The simple mental picture that will forever change what you expect of God (and yourself)

If you’re like me, it’s easy to feel swamped, confused, like you’re walking in mud.

You dwell on your undone, unfinished stuff. You do all you can in relationships but still experience frustration and misunderstanding. You seem to always put out effort and not get results. You think something is probably wrong with you. If only you could get your act together. If only you worked harder, smarter, longer.

Maybe it’s your expectations . . .

Your expectations of what you do and what God does.

Here’s a simple mental picture that can fix that:

                                                                                                                                      Photo by RiverEdge Dental 


The dentist chair

How does picturing the dentist chair clean and whiten your expectations of God and of yourself?

The dentist chair reminds you it’s a partnership, but with sharp dividing lines for the roles. Get your role mixed up with the dentist’s role and you’ll be swamped, confused, walking in mud, and mumbling to yourself about getting your act together. And your teeth will hurt.

You know the roles:

You have to show up

but someone else does the real work.

You put yourself in someone else’s hands

but you’re still deeply involved.

You’re not the one in control

but you can resist and fight and hinder the one who is.

In the dentist’s office you know you’re not the expert. You would never say, “Give me that sucky thing – I’ll do it.”

But you’re not passive, either. You don’t just flop and expect things to happen.

You keep the appointment. You cancel things to be there. You don’t run away. You do what they say. You open wide. You spit. Your whole body tenses up. You’re super-sensitive to what’s going on. You go home and learn unnatural habits like running wax string between your teeth.

Yes you’re definitely involved. There’s a cost. But it’s not enough.

What are you trying to make happen that only God can make happen?

About the Author


Gary Morland helps you feel better about your most challenging family relationships, and helps you actually improve those relationships - all by adopting simple attitudes, perspectives, expectations, and actions (the same ones that changed him and his family).


  1. Nancy Currie

    Thanks, I needed this post today. You’ve put it into perspective for me. Great analogy.

  2. m carrier

    I concur with Nancy!!! I really do enjoy your thought provoking posts…this one especially, as I have been praying about His plan in my life. Blessings & thank you so much Gary!!! M.Carrier

  3. SeaStarArts

    ok, so this may be strange… but I actually enjoy the dentist. My dentist is pleasant, comforting and I never feel anxiety about going. I actually enjoy having my teeth cleaned! But the analogy still holds so true… and I am so very struggling with letting go and letting God. I. do. too. much. and I just cannot do it all… THANK YOU for again reading my mind and proving an outlet of understanding and peace.

  4. lhamer

    Certainly is something to think about. Puts things in a different perspective. I definitely don’t want to be struggling and fighting against Him.

  5. This was for me today and the phrase “give me that sucky thing” will stick with me for awhile to remind me.

  6. debi

    Great mental picture…I loved “the sucky thing” ….:-)
    Have a blessed day!

  7. Wow, you’ve done it again Gary. Hit the nail right on the head (or the sucky-thingy right on the cheek?) Thanks for giving me a picture of how pointless it is for me to continue with what I’ve unfortunately been trying to do.

  8. Excellent post & analogy. You truly have a gift for helping people see things from a different perspective.

  9. Abbie

    Like Hudson Taylor said that God said to him, “Bear not a single care thyself, one is too much for thee: The work is Mine and Mine alone – Thy work, to rest in me.”

  10. Tina

    I can’t explain how this hit me right where it hurts. My son is an alcoholic with a wife and two children (3 & 1). Watching him through this journey is painful and overwhelming as a parent and a grandparent. God is my refuge and I know he loves these four precious souls more than I could ever imagine. Please pray with me. Thank you for your words which constantly inspire me and help me smile through it all. May God bless you and your family!!

    • Thanks so much Tina. And if you have not read Beer to Eternity let me know.

  11. Debi Holder

    Thank-you for the fantastic analogy! I love reading your blog.

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