The Next Right Thing

Last weekend, I took seven middle school girls to a Girls’ Conference at a church in Memphis.  While there, I experienced some serious sleep deprivation (a 4:30 am-to-midnight day will do that to you), but also heard some good messages.  One speaker made a really simple point that was able to make sense even to my sleep-addled brain.  She said something to the effect of, “Obeying God simply means doing the next right thing.”

That’s it.  Earth-shattering, right?  But for me, it kind of was.  I often get overwhelmed by the big picture:  what does God want me to do with my life?  Is He pleased with me?  What are His plans for me?  And am I following them?  Am I walking in obedience??  Ahhhhh!!!!  Someone get me a Magic 8 ball!

My little brain can’t piece all that together.  But it can handle “the next right thing.”  The next right thing that day was to stay awake (drat) and to get to know these wonderful girls who were with me.  The next right thing was to really listen to them, and as a result, to get a true glimpse into their lives.  And the next right thing after that was to feel really convicted about how fervently I pray for my children, but don’t pray for these girls.  Another mom has shared with me the idea of “praying circles around my kids.”  On our trip, God gently asked me, “Who is praying circles around these kids?”  And so the next right thing was to start praying for these girls as often as I pray for my own kids.  And the next right thing after that was to write them an encouraging note before school.

The next right thing.

Similarly, I’ve been overwhelmed with the task of figuring out what and how to teach our children at our church.  I’ve had to realize that I can’t figure that whole picture out right now; I just have to do the next right thing.  The next right thing in that task was to organize the hand-me-down curriculum we have for the spring semester.  And the next right thing after that was to talk to our teachers and realize that they don’t like that curriculum, so I need to look for something else for the fall.  And the next right thing after that was to do online research.  And the next right thing will be to do some in-store research and hopefully find some samples to show our teachers.  These tasks are small, insignificant.  They are not the “great” things I dream about doing for the kingdom of God.  But maybe “great” things are just series of “next right things” that are allowed to continue to their natural conclusion.

The next right thing.

I have also been overwhelmed by the idea of this blog sitting here, unused.  I don’t really know what I want from it.  I don’t have any big picture of its purpose.  But I know that the speaker’s message during the Girls’ Conference was a good one.  I know that this idea of simply doing the next right thing has really helped me in my Christian walk.  So I’m going to share it.

Because sharing it is the next right thing.

2 responses to this post.

  1. Yes! This was part of the reason I gave you the link about Dr. Neller.

    ” the Kingdom of God was alive and well today, and we could serve it by these practical ways of serving the local church.”

    Dr. Neller talked about funerals, weddings, hospital visits, locating teachers for kids classes, etc. At the time, I didn’t really understand. But now, as a missionary, I am seeing everyday that the kingdom of God is about just doing the next right thing. Serving the next person that God sets in front of you. Today Jesse gave a few Mormon missionaries a ride to their Bible study. They were amazed and touched by his simple kindness. It’s just the next right thing.

    Love you girl. As always, thanks for the post. 🙂


  2. You nailed it with this line, Kim: maybe “great” things are just series of “next right things”.

    Yes! I’ve put it a little differently, but it’s the same idea. I need to be focusing on what God has given me to do presently, not what may or may not come along later. It’s not that planning doesn’t have its place, but as far as doing the only thing to do is what can be done now. Doing something that is not yet presented to me is impossible anyway.



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