Monday, September 17, 2007

Do the next thing

Mary Brooke asked me in a comment:

Can you explain Mrs. Eliot's "Do the next thing" idea? Do you mean *just keep going on to the next thing* here I am, serving you Lord (repetitive tasks).

I hear about the "you can do anything in 15 minutes", but it's hard when I am already up to my neck with the basics. But I guess the basics can be on hold in order to organize something, etc. I *love* organization.

I think, for me, the saying "Do the next thing" narrows down my day for me. What's next? Ok, do that. Focus on that, then move on...what's next? Ok, do that. And so on. Take the next step of obedience, and do not worry about what's to come. If I focus on all I need to do, then I am overwhelmed. Taking on the mentality of doing things one after another keeps my day in better perspective. The "I can do anything in fifteen minutes" is another take on all that.

I did some research on Elisabeth Elliot's saying, for I have never really read or heard her speak on this, just know it by word of mouth. I found out that it actually comes from an old poem. I think you'll enjoy:

"Do The Next Thing"

Well, from an old English parsonage,
down by the sea
There came in the twilight
a message to me;
It's quaint Saxon legend,
deeply engraven,
Hath, as it seems to me,
teaching from Heaven.
And on through the hours
the quiet words ring
Like a low inspiration--

Many a questioning, many a fear,
Many a doubt,
hath its quieting here.
Moment by moment,
let down from Heaven,
Time, opportunity, guidance,
are given.
Fear not tomorrows,
Child of the King,
Trust them with Jesus,

Do it immediately;
do it with prayer;
Do it reliantly, casting all care;
Do it with reverence,
tracing His Hand
Who placed it before thee with
earnest command.
Stayed on Omnipotence,
safe 'neath His wing,
Leave all resultings,

Looking to Jesus, ever serener,
(Working or suffering)
be thy demeanor,
In His dear presence,
the rest of His calm,
The light of His countenance
be thy psalm,
Strong in His faithfulness,
praise and sing,
Then, as He beckons thee,

***Added note: I just found out this morning that my Fly Lady timer actually goes up past fifteen minutes! *blush* For some reason I thought it only went up to fifteen minutes. Oh well. Just wanted to let you all know that in case you were thinking of getting one. That's mommy brain for you!


Beverly said...

My friend has this poem posted on her window above the kitchen sink. I was just noticing it yesterday --never knew that the famous E.Elliot statement came from a poem. I like your thoughts on the quote as well!

Jana said...

Thanks for posting this. I have never really heard much about this phrase either, but I kinda figured out what it meant. The poem is wonderful. I will be thinking about this more. I like it.

By the way, thanks for all your comments and encouragement on my Joy in Motherhood series. It means a LOT to me.

Anonymous said...

I also wanted to add the 15 minute thing (it's what I do or I would be overwhelmed as well) can be applied to the moutain of "basics" that need to be done. Have a mountain of dishes? wash the ones that are needed immediately and ONLY for fifteen minutes. When your 15 is up sit down and read a magazine and have a cup of coffee or tea for fifteen minutes, get up and start on that mountain of laundry for ONLY fifteen minutes, then sit down and do something else you enjoy for fifteen minutes, your day will fly by, you will have 15 mins. of fun to look forward to after 15 mins of work and things WILL get done and the mountains will dwindle. Hope this helps

Mrs. Vale

Stacy said...

What a wonderful poem! Who knew? :)
I've often been encourged by E. Elliot's "do the next thing". For me it is just more manageable to focus on the next task. My mind sometimes wants to stretch to "Let's make a 5-year plan for this!" Or even worrying about the future: "What if this happens as a result of this other thing?", etc. And her "do the next thing" has been such wisdom for me in those things. Don't worry about tomorrow, but do what's right in front of you!

Brenda said...

I never knew that came from a poem!!! That makes it even better.

Mary Brooke said...

This one is new to me and I still need to think on it. Although I keep things simple, I am so busy with our 3 littles...I'm so glad to have these insights! It reminds me of: being "in the moment", and, "wherever you are, BE THERE".

"Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble." Matt 6:34

Mary Brooke

Anonymous said...

My two favorite things.....doing the next thing (well, maybe not) and Elisabeth Elliot (definetly)!!
Great Post!!

Jennifer, Snapshot said...

Love that. Especially these verses:

Do it immediately;
do it with prayer;
Do it reliantly, casting all care;
Do it with reverence,
tracing His Hand