The Next Right Thing

The Lord makes firm the steps
    of the one who delights in him;
though he may stumble, he will not fall,
    for the Lord upholds him with his hand.  Psalm 37:23-24

I’ve been all twisted up in decision fatigue recently. Considering my place, my purpose, and how that relates to my husband, my writing, my family, my health, my church and my community.  I encountered a situation that was a relentless drain on my spirit. Some things were said that were out of line and it hurt deeply. Being the melancholy type that I am and also one who tends to overthink things I replayed the scene over a few times in my mind.

It was exhausting. I remember telling my husband, who is my biggest champion, that I wasn’t even angry, although I may have had reason to be, but that instead I was just done. Over it. I was too tired and weary to handle the stress of the situation.  So, I decided to just be me, do life in my corner, trusting God for the outcome and being a helpmate to my husband which is my first calling and the most important relationship in my life after God.

I’m sure that it’s not over yet and there may be more to come. I’m sure that emotions will run the gamut from angry to sad and everything in between. But, I’m also sure that I don’t have to stay on that emotional roller coaster. I don’t have to have all the answers.  I just need to do the next right thing.

1.next right thing

So what is the next right thing? Well, I’m so glad you asked.  For me, the next right thing has been reading Emily P Freeman’s latest book, The Next Right Thing. It is a game changer.   It actually does not officially release until April 2, so you have a few days left to pre-order and receive some pretty cool bonuses.  Here is a link if you want to check it out:  http://nextrightthingbook.com/

I was privileged to be on the launch team and help promote this book.  I had actually already pre-ordered my book back in November when Emily first mentioned it in her Newsletter. When the invitation came to join the launch team I jumped at the chance.  Even if I wasn’t on the launch team I’d tell you to read this book. All of her books, actually.

Emily’s writing style is beautifully lyrical but at the same time, it is everyday practicality.  It’s like sitting down to have a conversation with a kindred spirit. A friend who understands you on the deepest level and will help you see the best parts of your soul. She will guide you through the decision making process, not by telling you exactly what to do, but by showing you the strategies that can help you find the answers that fit you.  She also reassures you that you don’t have to see the whole picture all at once or have everything figured out.  It is ok to take it one step at a time and just “do the next right thing in love.”

By doing the next right thing you are giving yourself permission to let go of the anxiety-producing over thinking that makes your head spin in circles.  The cycle that keeps you awake at night, gnaws at your insides and tells you that you’ll never be enough.  This hit home to me in the chapter called Don’t Give Your Critic Words.  In this chapter, Emily gives you permission to “refuse to give the critic words”.  I can tell you that was very liberating for me to read.  I had already decided I was done trying to please the critic, but what I hadn’t fully realized was that as long as I was rehashing the scene I was still giving the critic words.  “The critic only lives if we let her live.”

when we don’t admit or become aware of our current life situation, we will continue to have expectations of ourselves and of other people as if things are as they’ve always been when, in fact, they are not. When we’re unaware of where we are, we can’t possibly make informed decisions about where we want to go.  This leads to an inability to discern our next right things. –Emily P Freeman

There are so many treasures in this book.  Many of them are simple practices that are based in common sense.  Yet, they are things that we easily overlook when we get caught up in making plans and choosing what’s best. We make it more complicated than it has to be. That’s where Emily comes along as your guide to gently lead you through the process.

The chapters in the book range from Becoming a Soul Minimalist to Looking for Arrows, Being Where You Are to Wearing Better Pants and Looking for God and Coming Home to Yourself. Throughout the entire book Emily gives a clear path to take one step at a time; A path that will free us to slow down and be fully present and allow the journey to unfold. Instead of worrying about the outcome you will learn how to rest and just do the next right thing.

Finding Grace In The Next Right Thing,

Teresa

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Rearranging Furniture

chair collage 2

I have come to the conclusion that rearranging furniture  is probably a metaphor for life. We have played musical furniture so many times over the past year and are probably not done yet.  I’m starting to realize that shifting furniture around and making the pieces fit can teach us much about life.  We have to look at our available resources and determine how they can work together to create the space that we need in order to be at our most productive.  This is true of living life to our fullest potential as well as having a home with well-balanced furniture and accessories. Sometimes we have to accept that it might be time for something to go in order to make room.

Liviing Room collage

This has been a year of accepting that God sometimes rearranges our plans.  My husband has been without an official, includes benefits, job for a while now.  Doors have been slamming all over the place.  I finally changed the way I was praying.  I started asking God to send my husband the work he had for him to do rather than asking God to send him the job we thought he needed. I also asked God to give us enough. It’s not the way we thought we’d be living at this point in our lives, but our needs are being met in the space we’ve been given. God is faithful and he does answer prayer.

Music room collage

I have  been looking hard at what I’m supposed to be writing. For a long time I resisted writing about my mom’s Alzheimer’s and how it was rearranging all our lives. I didn’t want that to be my story. But, it is part of my story and it shapes  my voice. To leave it out would not be authentic, so I’ve been rearranging and making space to explore the journey in my writing.

One of the highlights of this past year was when I went to a Writers Barn event and soaked in what Emily Freeman and Christa Wells had to say about our writing voice. Emily said, “Learn to respect the story that’s within you”.  She’s right.  Going forward, that is a lesson I will continue to embrace.

Emily P. Freeman quote

A year is made up of many moments that define our living.  If we can look at those moments and see how the story was written, then we can take the truth from those moments and let them shape the story that is to come.

Rearranging in grace,

Teresa

What lessons have you learned this year?  To read what others have been learning hop on over to Chatting at the Sky.