Do the Next Right Thing
Life feels a bit like walking on an icy pond lately. I tentatively take steps, not knowing if the ice is thick enough to hold. I see a small crack under my feet and I retreat to safety, to the sure things that I know won’t fail me. Except many of those sure things have failed me this past year and so I feel at a loss to know where to go. Is there any safe place for me?
I have many fears and questions, but I have lived long enough now to know where to take those fears and questions. I cannot make the ice thick enough to hold, but I know the One who can. The Lord is my rock and my fortress and when all else fails, He remains faithful. I know this more today than I did even a year ago.
My favorite podcast right now is from Emily P. Freeman called “The Next Right Thing“. It has impacted my decision making in profound yet simple ways. Sometimes our decisions are in the midst of desperate situations and we just have to take a step forward, not knowing where that step will lead. But we need to take it anyway. This past year has felt this way for me, desperately trying to take that next step. But sometimes our next right thing is being intentional. No longer in a state of desperation, we can see more clearly the path that lies before us. The steps become less tentative and more deliberate.
I’m stepping into a season of intentionality. The fissures, the small cracks, the uncertainties are all still there, but I must not be bound by fear. “Perfect love casts out fear” (1 John 4:18) and I have been loved perfectly by my great God. He has not failed me. Instead, He has held me close, in the shadow of His wings.
My next right thing is to write consistently in this place. I have missed writing here and celebrating my ten year blogiversary has reminded me that I need to keep writing. Looking back over past posts, I was reminded that my words have purpose and meaning. I discovered a letter that I wrote to my kids many years ago that was pertinent for what they are going through now and so I shared it with them. It has sparked great conversations that would have felt contrived had I not written it years ago. I’m so grateful for my past faithfulness!
My goal is to write in this space every day through Lent. For many years, our family has sought to be purposeful about this time leading up to Resurrection Sunday, but rather than give something up this year, I am choosing to be diligent in writing. My commitment is to write a post each day and I will not watch a show or movie if I have not written. I share this for accountability. I have filled journals and notebooks this past year, but there is a difference between writing privately and publicly.
This theme of doing the next right thing is not unique to Emily and she will be the first to tell you that. While reading “Becoming Elisabeth Elliot” by Ellen Vaughn, I found out that this was a pattern for Elisabeth (called Betty) as well. Here’s an excerpt from the book:
But she made it through each arduous day, one at a time, with a simple mantra: do the next thing. It came from an old Saxon poem Betty loved, transliterated in part from the Middle English: Do it immediately, do it with prayer, do it reliantly, casting all care. Do it with reverence, tracing His hand who placed it before thee with earnest command. Stayed on omnipotence, safe ‘neath His wing, leave all resultings, do the next thing.
Your next thing might be to unsubscribe from this blog as there will be many posts over the next little while! But in all seriousness, whether your next step comes from a place of desperation or intentionality, I pray that you will take it. You never know who you might be encouraging or spurring on.
Do the next right thing!