I recently spent some time with an individual who feels stuck in their life. This particular person battles depression and anxiety, and often gets so low he cannot even function in the daily routines of life. He takes medications and sees a therapist, but nothing seems to be helping.
As we talked, I found myself thinking back to the days when our son, Trey, was in the hospital. As I have stated before, he was in the hospital for over 280 days throughout 2012-2013. It was overwhelming that he was in the hospital so long, but to make matters more challenging, he was also in a hospital in Dallas. This hospital was over three hours away from our home in Newcastle. My wife and I spent countless hours taking turns, driving back and forth for nearly a year. Of course the hardest part was watching our son struggle. We would have driven to the moon to be with him and make him better if it would have helped. All of it put together was an incredibly difficult season of life.
During that time, my wife and I had a motto that helped us keep perspective. The motto was, “One day at a time.” During all those months of difficulty, we tried not to think too far ahead. We would often say, “One day at a time.” The Bible tells us in Matthew 6 not to worry about tomorrow, for each day had enough trouble of its own. A great discipline in life is simply to focus on the day that is right before you.
After our son passed away, we tried to carry on with that same motto, but it was even harder. There were, and still are days, when the grief is so overwhelming it is hard to function. To help us, we tweaked our motto just a little bit, and it has helped us be able to keep moving at times when we feel stuck. Our new motto is, “Just do the next right thing.” On those mornings we do not want to get out of bed, we do not focus on what we need to do at 3pm that day, but what we need to do in that moment. The next right thing is to get out of bed, and then get ready, and then get in the car, and then go to wherever it is we need to go. I know it sounds simple, but it has been very helpful to us.
Sometimes in life, we need to be reminded of what is obvious, and the most obvious and helpful thing to do when you feel stuck and overwhelmed is simply to do the next right thing. Do not think of all the other things you have to do, just think of the next thing you need to do. As we begin to do the little things, and just keep going, we soon find that we have accomplished more in that day than we ever imagined.
Today, you might be in a place of serious struggle. Your heart and mind might be overwhelmed to the point of extreme stress. Perhaps you are battling feelings of depression and anxiety. I tell you what I told the gentleman I recently spoke with, “Just do the next right thing.” If you do not know what that thing is, stop, take a moment and pray, and whatever God brings to your mind, do that very thing. It is simple, but profoundly helpful, when we simply do the next right thing.
On this special Thanksgiving week, just do the next right thing. Try it out, and watch how it helps you and blesses others. Happy Thanksgiving!