Survey Monkey

Just Do The Next Thing


Stepping StonesA little while after the initial crisis hits, the question arises: what now? By this time everyone knows about what happened and temporary help is in place, but you are now alone with your thoughts and, at least for a short time, deciding what to do next.

What will you do next?

“Just do the next thing,” I remember hearing Elisabeth Elliot proclaim on her radio program, Gateway to Joy, while I was driving the long trek back to our home in the boondocks of North Carolina after shopping at Wal-Mart with my baby girl.

“Just do the next thing,” said Elisabeth Elliot, who had lost one husband when he was martyred as a missionary, leaving her a single mom to her 2-year-old daughter. Later on she then lost a second husband to illness.

People asked her how she got through these long term circumstances, and she said that she stuck to the mantra: just do the next thing. She actually quotes this phrase from a poem in an old Saxon legend. You can find it here:

Just a few years later, when my own husband would leave me, I remembered her advice from her times of trial, “Just do the next thing.”

So when I sat by myself in my home with two little girls asleep and another little boy in my arms, when I didn’t know what to do next, I remembered what to do.

The dishes were dirty. A diaper had to be changed. A bill had to be paid.

I noticed that I could still do these things, one at a time, even though it seemed like a miracle because I felt so numb. I realized that I still breathed. To my amazement, I still walked. I could pray for my children as I put them to bed. I was stunned every time that I did something that I actually could do it.

“But the Lord God helps me;
therefore I have not been disgraced;
therefore I have set my face like a flint,
and I know that I shall not be put to shame.”

Isaiah 50:7

           During that time right after my husband had left me, those simple words of Elisabeth Elliot’s carried me step-by-step, “Just do the next thing.”

What has helped you?

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