‘Just do the next right thing
Take a step, step again
It is all that I can do,
to do the next right thing’Anna, Frozen
This pandemic has had a way of making us take things day by day, hour by hour, even moment by moment. With the restrictions changing all the time, it’s become so difficult to plan – or even think about – things too far ahead.
I don’t know how you’ve found it, but that aspect has been pretty tough for me personally; I like having things to look forward to! Having kids forced me to become more spontaneous and flexible in general, but the last few months have felt like a step too far. The prospect of being cooped up at home for the next few months quite frankly fill me with dread.
But there’s one particular piece of advice that is really resonating with me at the moment, and is keeping me going, for now at least.
Do the next right thing.
Whether we are talking about facing a big challenge like navigating another day of grief, or contemplating a small gesture like mowing our neighbour’s lawn, every moment presents us with a new opportunity to make a good, healthy, just, loving, kind, impactful – right choice.
Just DO the next right thing
Yes, no matter what’s outside our control, we always have the power to do something positive. In Theodore Roosevelt’s words, ‘the best thing you can do is the right thing… but the worst thing you can do is nothing.’ And the worst thing for all of us right now is to allow ourselves to become paralysed by uncertainty.
You don’t have to handle the rest of this year, or sort out the rest of your future, all at once. You’re not required to have the day figured out, the week planned out, or every problem solved and settled. But no matter how long the days or how dark the nights, as long as you and I can see the next small thing in front of us to do, and act on it, then dawn will come eventually. One step at a time.
There will be many things we can’t do over these next few months. But when there’s restrictions on what we can’t do, we can start by doing what we still can.
Here’s some things we’ve been getting up to:
Reading more with the kids 📚
Starting and writing a blog 😁
Doing DIY jobs that we’d been putting off 🔨
Baking for our neighbours 🍰
Writing and recording songs 🎶
Writing to elderly relatives and friends 🖊
Doing online marriage and pastoral care courses 🏫
Having garden breakfasts and take-away afternoon teas ☕️
There may be lots we can’t do, but there’s still loads we can do. In the words of Nike, ‘just do it!’
Just do the NEXT right thing
How many hours do we waste worrying about what is ahead? Don’t get ahead of yourself. You have today! You can’t change the past, and you can’t control the future. But life is available in the present moment.
I had this term all neatly planned out. The kids would be at school every morning, I would work while they were at school, and I would be free to do other things in the evenings. Let me tell you, I hadn’t planned for COVID. But then again, no one did. Between sickness, isolating, and half time schedules, there has not been one week where my utopian vision has been realised.
I have felt a bit frustrated about this, if I’m honest, but I know there are others facing much bigger challenges, and I need to make the positive choice to be present, enjoy the extra cuddles and quality time with the kids during the day, work as and when I can, and make the decision to be flexible.
‘The foreseeable future’ isn’t very far right now. Let’s stick to the now, and the next right thing that’s in front of us to do.
Just do the next RIGHT thing
Someone once said that if you do the next right thing, the next right thing will happen. It doesn’t mean that the consequences of doing what’s right will be easy, but it does mean that we can be confident we are living a life that’s true to the values we hold. The way we make decisions is just as important as the decisions we make. I want to live a life led by values rather than circumstances. But sometimes doing the right thing can feel pretty hard.
A value of humility prompts us to say “I’m sorry” to someone we’ve hurt. 💔 It might not feel good at the time, but it’s for our good.
A value of good stewardship motivates us to be generous to someone in need. 💵 It might mean sacrificing something we wanted to buy ourselves, which might not feel good at the time, but it’s for others’ good.
A value of selflessness allows you to let your partner take a nap while you watch the kids. 💤 If you’re tired too, it might not feel good at the time, but it’s for the good of your relationship.
How we respond to the ever changing regulations needs to be guided by values, not wants. Our behaviour needs to be motivated by the good, not what feels good to us. How can we best protect? How can we best love? How can we best serve?
By doing the next thing that is right.
So the next time all this uncertainty threatens to overwhelm you,
… Start by doing something, when you feel you can do nothing
… Do what’s in front of you, rather than worrying about what’s ahead of you
… Do the right thing, and the next right thing will happen.