Getting Rid of the Novocaine

The dentist’s office has never been one of My Happy Places.

I remember a friend telling me that she loved to have her teeth cleaned. I thought she was joking. Could not fathom that.

It’s the poking and drilling that send my blood pressure through the top of my head. And of course, the sharp pricks when novocaine is involved.

The dentist says, “You’ll feel a little sting,” and then the needle goes in. A little sting here, a little poke there, another sting…and my gum starts going numb. More pokes? The numbness spreads.

This morning my friend, Wendie, and I were talking about life and faith. I told her that I was feeling…numb. I wasn’t even sure what I meant by that. There isn’t a crisis, no major life changes, nothing to put my finger on. But sitting has replaced skipping, and sighing has replaced singing.  My body and mind feel like they’ve been injected with novacaine … a bunch of those little stings and pricks and everything feels numb.

Maybe you know what I’m talking about?

A sting of disappointment…

A reminder poke of projects not done…

Worries that drill into the heart…

You spread those little stings out over time and eventually it feels like you’ve been … numbed.

But here’s the neat thing …

We don’t need to stay feeling like that.

There are things that we can do – that I have chosen to do – to get out of the gloomy blues. Here’s how I’ve regrouped and recharged – maybe you’ll find them helpful too:

Move. When there is novocaine in my gums, the numbness dissipates when I start to move my mouth. So, move your body. Wake up the lethargy and start breathing. Walk. Intentionally and briskly. You WILL feel different.

Tell a friend that life seems grey at the moment. She doesn’t need to fix it for you. Just sharing that little piece of truth seems to take some of the weight off your shoulders.

Change what you are thinking about. Think about what’s right in your world. Stop focusing on the gloomy.

Take a nap. This one is a no-brainer for me. Just rest. Yes, your to-do list is long. But you’re not getting anything done when you’re spinning in circles and moving from the fridge to the couch to the desk 35 times a minute.

Read a Psalm. Seriously. Why is reading The Good Book one of the very last things we do when grey clouds are hanging? Good grief. That’s just silly. One of my go-to favorites: Psalm 18:16. And one more: Psalm 94:18-19.

Remember…this is a moment in time. How you feel right now is not how you’re going to feel the rest of your days.

Oh, friends. If only life was as easy as the song tells us … “Gray skies are going to clear up, put on a happy face!” That just doesn’t seem very real, does it? I think of that song when I’m numb and I want to plug my ears, scrunch my eyes tightly shut, and replace those not-helpful words with “La, la, la, la, la…”.

Sometimes life just seems to take our breath away. But we can (I can!) make choices that will get rid of the novocaine, eliminate the numbness, and wake us back up.

If you’re feeling numb today … I care about that. Let’s make some healthy, positive choices that will re-energize our spirits and restore our souls.

We don’t want to sit in that dentist’s chair any longer than we have to, right? Right!


P.S. In this little note I’m talking about feeling numb temporarily … an “off day” or a “blue day.” I know that many have moments like this that last a long time, moments that aren’t changed by simply going for a walk or taking a nap. If that’s you…I love you and care about you. Please find a doctor or counselor that can walk this journey with you, providing the support that will help you feel better. I guarantee that a whole bunch of us would raise our hands and say, “Me too. I’ve been there.” You are loved.




  1. Thank you, Gaye, for the reminder that we don’t have to sit in that numbness! I also appreciate your P.S. to those struggling with depression or other types of situations. I’ve heard too many Christians not recognize the medical components of those types of diseases — so, thank you for that too. Today, I will focus on moving out of those grey moments!!

  2. Hi Gaye, What you say is most certainly true. I get into a funk after T’sgiving & look forward to the New Year. Then I feel guilty because we should be happy, joyful & tra la la! Also it will be our Savior’s birth the most important “reason for the season”. I’m taking your advice, read Psalms & ‘This is Livin’ – wow I feel better already! Thank you, dear friend. Mary w/a Lou

  3. Oh, Mary Lou, I know what you mean! I’ve never thought a lot about Advent in the past, but this year I’m taking the time to focus on preparing my heart for the celebration of the birth of Jesus. We have so much to be thankful for. Thank you for your note … you are loved!

You are Extraordinarily Significant!