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Review: The Next Right Thing by Emily Freeman

The Next Right Thing by Emily Freeman

As a person with low energy, limited time, and a wish to do more than I physically can, I am constantly evaluating and prioritizing tasks and opportunities, trying to determine what is the next thing I should be doing. It is a daily, even hourly set of decisions: do I work on homeschooling records or freeze tomatoes, do I walk the dogs or take a rest, do I hang out with the kids or call my parents, and what should I do after homeschooling?

I am sure that you face your own set of decisions.

In fact, life is about making decisions, big ones and little ones. And sometimes they can all seem overwhelming. How should a Christian deal with this?

In The Next Right Thing, bestselling author Emily Freeman gives us her gentle, loving point of view, pointing out that no matter where we are in any decision, we are called just to do the next right thing, in love.

Emily wrote her book for those making big decisions and facing new situations yet her approach helps with the daily ones as well.

Calmly and gently Emily encourages the reader to spend time with God, name the things that are driving us, be humble, face our fears, see how God is working in our lives, ponder whether or not we should quit something, slow down, pay attention, let go of our need for clarity about the future, determine what we need to learn right now, learn carefully from others, be willing to accept the not-quite-perfect, put others first, and not be afraid, because God loves us and is with us.

Her central point seems to be this: the closer we live to Jesus, and the more time we spend with him just to be with him, the more he can, and does, and will speak in our hearts and inform our desires.

This is a tricky thing to say and a million red flags pop up because it can be such a misleading statement if taken out of context. After all, Christians are still sinners and our desires can still be sinful. But, if taken the right way it is, of course, perfectly true. I had a similar response to much of the book—it can easily be misunderstood, but if one comes at it from the point of a believer who loves the Lord and wishes to live for him, it is all perfectly true.

Thus The Next Right Thing is a book with a specific audience: Those who understand their sins and misery, who rejoice in the fact that Jesus saved them, and who are trying to figure out on an individual, personal, day to day basis, how they can show their thankfulness to God. Emily writes to those who have the Holy Spirit working in them, who love the Lord, and who delight in spending time with him.

And, because she writes to forgiven sinners, she emphasizes God’s love and care and our child-like freedom to serve in thankful response, although she doesn’t use those words. She points out ways in which we ourselves, the culture around us, and the devil can interfere with our service to God by filling us with worldly guilt, false shame, and fearful indecisiveness.

Each chapter ends with a prayer and a practical application of material in that chapter. To make the book practical, you really need to grab some paper and a pen and thoughtfully respond to the questions and do the applications. Not everyone will want to do this, but those who do will be rewarded.  On the other hand, you can use the book as a sort of devotional by reading and praying through it.

So, if you are a Christian, have a decision to make, and don’t know where to begin, you might want to pick up The Next Right Thing.

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Disclosure: This book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc. and is available at your favorite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group.

This may be linked to Saturday Reviews, Booknificent Thursdays, 52 Books in 52 Weeks Challenge, Literacy Musings Monday, and The Book Nook  as well as to Inspire Me Monday, Raising Homemakers, Friendship Friday.

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