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What if we all did the next right thing?

Easter 2019

Eggs by kids, pictures by me.

I entered the season of Lent with great expectations and even greater plans. I printed out Lenten worksheets for the whole family and taped them up in the kitchen. As a family, we committed to giving up eating out for 40 days. We promised to pray for certain people every day and we promised to support one of favorite charities with alms giving.

We did pretty good that first week. I cooked every single meal, morning, noon and night. That felt great. But, then one night after a long and stressful day, we unceremoniously made a desperate run to Tucker’s for onion burgers. It was all down hill from there. The remaining days of Lent stretched out before us — too many hours and minutes staring us in the face demanding right choices.

If only we could focus on the next right thing instead of the next 2,000 right things.

What if we all did the next right thing?

Have you heard of Emily P. Freeman’s podcast The Next Right Thing? I’ve really enjoyed catching up on episodes during this Lenten Season. Episode 77 was especially great as Freeman prepared for the launch of her new book, The Next Right Thing: A Simple, Soulful Practice for Making Life Decisions. 

The title inspiration for Freeman’s podcast comes from an old poem by Minnie Paul. According to Freeman, the poem was published in 1897 in Ye Next Thynge.  Many years later it was popularized by Elisabeth Elliot. Here is the extraordinary poem, a wonderful meditation that came to me as I was trying to figure out the next right thing.

From an old English parsonage,
Down by the sea,
There came in the twilight,
A message to me;
Its quaint Saxon legend,
Deeply engraven,
Hath, as it seems to me,
Teaching from Heaven.
And on through the hours
The quiet words ring
Like a low inspiration –
Do the next thing

Many a questioning, many a fear,
Many a doubt, hath its quieting here.
Moment by moment,
Let down from Heaven,
Time, opportunity,
Guidance, are given.
Fear not tomorrows,
Child of the King,
Trust them with Jesus,
Do the next thing

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

Looking to Jesus, ever serener,
(Working or suffering)
Be thy demeanor,
In His dear presence,
The rest of His calm,
The light of His countenance
Be thy psalm,
Strong in His faithfulness,
Praise and sing,
Then, as He beckons thee,
Do the next thing

What is the next right thing for you?

What is the next right thing for you?


Gen X Blog Jennifer Chronicles

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1 Comment

  1. Tom

    Wonderful! Just like the scripture where we’re admonished not to worry about tomorrow because it will have its own problems.


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