightened for the first time, my wayward teeth suddenly experienced the full impact of their misalignment. If teeth could talk, they’d have said, “Hey, we just want to bite right and look good…we didn’t know pain was part of this equation! Forget this. We’re fine just like we are.”
Hebrews 12:11 says “No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.” Keep your focus. What’s uncomfortable and inconvenient now is producing a good result for later.
Don’t be afraid…your Shepherd knows what He’s doing. My orthodontist explained that the beginning conforming wires were not tightened at full strength. “If I did everything that needed doing the very first day, it would be too painful. I work one step at a time.” Isn’t that like our great God? He graciously and expertly guides our transformation process.
It takes time. “Come back in an hour and you’ll be done!” No, this is a year and a half process. Likewise, there is no “drive-thru breakthrough” in becoming a mature follower of Christ. Lining up my teeth where they should be will take time. As does God’s realigning of our lives.
Continue doing the right thing. Having already had braces in 8th grade, I asked, “Why do I need braces…again?” “Did you wear your retainer?”, he asked. “For a while”, I replied. “Well, you shouldn’t have stopped”, he said kindly, but matter of factly.
We must continually go back to our holy Retainer, God’s Word, letting Him reveal when we’re off course…confessing, repenting and allowing Him to renew and strengthen us and then by His grace put us back on His path. There is no “one-time” session by which we gain maturity in Christ. We must stay the course by dwelling in His Word.
Obey immediately. I learned that teeth, on their own, never move for the better. The longer one waits to address problems, the more complicated and painful the treatment.
Is there something you know that God wants you to start doing differently? Or stop doing?
Don’t wait. Begin right now to align yourself with God’s Word and let Him start to straighten any thoughts, habits, words or behavior that don’t reflect Christ.
That’s the only path to a real smile.