The Next Thing

Years ago, I heard Elisabeth Elliot talk about a good way to get through overwhelming times–as well as everyday life. Her prescription was simple: Just “do the next thing.” 

It’s been how I’ve been living my life for the last several weeks:

Stormy Lake. Check.
Lizi’s Housewarming Party. Check.
Work. Check. Check. Check.

It didn’t feel right. I felt like I was in a big race, but not sure where I was/am headed. I kept thinking of that long list of things I wanted to be doing and felt frustrated.

But maybe Elliot was right. Maybe all I need to do is focus on that next thing on my calendar or “to do” list, and be satisfied with that. Maybe getting through this busy season is all I have to do, all I ought to be doing.

There are several “next things” in my life that are coming up:

1) I’m looking forward to a week in Michigan, September 20-27. Our church is doing a domestic mission trip in Detroit. When I first heard the location, I thought I should sign up since I grew up just outside the city. I am going to go early and stay with my dad during the week and travel to the work site every morning. I’m looking forward to both parts of the trip–a longer period of time with my Dad and working with this team of hard working, compassionate folks from my church.

2) Before the trip, I have a day of appointments at Rush: a follow-up mammogram and a visit to the ENT surgeon. Early in October I spend another day or two re-visiting my other two surgeons for follow up and a pre-operative check. I think there are a few more appointments that I need to complete in order to stay on top of all the post-cancer treatment. It’s been nice to have the summer off from medical appointments.

3) I am tentatively planning to do the last part of my reconstruction on October 21, not yet sure what that will involve, especially in terms of recovery. I have the following ten days off and then will likely work triage for several weeks.

4) And then, the holidays will be pressing upon me.

Just. Do. The. Next. Thing.

P.S. I picked a Life verse (or at least one for this season of life) and it seems particularly appropriate in light of what lies ahead. Also note the word “hope” (KJV) rather than the usual “wait” in this familiar verse:

He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak.

Even youths grow tired and wear and young men stumble and fall,

but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength.

They will soar on wings like eagles;

they will run and not be weary;

they will walk and not faint.

Isaiah 40:30-31.

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