Do the Next Thing

“Waiting is the rule, not the exception. When the door is closed and the stage is empty…we’re to wait resting. In patience. Patience is the ability to (sit back and) wait for an expected outcome without experiencing tension, anxiety or frustration.”

I have been avoiding work  for the last hour and a half or so (I ate lunch and watched rain, so it wasn’t all idleness) because I’ve been afraid. Afraid that the summary I wrote yesterday will turn out to be much worse than I think it is, that I won’t know how to fix it and have to start over. Also, afraid because I don’t know what I’m going to do besides read through the summary. I think of the book and an avalanche of disconnected thoughts and ideas sweeps over me. I have no idea how to make order of it all, no idea how to take a small bite, no plan, no goal, nothing…So I dither and stall and procrastinate.

And then I think the Holy Spirit brought two things to mind (since I asked for help) 1) that I can take the “sit back” part out of the above quote and just think, “Patience is the ability to wait for an expected outcome without experiencing tension, anxiety or frustration.” It doesn’t mean I sit back and do nothing, necessarily. Elizabeth Elliot noted that “God’s guidance comes most often when men are doing what they normally are supposed to do. David was taking care of the sheep, Samuel serving in the temple when God called them. ‘Do the next thing’ is one of the best pieces of advice I have ever had. It works in any kind of situation and is especially helpful when we don’t know what to do. What if we don’t even know what the next thing is? We can find something. Some duty that lies on our doorstep. The rule is DO IT. The doing of that next thing may open our eyes to the next.”

So right now, what is my next thing? Well, read that dratted summary, I guess. And do it without tension, anxiety or frustration, knowing that God will do it. He will guide me, tell me which way to go and what to do next. I have only to ask…


[Note: I wrote the above last Monday, early afternoon. But then the Lord showed me what I needed to do, and I ended up pulling most of my summary/synopsis together, all but the last two paragraphs. By the time I was done, I was too tired to even think about a blog post. In fact, I’d forgotten I’d even written one. Then  yesterday I came across that Global Warming article and felt that a post on it needed to go up in a timely manner. Then I found this “Do it Next” post… and as I’ve continued to focus on the principles in it, it seemed a good one to put up, even if it was “out of order.”

The synopsis is now done and sent in to Bethany House. I await their response.]

0 thoughts on “Do the Next Thing

  1. sandy field farm

    Congratulations on finishing the synopsis. Been busy here, and catching up on your “blog life”. I thought of you when I was listening to Scott Grande’s message on a personal sense of destiny (few posts back). I thought it was really stirring, and I guess it was resonating with you, too. I’m listening to Pastor McLaughlin’s doctrines from the life of David (available at just now as a personal study, and it echos many of these same themes. Just wanted to know your cheering section is applauding…

    1. karenhancock

      Thanks, Lorraine. I always appreciate hearing from the cheering section! Yes, Scott’s message was great. And Joe’s have been fantastic lately, as well. I just downloaded the Doctrine of Happiness last weekend, and then he taught it on Sunday. Coincidence? Nah. Glad to hear you all are busy… shoveling snow maybe? LOL.


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