Do The Next Thing

This week was tough in a lot of ways. I’m still working through the breastfeeding issue (or non issue, perhaps) and my two year old is really giving me a run for my money. I’ve gotten through the terrible twos once before, so I know at some point things improve, but right now it feels like I’m having to do a LOT of disciplining without much progress.

I hate to admit it, but sometimes I find myself COMPLETELY OVERWHELMED. Most often this happens around 12pm when I’m trying to bathe the older two (an all dirt backyard often requires two-a-day baths), feed them lunch, nurse the babies, pick up around the house, and have everyone down for a nap by 12:30. In these moments, I’m in what you might call an emotionally fragile state – which basically means I’m primed to snap at the even the smallest thing.

It’s a work in progress. One thing that has helped is a printout my friend gave me to put on my fridge with the simple words “do the next thing.” The phrase comes from an old poem with that title and was perhaps made most popular because of the frequency at which Elisabeth Elliot repeated it. It’s a reminder that when we’re overwhelmed, overworked, or don’t know what to do, we just need to do the next thing. This applies to both the big and small questions in life – from “how do I make a difference in the world” to “how do I get everyone down for a nap in 20 minutes without losing my mind.”

I just love the whole poem so I thought I’d share. Happy Friday.

Do the Next Thing

From an old English parsonage down by the sea
There came in the twilight a message for 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.

(source unknown)

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