I am you.
I overthink so much that silence becomes noise. I over analyze situations until I paralyze myself into not doing anything at all. Sound familiar? Indecisiveness is a symptom of overthinking. Overthinking is a symptom of lacking trust. Mostly in yourself.
But what if instead of knowing what to do, you became more interested in knowing what to look for?
I have a story to share;
A few Februarys ago I was driving back to work from lunch on a frigid afternoon (maybe the high of 18 degrees). I was driving past the hospital (key detail) when a golden retriever with a red collar and red leash (also key detail) ran out in front of my Jeep.
Now, let me stop here and tell you a little side tidbit: I love dogs. Like, really I love dogs a lot. Coincidentally at the time of this incident, I was waffling on the idea of opening up a doggie daycare. So of course I had dog on the brain. And of course, I stopped.
I grabbed the red leash, opened my car door and in the doggie went. I was geeked that he complied so easily.
I pulled over and called the number on the dog’s tags. It lead me to the local treasury office. I explained what happened and the guy on the phone told me where the owner’s house was and added a PS – the owner is a Senior Citizen.
Luckily the doggie’s home was only a block away. I pulled into the driveway and decided I’d leave Red Leash in the car and go knock on the door.
I started up the oddly long walk way when I noticed that the front door was wide open. Weird, but obviously not weird enough to stop me. I walked further and to my shock I came across this poor, elderly woman laying in the threshold of her front door.
She was conscious. The contents of her purse were scattered everywhere around her. Her wrists were mangled from trying to catch her fall. It was bitter cold and her tears were frozen on her face.
She managed to tell me what happened; she had gone to take her dog to the car, slipped on ice and fell backwards. Red Leash ran off and she laid there helpless.
I immediately offered to call her an ambulance and was met with a screeching NO.
Her husband had just fallen on the same ice that morning. He was rushed to the hospital by ambulance and had broken 6 ribs. She explained that she couldn’t afford another ambulance.
I didn’t even think twice – I offered to drive her to the hospital myself.
By the grace of God, I was able to help her up, gather all of her things, put Red Leash in the house AND feed him a can of food (just incase she’d be a while) and then helped her into my car.
I drove her a short distance to the hospital, which – how convenient was that? I pulled up to the emergency room and told her to wait in the car. I ran in and told the nurses at the front desk about Red Leash and this lady and how her husband was apparently there already. I handed them the suitcase (not joking) full of medication that she instructed me to grab before leaving her house.
They handled the rest. They didn’t ask me for my name. They didn’t ask me for anything. They just sincerely thanked me.
I got back into my car and cried because I wasn’t quite sure how to process the adrenaline that was pumping through my body. I think I had just saved someones life and surely that only happens in movies.
She would have definitely froze to death.
I don’t know what ever happened to that lady, or her husband, or Red Leash.
But I often drive past their home and am reminded of two things;
ONE: Just say yes & figure it out later.
There is absolutely a time & place for thoughtful consideration. But when it comes to living your best life (or ensuring that someone else will have another chance to do so as well), you don’t have time to think. Say yes and ask for forgiveness later. Say yes and figure out how you’ll get it done later. If I would have over thought this whole scenario with Red Leash and that old lady – I wouldn’t have done anything the same.
I realized after much thought that I could have seriously injured her more by helping her into my car. I should have went against her wishes and called an ambulance but I didn’t. I also could have considered the front door being left wide open before I knew the reason why… Someone could have broken into her house and still been in there. It could have been a dangerous situation for me, but it wasn’t.
What if I wasn’t alone? And someone was in the car with me? I would have definitely overthought… what would they think if I just stopped for this dog? Would they talk me out of it? Maybe the people closest to you are encouraging your overthinking, which in turn is encouraging you to stay stuck.
But I was alone and stuck with my own intuition and everything came together as it should have. Sometimes you can’t afford to overthink, you just have to not think at all and go for it.
TWO: Become an archeologist of YOU
I don’t think for a moment that this was a random occurrence. I love dogs and I also love the color red. Both of which I’d notice from a mile away. Of course I’d stop for that dog. Someone knew that I would.
I also don’t do well with displeasing people. It’s actually a weakness of mine. So of course I wouldn’t have done what maybe someone else would have and gone against her wishes and called an ambulance.
So am I really telling you to look for dogs with red leashes to run out in front of your car? Yes – Yes I am.
Because opportunities aren’t some big secret. If you open your eyes to them, if you become an archeologist of yourself and dig up what you know to be true about you – then you’d see that life really does run out in front of your car. Sometimes when you least expect it. Hoping that you’ll stop and let it in. It doesn’t require much thought at all, really. You just have to expectantly be on the prowl for potential direction or answers or opportunities or clarity.
I was the absolute perfect person for this happenstance. Am I strong enough to lift the dead weight of a fragile, elderly woman? No. Am I at all equipped to help someone that is injured? Not at all. But it didn’t matter because I didn’t think about it. It would have mattered had I given it an ounce of thought, but I just jumped. Something bigger than me filled in the gaps that I failed to fill. I just had to be willing to stop for Red Leash. And while you may think it seems obvious to stop for a stray dog – it’s not. I wasn’t the only car that drove by that dog. How many people are driving right by the very opportunity they’re looking for? It’s just simply wrapped in a package that they wouldn’t recognize as theirs because it’s maybe too simple? Too good to be true?
Life is too good to be true. In all the right ways.
But you really have to be willing to believe that. And the opportunities will come to you. There’s no need to go search desperately for them, or overthink until you’ve paralyzed yourself and caused destruction to your relationships; when you know, you’ll know. If you don’t know – then do SOMETHING. Anything. One step at a time and figure it out as you go.
That is sincerely what everyone is doing. No matter how well they fake it.