Wall Street Journal bestselling author Emily P. Freeman’s latest book is The Next Right Thing: A Simple, Soulful Practice for Making Life Decisions. Emily’s also enrolled at Friends University to pursue a Masters in Christian Spiritual Formation and Leadership. First, the author observes that we all handle the pressure of decision-making differently. Since unmade decisions hold power and smoke out our addictions, Emily’s book considers what it means to do the next right thing now. In addition, unmade decisions present both a burden (we close up in fear) or a gift (we open up in love). And, we choose which one we carry. Most noteworthy, though, the decision’s rarely the point. The real point centers on becoming more fully yourself in the presence of God.
Yet, we find it difficult to listen to what’s happening on the soul level. Like a house, the soul receives frequent input with infrequent output. As a result, we must embrace a willingness to face the silence within and create a little space for the soul to breathe. Since we’re all on a journey of living in to God’s truths, we need to establish space to walk a ways into that truth. In the process, we begin to name our narratives. Because allowing things to remain unnamed and unacknowledged holds the life back. Also, we may need to spend a little time letting the darkness do its job – to nourish, strengthen, and hold us. Thus, Emil counsels, don’t rush to joy. Consider today a plot point, not the whole story.
Furthermore, in order to move forward we need to confront the false narratives we have about God. For those false narratives always inform our decisions. Plus, instead of the black-and-white answers we greatly desire, Emily encourages us to try looking for arrows. Looking for arrows helps us take a break from our frantic search for answers. Logic and limits, though, often stifle longing – and longing represents the key to our growth. Hence, when facing hard decisions, the author suggests asking this question at the first sign of hesitation: Am I being led by love or pushed by fear? It’s one thing to live through something hard. But it’s another thing altogether to created a storm in your own head. Rather, receive what Jesus offers in place of disappointment. Walk with Him.
Finally, rather than functioning as a scattered person unable to do anything, Emily urges you to live as a gathered person equipped to do the next right thing. Practice stopping on purpose to allow your soul to catch up with your body. Stay in today. To be where you are you must know where you are. Remain vigilant about the expectations you carry around. When doubts show up, you don’t have to let them sit down. However, clarity requires patience and action as you filter your opportunities through the lens of discernment. Consequently, you begin to choose your absence on purpose so that your presence carries more impact. Take something that’s alive in you and touch the broken spots in others.
Emily closes with these words of prayer: “You (God) never promise clarity. But you always give a hopeful vision. And you always promise presence.”
So, go with Jesus wherever He goes. Don’t be afraid.