“No matter the choice you make today or in the future, Jesus is with you. He has gone before you. And he will remain with you no matter the result.”The Next Right Thing by Emily P. Freeman. Page 102
The Next Right Thing: A Simple, Soulful Practice for Making Life Decisions by Emily P. Freeman
Goodreads tells me I was 21 when I read her first book. The book was called Grace for the Good Girl: Letting Go of the Try-Hard Life. I read it while holding my first baby, absorbing the freeing breath of every kind of air I didn’t know I needed. Grace was a good thing to find just then.
Then came A Million Little Ways: Uncover the Art You Were Made to Live speaking into my soul all the ways I’m free to be creative and serve God in many little ways freely how he made me to be. Perfect to read when holding a second tiny baby as a stay at home with aspirations to lots of things, but also nothing in particular except figuring out how to get two kids to sleep at the same time.
Then came that one conference in Oregon in 2015. The only time I’ve been away from my kids for more than two days and Emily just happened to be a speaker at the only writing conference within reasonable distance from where I lived. Though maybe I wasn’t technically away from all my kids since I was pregnant with my third, but it felt like a magical break and I felt welcomed into a tribe of people like me.
While I was there I heard Emily speak and I got up the nerve to greet her, shake her hand or give or hug – I don’t remember which, and tell her how much her writing meant to me. Later that summer I read Simply Tuesday: Small Moment Living in a Fast Moving World, right before meeting our third little one. Small moment living is kind of a requirement when you have three kids 3 and under.
These days, I consider Emily P. Freeman one of my people. Even though I’ve only met her once, her work has been ushering me along my whole adult life into grace, creativity, and the ordinary Tuesday.
This book is no different. It was an invitation to walk beside into a more soul-aware way of living, in the midst of everyday decisions and not-so-everyday decisions. The Next Right Thing is strewn with grace, peace, soul-care, small-moment attentiveness, helpful advice, true-hearted stories, and sound wisdom, while being completely rooted in faith in the one who made us.
I was so grateful for the way she reassures us over and over again of the steadfastness of God in the midst of our decision making processes and how no matter how it might seem, God “does not pull rugs out from under you” and “he does not drop the other shoe” (p47). Sometimes it is hard to remember or to know exactly what faith feels like in the midst of hard times, but hearing these words is so freeing.
I also really appreciated how Emily gently guides us back to knowing what we can control and what we can’t. Multiple times I found myself underlining sentences like these, because they are so just so helpful to remember:
- “We can’t prevent storms from coming, but we can decide not to invent our own.” p79
- We can start down that road of doubt and questioning if we want to. But just because the doubts show up doesn’t mean you have to let them sit down.” p138
Each chapter is short and ends with a short prayer and a simple practice for decision making. I want to reread this book soon, a little more slowly this time, just to absorb. It is equally practical and faith-growing.
It was lovely, helpful, Jesus-ful, and uplifting.
A few bonus quotes:
- “The decision is rarely the point. The point is you becoming more fully yourself in the presence of God.” p16
- “Pick what you like, then see how it grows.” 204
- “I want to remember that true ministry is not something we do but it is the overflow of an abiding life with God.” p219
- “Maybe it isn’t about waiting for a big break but about taking something that is alive within you and allowing it to touch the broken spots in others.” 229
And can I just say? In a chapter near the end of the book, Emily told her own story about how she came to attend that one conference I attended.
That counts as being in the book, too, right?
That made my day. :)
I also met Ashley, Esther, Alia, Liz, and Chara at that conference. And I am so glad for them, too.
And others, but I was pregnant which is terrible for my memory.
How do you tend to make decisions? I tend to have a first instinct, and then overthink devotedly, and then go with my first instinct. What about you?
If you’re curious, there’s a quiz to help you find your tendency and all the more book details at thenextrighthingbook.com
(Disclaimers: This post contains Amazon Affiliate links. Also: I was part of the launch team and received a complimentary ebook, but I also purchased this book myself. All opinions are always my own.)