Mama, Just Do the Next Thing

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Have you ever had so many things to do and so many tasks to accomplish that you can’t see straight? So many needs to meet and so many hats to wear that you are at a loss for where to start? As a mom, I have a feeling that you can relate to this. 

There’s homework to be done, lunches to be made, meals to be prepped, floors to be mopped, children to be raised, spouses to be loved, jobs to be done, and on and on and on. The list really never ends, does it? 

On most days, this list doesn’t scare me or cause anxiety in my mind. I enjoy these tasks and am thankful to be able to do each and every one of them on a daily basis. But every now and then, everything tends to pile up and block my view. Can you relate? Have you had those days or weeks or months where your list of things to do or be is just so long that you are overwhelmed and perplexed as to how you will ever get it all done? 

I have. I’ve actually found myself there for the last month or so as we’ve welcomed a new baby, moved to a new house, and tried to juggle all of the normal everyday tasks on top of the big, life-changing ones. 

On these days when I am unsure where to even begin, I tell myself: Do the next thing. 

Just do the next thing. Not all the things. Just the very NEXT thing. One thing. It could be as small as taking a shower or unloading the dishwasher. It could be as big as making an important decision that has been taking up brain space for quite some time. Big or small: just do the next thing.

Because the reality is, one thing will lead to the next thing. And then the next. And then the next. And eventually, I will find myself on the other side of that massive mountain that was blocking my view. 

There’s an old poem called “Do the Next Thing” that the famous Elizabeth Elliot often shared about during her life. These two sections are my favorite:

Many a questioning, many a fear, 
Many a doubt, hath its quieting here.
Moment by moment, let down from Heaven, 
Time, opportunity, and 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, do it with 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 results, do the next thing. 

If you are staring at a mountain of tasks in front of you and aren’t sure what to do, just do the next thing. Don’t try to do all the things at once. Don’t try to conquer the world. On the flip side, don’t just sit back and give up out of frustration. Pinpoint the one next thing and do it. Then celebrate that accomplishment.

You’ll be amazed at the shift in your mindset and perspective, as well as the motivation you’ll have to continue doing the next thing.

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