Saturday, September 8, 2007

Just Do the Next Thing!

One of the reasons I love that poem is that I sometimes feel I never get out of "survival mode." There are so many days that we don't seem to "move the plot along" in our story. We struggle to feed, clothe, and clean up. Projects get postponed - again. Lesson plans don't get made - we just wing it. Our pastor is preaching through the book of Ecclesiastes and I've been thinking recently how tempting it is to feel like day follows day and all is vanity under the sun.

But as Christians, we don't live life under the sun - we live it "under the Son" (borrowed from the title of a Jay Adams book.) That's why I find myself saying, "do the next thing." Do it immediately, do it with prayer; looking to Jesus, ever serener. Instead of wallowing in my frustration, I just "do the next thing" with prayer and more often than not my attitude experiences a change for the better.

This week has been a good example of that. We had an all day doctor's appointment and our laundry piled up as we waited for a repairman to come fix our lovely new washer when it wouldn't drain. Most of the week I felt scattered and frustrated and it trickled down to the family. But by Thursday I was able to turn my attitude around and look at the good things from this week. Here are some highlights:
  • While Mom was distracted, my children's creativity came out. They made little pom-pom creatures, complete with pipe-cleaner limbs. They then proceeded to make "habitats" for their creatures using all of my extra rubbermaid tubs, lots of construction paper, and a few landscape elements from their army men. It was adorable - one had a desert habitat with appropriate vegetation; one had a beach, ocean, and little island, complete with its own pom-pom Robinson Crusoe. And yes, the almost 13 yo. boy participated in this. I'm thinking I can mark this down for art, science, and maybe even literature???
  • I sat down to watch some of R.C. Sproul's Dust to Glory series with son S. (12 going on 13.) He is studying Old Testament history this year and it thrilled my soul to see him grasp not just the stories of Genesis, but some of the theology of it as well. What an age this is: playing pom-poms one day and being so grown up the next! I feel honored to be his Mom.
  • We all got a good laugh out of the washing machine incident. Not only was it precious to watch my 3yo boy stand in awe of the "pear man" as he did his work; but it was hilarious to find out that the culprit was a tiny wooden toothpick that 10 yo. C. had put in his pocket on our last trip to Jason's Deli. I can't tell you how many toothpicks I found in the laundry this week! I guess this was the one that got away. Not sure what he was planning to do with them...
  • I painted the kids' bathroom. It was not a project on our Master To Do List, but it was just plain ugly and I got tired of looking at it. With 3 boys sharing one bathroom, I hated for any females to venture into the "cave!" So I popped into Lowe's on a whim, bought a pretty blue called "Ships Ahoy" and painted the whole thing in an afternoon (while the big 3 were at Master's Academy and the little ones napped.) I added some tropical fish accents from Target and now it's cute. I might actually venture in there myself instead of "holding it" until my bathroom is vacant!
  • Our sweet baby K. (15 months) is trying her best to talk. It is so sweet to hear her toddle through the house calling, "Ba Ba? Ba Ba?" looking for Daddy. Or to hear her say "Hi" when you pop in the room. She's also nodding and shaking her head to answer "yes" or "no" and signing "please." And she can play pat-a-cake without Mommy's help. She's really getting a cute personality and joining in family life!

Thanks be to the Lord for His mercies that really are new every morning. He is so faithful, even when we are not, to bless our most mundane experiences if we fix our eyes on Him!


50 toes said...

Thanks for keeping things in perspective. I feel so overwhelmed at times. I need to be reminded of what really matters and a good laugh never hurts either.


Mark said...

I can certainly relate to this post. I am constantly having to preach to myself to "do the next thing." Great thoughtful post.

Now, for a shameless plug, you might enjoy a book called A Table in the Mist. It is a compilation of our pastor's sermons on Ecclesiastes that Mark fleshed out and edited.

using Mark's google

Jennifer@DoingTheNextThing said...

Jen - I'll have to check out that book! thanks for commenting!

Mike said...


I am beginning to believe that the "grand plans" around which I construct my To Do list are just my flesh seeking the affirmation of accomplishment. The things that I find before me, moment by moment, are God's - no matter how mundane they seem to be.

Love and blessings,

my4loveys said...

Ahhh, refreshing. I needed that little pick me up since I feel like I am mired down in quick sand these days!

Wendy said...

What great thoughts! Sometimes things can build up and feel overwhelming. I really like what you said about Ecclesiastes, so true. Thanks for sharing this.

Mary@notbefore7 said...

Thanks - this is a great reminder as I am in the midst of returning from vacation and seeing the "piles" and facing the "humdrum". Thanks girl!