DO THE NEXT RIGHT THING

“Just do the next right thing.”

That is one of the best pieces of advice I ever received.

When I faced getting on with life after my husband’s death, I was often paralyzed with grief and anxiety. Frequently, my first thought of the day was, “I can’t do this.” It helped to break my day into manageable pieces by thinking of what was the “next right thing” to do. Sometimes all I could handle was: Get out of bed. Take a shower. Make coffee. Eat breakfast. Small tasks, strung together, got me through the day.

Elisabeth Elliot agrees with me. In her book God’s Guidance: A Slow and Certain Light, she wrote, “Do the next right thing” is the best piece of advice she ever had. “It works in all kinds of situations and is especially helpful when we don’t know what to do. The doing of that next thing may open our eyes to the next.”

My daughter Aimee explained how doing “the next right thing” helped her and her husband Andy when they sensed God leading them to move from Grand Rapids, MI to Toledo, OH. “It began with a discussion during dinner one night. Once we decided to move, the next right thing was to put our house for sale. Next, once the house sold, we quit our jobs and moved into Andy’s parent’s basement in Toledo in December 2003.”

The next right thing was for Andy to make the rounds at all the schools to drop off his resume and get his name on the sub list. Andy subbed regularly as an elementary school teacher for the next year and a half. The schools all loved him, and called whenever they needed a sub. There were promises of a job, but nothing ever materialized.

During the summer of 2005, Andy agreed to help his friend Sam with their church’s Junior High. Sam was impressed with Andy’s rapport with the kids and asked a question that turned out to be life-changing: “Andy, have you ever considered that the reason why you aren’t getting a teaching contract is that God wants you to work with kids here at church?”

The rest is history. Andy was offered a part-time position teaching grades 3-5 at Cedar Creek Church in Perrysburg, OH. He later told me, “I prayed that I would get a teaching contract, thinking I could make a difference for the 25 kids in my classroom. God had a plan so much bigger than I ever dreamed. I get to touch the lives of 1,500 kids every weekend by teaching the Bible! I can’t think of anything better to do.”

Within a few months, Andy was given a full-time position on staff. Today he is the Campus Pastor at Cedar Creek’s South Toledo campus. Aimee is also on staff there part-time.

Doing the “next thing” opened the door to the “next thing,” and brought them to the center of God’s will for them.

Years ago I attended a Write-to-Publish conference at Wheaton College. The Rev. Ray Pritchard encouraged those of us seeking God’s will for our writing with these words: “If you don’t know the will of God for your life right now – it’s because you don’t need to know it right now. But when you need to know God’s will for you, you will know it. If God is God, this much is true.”

I recited those words many times that year. I was cut to a 3-day work schedule for an extended time and was feeling financial distress as a result. I spent much time in the Word and in prayer, asking God for direction. I sent out resumes and had a couple of interviews, but when nothing materialized, I assumed the “next right thing” was for me to continue to get up and go to work each day.

I eventually returned to full-time status at work and remained there until my retirement last year.

Now that I am retired, it helps to manage time and choose priorities by asking myself, “What is the next right thing I need to do?” Today the answer was simple: Write a blog about…the next right thing.

TODAY’S CHALLENGE: Whether you are earnestly seeking God’s will for your life or simply trying to make it through a demanding day, ask yourself, “What is the next right thing I need to do?” It may just lead you to the next thing, and then the next…God bless as you seek His will for you. Until you know the “Big Picture,” ask Him to show you the next right thing – then do it.

 

6 Comments

  1. Jennifer Deephouse
    Feb 22, 2014

    Thank you, this was just what I needed to read today. Love you!

  2. jacky
    Feb 23, 2014

    Thanks! I needed this…. today…and tomorrow… and the next day! Jacky

    • Dorothy
      Feb 23, 2014

      Now to remember to tell myself, just do the next right thing.

  3. Brooke Sintkowski
    Feb 23, 2014

    You are a very good writer! I love reading your blogs. I needed to hear this today! Thank you God Bless.

  4. Kris O'Connor
    Feb 23, 2014

    Thanks! I needed this!

  5. beth Weichhand Steere
    Feb 23, 2014

    thanks Kathy- a good word….I needed it! bless!

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