My Mother in Law (of all people!) shared this quote with me the other day. Ironically it was a day my trauma thinking was sabotaging a pretty big decision.
Elizabeth Elliott wrote after going back to the camp where she lost her husband, “Do the next thing.” Somewhere along the lines, whether it was Teddy Roosevelt or someone else… added the word ‘right’ in there. Right meaning not correct, but morally righteous.
Thank goodness I had therapy that day and was able to sit and unpack this big decision. My therapist slowly wound me full circle to answer my own question. “I think you know the answer,” is her favorite saying. (Her next favorite is, “You need to speak your truth. I’m not going to do it for you.” )
I did know the answer.
But the answer is big, scary and seems impossible.
I know the answer because it’s sitting in the bottom of my gut burning a hole right through. It’s this hot stone I’m carrying around and it gets hotter every day. If I don’t do something with it, I will burn up.
I know the answer, but I am scared.
Then, as I sat there slowly melting down into her big, comfy, green chair, in my head the image of this quote as a reply on a Facebook feed posted only a few hours earlier.
“Do the next right thing.”
In the words of Dr. Leo Marvin, “Baby Steps.”
Yes. What I want to do is big. But I am looking at the end result and not the in between. You don’t jump from here to there without working for it. The mountain has to be climbed. One shaky, unconfident, scary step at a time.
I think you know what the answer is.
You are scared. You are fearful. It seems impossible. Even if it’s just getting out of bed today.
“Do the next right thing” my love.
Let God lead you one baby step at a time.
Slowly the big thing won’t seem so big as you traverse the rocky cliff sides it takes to climb there.
James 4:17 says: “Therefore to him who knows to do good and does not do it, to him it is sin.”
If you have been given a calling, a burning in your gut that seems to get hotter, a dream, a vision, a drevision (dream/vision)… whatever you want to call it, there is a reason for that. God put that inside you. God gave you the right personality, the right strengths AND weaknesses, and the right life experiences to guide you towards it.
Don’t be a Jonah and have to be swallowed by a whale or have your gifts get burnt up in order for you to take the next right step.
In the words of Shia, “JUST DO IT!”
Come on. I’ll climb this mountain with you. If you need help, I’ll pull you up.
Because that’s MY big dream. To be able to extend a hand down to help people up.