The next right thing

I’m a bit infatuated with the idea of a capsule wardrobe. As it is, I tend to wear the same things over and over again. It’s partly because there are only a few items that I really love to wear – I love how they fit and I love how I feel in them – and partly because when I do laundry, I just set aside the freshly washed clothes for the next day.

I like to keep things simple.

So the idea of having less items in my closet and loving ALL of them is appealing to me. I am very slowly working toward this. I look forward to the day when I can get dressed without even thinking about it and know that the image I’m presenting to the world is the one I want to present, because the only clothes I have are ones that I carefully chose.

And yes, I’ve actually spent a lot of time thinking about this because, to a degree, I think the way I choose to present myself says something about me.

Just imagine if I put this same amount of thought and time into everything. I could be a headline on the national news. The reality is that while it may be awesome, the very idea of that degree of mindful living is overwhelming to me. There are too many choices to make in a day and I just don’t have the mental capacity to deal with it all. Just planning my meals for the week is about all I can handle.

When it comes to the truly important things in life, the struggle is even more real. How am I supposed to know what job to take? Which house to buy? What name to give my child? What to say to my unbelieving friends? What to say to my believing friends? How to disciple my children? How to show love to the people around me?

Sometimes, I don’t say or do anything because I’m afraid that it won’t be the right thing. Thinking about the big picture, about all the things I should do or say throughout the day, is too much. I’m just me. Normal, not extraordinary.

I recently finished a study of 1 and 2 Kings through the First5 app. Out of the whole study, which I truly enjoyed, the few days we got to focus on King Josiah were my favorite. In studying about his life and kingship, I learned that If anyone had the right to be overwhelmed it was him.

He became king of Judah when he was eight years old. His father and grandfather before him were evil men. They did not fear God and they lead God’s people astray. Yet Josiah, this little boy, sought after God. As The Book of the Law was read to him, his heart was stirred. He rid Judah of idols, removed all shrines and altars that were used in the rituals of false gods, and re-established worship of the one true God. Throughout his entire life, he never wavered in his devotion to God.

He was amazing.

Yet he was just a youth when this responsibility fell on him. He didn’t have a father’s example to follow or the benefit of a system he could trust. I can just imagine him sinking into a chair, head bowed as The Book of the Law was read to him, and thinking, “Where do I even start?”

We don’t know what conversations he had or the plans he may or may not have laid out, but we do know this. When called to the task, King Josiah responded by doing the right thing. And then the next right thing. And then the next.

This idea of only focusing on the next right thing challenged my heart and freed my mind. It challenged my heart because I’m so often focused on something further into the future that I look right past what’s in front of me right now. It freed my mind because if all I have to do is the next right thing then I don’t have to focus on everything.

So what is the next right thing? I could sit for hours, over-spiritualizing and over-complicating that question, but in recent weeks I have learned a simple answer. It is one that I am personally exploring and hope to share with you in depth someday. It is this:

Love God and love others.

It may not always be easy, but it is simple.

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