Otis
I could feel it happen. Panic and anxiety were taking over. It was late, I couldn’t fall asleep, and I was exhausted and wide-awake all at the same time. I felt the familiar pit in my stomach– the one that insists that everything is NOT going to be okay. I tried some deep breathing, super not helpful. It was getting worse and as my fear was growing my ability to stop it was slipping away. Fear was taking over.

I think fear planted a seed earlier that evening. I was distracted making dinner while my new puppy, Otis, ran around the house tearing things up. It seemed a bit out of control, but I just wanted to get a few things done. Do you know what I mean? When the boundaries start to sleep away for the sake of just being able to accomplish a few little things. Otis chewed at the rug and I didn’t say anything. “It’s not that big of a deal,” I rationalized. He chewed a few other things that clearly fell outside the scope of his toys and I let those slide as well. I had corrected him all day and was exhausted by it. Then it happened. He stopped, squatted down, and before I could do anything, he was peeing on the living room floor. “SHIT,” I thought to myself. I picked him up and we went outside. We both knew it was way too late. I took a few deep breaths and we both came back inside. I put him in his crate and cleaned up the floor.

I felt like shit. I knew better. Things were getting a bit out of control and I just let it get to this point. The fear started to creep in with the simple little thought, “I’m a bad dog mom.” That’s it. That little thought is all it took for the floodgates to open. Once that thought was in there, others started to follow. “If I can’t even handle dinner, how am I going to navigate him with work tomorrow? What about my vacation to Peru this summer? What will I do with him? Who will take care of him? I probably need to cancel my trip AND quit my job. I just can’t do it all. I suck at this. I just suck.” My spirits and joy started to fade. I felt the funk settle in.

I went to bed feeling shaky about my confidence in taking care of this 8-week-old puppy. I didn’t want to mess it up or let him down in anyway. Why was I freaking out over a puppy? How do moms do it? Again, I must really suck. Then my fear started to grow tentacles. One of it’s favorite tapes started playing, the money story. I started thinking about the cost of my trip to Peru this summer, the lingering bills from my ER visit in Steamboat this winter, and a few other unexpected bills. The fear grew, “I don’t have enough money. I’ve been so stupid with my money lately. I make bad choices. I’m all alone. I’m not going to have enough to pay my bills.” And on the thoughts went.

There I was in the middle of the night a complete financial failure and a bad dog mom. As I suffered with these thoughts a different thought came in. I remembered a motivational concert I attended in Steamboat the other night by a dear friend, Todd Musselman. The concert was titled, The Vital Choice, and explored the choice of coming from fear or love. Instantly I could see it, I was choosing fear. While I was struggling to choose out of it in the moment, I knew a way to rapidly shift my thinking– prayer. I started praying. I asked for God’s assistance in helping me to let go of the fear. I asked for peace, grace, and for loving eyes. “God, please help me to see myself and this situation through your eyes,” I prayed. I felt my pain ease and mind start to let go. Before I knew it I was asleep. I slept hard that night and woke up very rested. My mind was at ease and I didn’t feel any of the worry or panic from the night before. I was coming from love.

That morning, my 8am-12pm training session cancelled as did two other clients. I had plenty of time to do everything I need to do. I not only caught up, I got ahead. I could feel God working in my life. I felt so supported in all the things I had worried so much about. Things were in my favor. I also received a referral for coaching and along with three training opportunities. Suddenly, money wasn’t such a worry. Wow, what a shift.

We all have the vital choice in every moment, love or fear. In my experience fear gets me nowhere, is not very productive, is rarely accurate, and creates a lot of suffering. With love, well, I’m learning anything is possible. What would choosing love in this moment look like for you?