Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Do the Next Thing

I often poke fun at a few pat answers I've picked up over my life when dealing with life's difficulties:
  • "It is what it is"
  • "Could be worse"
  • "Just keep plugging away"
Each one has a story behind how it made a way into my thinking. I laugh at them and still I see some truth in each. More or less, I use them loosely and don't give much thought to how deeply planted they have become in my life - when I do stop to think though, I have a tendency to apply these sayings in my life when I am perseverating in cynicism, anger, self-pity, and depression. I speak these words when life is particularly hard and yet I must go on and "keep plugging away."

I had forgotten about another phrase I used to say: "Just Do the Next Thing" In a sense this phrase is similar to "just keep plugging away" but I've always thought "doing the next thing" to be more helpful. I wonder why I stopped speaking this to myself?

Thankfully though I read this post first thing this morning. Then I found this poem:
Doe the Nexte Thynge
(author unknown)

From an old English parsonage down by the sea
There came in the twilight a message to me;
Its quaint Saxon legend, deeply engraven,
Hath, it seems to me, teaching from Heaven.
And on through the doors 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, 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, 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 results, do the next thing

Looking for 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.
When the darkness does not lift, do the next thing.

BTW, be sure to read this fantastic review of Piper's When the Darkness Will Not Lift.

1 comment:

kristi noser said...

I've always heard it as "un-clench and do the next thing".
But whatever, Pat, you just keep plugging...
John says "keep leaning" as in leaning on the Lord--I like that one too.