I have learned lots of things about me through this experience. One thing is I find myself telling people the actual number. I thought it was strange that I was doing this. Why would anyone choose to humiliate themselves in this way?
Then I was talking to someone that I hadn't told and they said 'I found out a secret about you.' I had no idea what they were talking about. Then they shared how shocked they were by my number of cavities. They then went on telling me all about oral hygiene (yes I know I need to brush my teeth twice a day, floss, and use fluoride mouth rinse.) This person was a good friend and did this all with a good nature, yet it still made me feel not good.
It dawned on me. I choose to tell people this humiliating fact about me, so I can be in control. If I present it to them, I keep the power in the situation; they can't make fun of me. I share the facts, so it is not kept in the dark for people to secretly find out. It is all a form of self protection, preserving how people view me.
Lots of people around me could tell you that one of the things I struggle most in life with is caring way too much about what people think of me. This situation showed me just another area that this comes out in.
I know I want to live a life where I live to please an audience of One. I know I am far from that and I fail in this area every day. But I also know that that is my desire--to please God alone. I also know that God has promised to continue to refine me. So I choose today to walk in his grace and pray that he will rid me of this.