I can always tell when I’ve been worrying too much because it gets hard to brush my teeth.
Not because I find my toothpaste scary or because I have emotional obstacles in pursuing personal hygiene, it’s because it actually hurts. When my brush bristles touch on that area where tooth-meets-gum, it’s a thousand nails on a thousand chalkboards, even with the kindest of toothpastes.
The last time I was in to my dentist, I asked him about this, because it had been hurting. He said it was because I clench my teeth at night — how does my dentist know about my sleep habits anyway? — and that probably because I was stressed out about something — how does my dentist know about my emotional state anyway?
He prescribed a mouth guard.
I said no. Partly because I secretly believe dentists make things up, but mostly because I’ve spent so much time and energy making fun of my husband’s mouth guard that it just wouldn’t be right for me to have my own.
Also, if I clench my teeth because I’m stressed, maybe I should be taking care of my stress not my teeth. So that’s what I do. When my teeth start hurting, it’s time to focus on relaxing my jaw and decluttering the pile of worries that I let accumulate in my heart.
My teeth have been hurting lately and my jaw feels a little bit high strung. I didn’t know I’d been anxious, but when I sat down this morning to look at the mess, it was a bigger pile than I expected. I wrote it all out — a lot of it, anyway — and gave them to God.
Then my Bible reading took me to the passage where the disciples are worrying about lunch.
I identify with this because I too worry about lunch.
In Mark 8, the disciples are doing a lot of traveling, mostly by boat, and there they are in the middle of the lake and someone forgot to pack the lunch for everyone. They only had one loaf of bread and there’s at least 13 of them in the boat and with no a motor, someone in that boat is burning a lot of calories.
This is grounds for hysteria in my book.
So they’re all talking about what they’re going to do, they’re getting a bit worried. Judas might be thinking how he can make a profit on the situation. A couple are thinking of phoning their mom and having her ask Jesus if they can have a place on Jesus’ right and left, so they will get the biggest serving of the loaf.
And out of the clamor Jesus goes:
Why are you talking about not having bread? Don’t you remember the other day when I fed thousands of people with a few loaves of bread? Don’t you get it?
The story ends there. I think I know why. They felt as foolish as I felt when God simultaneously said to me:
Why are you worrying about this stuff? Don’t you remember what I did just yesterday? How I provided exactly what you needed? Don’t you get it?
I didn’t understand at first, to be honest. I didn’t know what I wasn’t understanding. And I said so:
No, Jesus. I don’t get it. What do you mean?
You will always have enough. I’m here. Because of that, you will always have enough.
Oh. That. Right. Yeah, I think I remember you saying that before. Now that you mention it.
I need to be reminded of this over and over and over. I am forgetful, just like the disciples. I gave my junk to Jesus this morning and here I am two hours later and I can already feel my jaw tight again.
I will always have enough. Jesus is here in the boat with me, in this boat that only has one loaf of bread and a bunch of other people. I will always have enough.