Published in the Owensboro Messenger Inquirer March 19, 2020

I’m always amazed at the number of people who are frightened of coming to the dentist. I don’t mean just nervous, but truly scared.

Typically, they’ve had some kind of traumatic experience as a child or had a parent who was terrified. Often, they will reschedule their appointment multiple times and will only finally commit because they are in pain or in jeopardy of losing a tooth.

Eventually, the anxious patient undergoes their dental procedure without event and remarks that their fears were unnecessary. They will often comment with “I shouldn’t have watched that YouTube video” or “that was easier than I thought it was going to be.”

Often the transformation from fearful to fearless is based on focus. Our team spends a lot of time focusing on the positive change that is going to happen as a result of this treatment. We focus on improved health and wellness, lessening of pain and discomfort, improvement in self-confidence.

“Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise.” Philippians 4:8

While our community, city, state, country and world seem to be focusing on crisis, what can we focus on as individuals? How can we protect our physical selves as well as our mental and spiritual selves from becoming the fearful?

Focus on understanding. What is COVID-19? Who does it affect physically and why? What is the purpose of quarantine? Unfortunately, the latest social media posts can not answer these questions thoroughly. Go to the source for scientific answers and facts.

Focus on your purpose. What can you do to impact change within your family, your home, your place of business? How can you personally take responsibility for your own behavior, without criticizing others and their behaviors?

Focus on things that are “excellent and worthy of praise.” What are you grateful for? Is your family healthy and safe? Do you have a roof over your head and food to eat? Do you have an employer who is working to provide a source of income for you even though business may be slow?

It is hard to be angry and thankful at the same time. When you focus on things that are excellent and worthy of praise, you will focus on more things that are excellent and worthy of praise.

I am thankful for a God who has forgiven me and given me the hope of life. I am thankful for my healthy safe family. I am thankful for a business that allows me to serve people in my community.

I am thankful for a church that loves me and cares for my spiritual health. I am thankful for a community that is generous and supports small businesses. I am thankful for a governor who is making the safety of our state’s residents his highest priority. I am thankful for our country’s leadership that is seeking to protect its citizens.

What are you thankful for today?

Be thankful in all circumstances (1 Thess. 5:18)