The Next Right Thing


Can I just pause and tell you the truth?

I don’t have all my shit together.

Sure, I have menu plans and programming plans and lesson plans and exercise plans and a plan for the time in the day in which I will stop and make more plans.

Somewhere in the productivity-increasing spreadsheets and highlighters, in the midst of strict half hour breakdowns, I’ve often found myself paralyzed.

Can I tell you I didn’t write a song for four years because I was afraid to write a bad song?

Can I tell you I didn’t write a blog post for more than six months because I don’t know what my vision for blogging is?

Can I tell you I didn’t apply for seminary for a solid three years after deciding I wanted to go because I don’t have a five-year plan for my ministry after seminary?

Can I tell you that sometimes I sit in my car, parked in the driveway with my mind simultaneously rushing and frozen completely overwhelmed by the life I find myself in?

I don’t have a plan.

***

Where there is no vision the people perish.

A few really popular books came out when I was in college centering around the idea of casting a VISION for your life and how essential it is to have a VISION for personal well being and success.
(Maybe people have been writing those books for years and no one cares about whether or not you have a vision for your life until you’re 19 years old and obviously so capable of making plans for your life with long term implications.)
Vision, vision, vision.
Have a vision.
Make a plan.
Short term and long term goals.

I worked the steps meticulously, and you know what?
It blew up in my face.
Almost nothing went as planned, and the things that did work go as planned only worked to show me maybe that’s not what I want out of life after all.

Can I tell you I’m terrified of long term planning?

Can I tell you I would rather not dream at all than to have to dream something new after the old dream fell apart?

Can I tell you about the grief of having your life go in a direction – even a good direction! – that you never anticipated?

I don’t have my shit together.

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Image by Scholastica.

“What’s the next right thing.”

It’s a new question for me to consider.
Not “what’s your five-year plan?”
Not “what’s your vision for life?”

Today.
Right now.
What’s the next right thing?
And who knows where it will lead, who knows what comes of it!
What’s the right thing for me to do right now,
in this moment,
today.

 Today, the next right thing looks like making time to write because that’s how my soul breathes and my brain thinks. I take 30 minutes and give myself to plinking away at keys and putting my thoughts on a screen and maybe someone will read it one day…or maybe not.
Today, you’re reading it. But maybe not what I write tomorrow, or next week, or the week after.

I write not to gain a following or build a platform.
I write because it’s the right thing for me to do.

Today, the next right thing looks like caring for my body. I run four days a week and I practice yoga on the fifth day. It makes my body feel strong and relaxed and good.
(Feeling good inside your own body isn’t something we give credit to often enough)
I have a family health history which would tell me exercise should help my predisposition to things like high blood pressure or cholesterol…but maybe it won’t.  Either way, there is value in the practice.

Today, the next right thing looks like running down the list of things I need to turn in for my applications to seminary.  Transcripts and paper work and more forms than I remember there being for undergrad. I hope to start taking classes in the fall…or maybe I won’t.
Maybe none of the schools I apply to will accept me and maybe this was all for naught. I’m applying though, because it’s the next right thing for me to do.

Today, the next right thing looks like asking people to volunteer their time to read to kids.
It looks like grocery shopping and emails. It looks like mailing thank you notes and playing music.

It looks like putting my phone away during lunch and looking my daughter in the eye when she asks her two billionth question before noon.

It looks like appreciating the sunshine and the snowflakes and taking time to breathe full breaths.

It looks like slowing down to take a deep breath and doing the hard work of chilling the hell out.

Just do the next right thing.

Forget the five-year plan.

I can’t think about that right now.

Most days, I’m just trying to remember who I am and which way is up.

Where there is no vision the people perish.

So for today, the vision is
Just do the next right thing.

**********************************************************************

It’s worth noting this question “what’s the next right thing?” was prompted by reading Rob Bell’s latest book How to Be Here. Regardless of how you feel about Rob’s theology, it’s a great book about practicing presence in your daily life. I would highly recommend it.  You can read more about the book here.

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One thought on “The Next Right Thing

  1. “Today, the next right thing looks like making time to write because that’s how my soul breathes and my brain thinks. I take 30 minutes and give myself to plinking away at keys and putting my thoughts on a screen and maybe someone will read it one day…or maybe not.Today, you’re reading it. But maybe not what I write tomorrow, or next week, or the week after.I write not to gain a following or build a platform.I write because it’s the right thing for me to do.”

    Amen and women this is what I must do. And reading it was like backup when I didn’t even call for it.

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