Sunday, April 28, 2019

'The Next Right Thing' * Session #1

'Reading is an immense gift, 
but only if the words are assimilated, taken into the soul,
 eaten, chewed, gnawed, received in unhurried delight.'
- Eugene Peterson -


Welcome to Session #1 of our Sunday Evening Book Club!  For the next four weeks, we're going to be talking about Emily Freeman's The Next Right Thing: A Simple, Soulful Practice for Making Life Decisions.

We'll discuss two chapters of the book each week.  These are the podcast episodes that I remember most vividly, the conversations that personally touched my heart ... and the life-altering questions that continue to resonate months later.  

It's not too late to grab your Kindle edition for $9.99 or your hardcover copy for $11.39Your library system might have a copy at one of their locations.  Or you can hear the original podcasts and read the transcripts from which the book was born.

I'll simply share several quotes and let them speak for themselves.  And then invite you to speak for yourself in the comment section.  I can't wait to interact back and forth with you over this meaningful book.  

And the good news is that, no, you don't have to read the book to join right on in!

Email readers - I give you an easy-peasy step-by-step participation guide at the bottom of the post.  

Here we go ...

Chapter 7
Ask This Question Before Every Hard Decision

'When my first book came out and speaking opportunities started to roll in, I said yes more than I wanted to because I was afraid of missing out on something.  I also said no a few times because I was afraid I couldn't pull it off.  Fear works both ways, keeping you from doing things you might want to do and convincing you that you have to do things you don't want to do.'

*

'When it comes to hard decisions, I no longer wait two weeks to ask this question.  I ask it at the first sign of hesitation.  Am I being led by love or pushed by fear?  The answer to that question isn't always clear, but I continue to carry it with me into every difficult decision.  

It's one thing to live through something hard ... it's another thing altogether to create a storm in our head and then make our decisions based on a possible scenario that hasn't even happened.  That would be like naming the whole story as doomed before it had even begun.  We can't prevent storms from coming, but we can decide not to invent our own.'  


Chapter 9
Make the Most Important List
{the original podcast and transcript is here}

'When we stand at the finish line of one season and the starting edge of the next, what we normally do is race into the next season without considering the one we just moved through.  That's understandable, but it could also be costing us something, and we may not realize it until we approach that same season a year from now.

Take a few minutes to create a Life Energy List for the season you just experienced by intentionally looking back and asking yourself two questions:  What was life-draining?  What was life-giving?'

*

'What is life-giving?  Your current life will give you hints; it always does.  Your body gives hints.  Your mood gives you hints.  Your family gives you hints.  I never have to think twice or wonder.  I always know as soon as I name them.  You will too.

This is a practice in collecting the clues from your life and getting them down on paper so that when opportunities, commitments, and requests come your way in the future, you will be able to consider them with information from your actual life rather than frantic speculation and last-minute pro / con lists.'

*

Ok, friends.  Let the party begin ...

➔  EMAIL READERS, PLEASE JOIN IN!  
-  Click on the post title at the top of the email  
-  Scroll down to the comment section
-  Leave your thoughts in the box where it says enter your comment...
-  Fill out your name where it says comment as:
-  If you have a website, put it in where it says URL.  If you don't have a website, leave the URL blank.
-  Hit the blue publish button.  Your comment will appear after I make sure it's not spam.

Linda

P.S.
Next week?  
Chapter 12
Be Where You Are 

&

Chapter 14 
Stop Collecting Gurus


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34 comments:

  1. In an odd and recent revelation
    I learned that opinion of self
    needs neither liking nor elevation
    like some trophy on a shelf.
    How you feel is not germane;
    nor is some inner beauty.
    What matters is will you remain
    in Hell, and do your duty.
    You've got to meet life head-on
    in sickness, health, and ashes,
    because all you are depends upon
    a Cross and bloody lashes.
    The right road's never smooth and wide,
    for there He can't be at your side.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, we meet Jesus at the cross, at the empty tomb, in the deepest places of our hungry souls. Because of His kindness and His sacrifice and our repentance of sin, heaven is our destination.

      Praise God.

      Delete
  2. "Am I being led by love or pushed by fear?"
    This really resonated with me, Linda, and when I'm facing my next big/hard decision, I will certainly ask this of myself before making a move.
    Blessings, my friend!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It's a true gamechanger, isn't it Martha!

      Fear's a lousy motivator and a poor platform for decision making. I'm so grateful Emily's found the words to point out this truth ...

      Delete
  3. Am I being led by love or pushed by fear? Oh, I do like that question! Another recent one that came to my attention was asking what activities made you 'soul tired.' We can so get on the wheel to the next thing without taking time to consider what the costs and pay outs were of our last season. Sound quotes you've shared here, on ways to do life with the best yes in mind!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. 'The costs and pay outs.' Lynn, I love the way you put that. Let's hear it for taking the time to sit with God to reflect and examine what we've learned ... and see if we can discern what He's inviting us to.

      Before ricocheting to the next thing.

      Yes, please.

      Delete
  4. Some of the best advice I ever got was not to make decisions out of fear.
    And I agree with Emily about the continual assessment of things that make us "soul tired," and trying to stick with the life giving responsibilities, but I am also a member of a local church with a limited volunteer base, so find myself doing all kinds of things that drain me, and for which I am not especially gifted.
    I know . . .
    I'm hanging in there in hopes that I will be able to train someone to come along and take on the job. And there's the positive side of this: I'm totally dependent upon God's awesomeness and not my own. Perhaps this is what life in the body of Christ is supposed to do for us?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You bring up a great point in how this plays out in the church, Michele. I've been where you find yourself now ... and yes, I see where God can use these occasions to grow our dependence on Him instead of leaning on our own understanding, giftedness, abilities, or track record.

      I've found a good gauge to be 2 Corinthians 9:7 -'Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.'

      If I'm exhausted and resentful and whining all the way, I'm not honoring Him. And it's highly doubtful I'm blessing others in the process. I look back and see where I so easily went wrong.

      And sadly, sometimes a church has to experience what it's like not to have a specific ministry before they realize how important and non-negotiable it is. And people begin to feel a sense of call and purpose in stepping up to the plate and saying, 'yes, please, I really do want to serve in this way.'

      No easy answers here. But I sure am glad you put this on the table.

      Delete
    2. I'm going to chew on the verse, Linda. Good counsel.
      And I had the experience once long ago of serving in a larger church where "officers" were listed in the bulletin. One position was vacated, and rather than just rushing to fill it myself or to just "plug a hole," I left it empty for over a year until the right person was ready. In the meantime, the CE committee did our best to cover the bases.

      Delete
    3. I'm guessing that there are usually more qualified people sitting in our pews than we realize. Sometimes they're just waiting to be asked, sometimes they aren't ready for whatever reason. And sometimes they just figure that someone 'better' than them will fill that spot so they think, 'why bother.'

      I've been on both sides of this conundrum.

      Delete
  5. Ah, my friend, I didn't join this one, but your quotes makes me wish I had. It's a busy time with 3 weekends away in the next month ---- college and high school graduations of grandchildren. Even without reading the book I can say I think I did some of that when I retired almost 5 years ago. I discovered I was more worn than I thought and I did a long hard look at what that was about and clearing the mirror to see who I was again. What I discovered was an adventure and in the meantime He opened the next path which was to go back to my love of writing and start my website and then write a book. At 75, I still wonder what surprises He has in store for me.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I hear you about May, dear Pam! I do believe that May has become the new June.

      Enjoy your time away with your dear family. Drop in when you can and share your insights.

      Meanwhile, thank you, for being so real to say, 'At 75, I still wonder what surprises He has in store for me.'

      Honestly, I needed to hear that tonight. Even at 63+.

      ;-}

      Delete
  6. I can relate to the "pushed by fear" as my biggest skill unfortunately seems to be to create problems in my mind that haven't even happened and probably won't happen. Instead of making a decision with God-filled possible endings my mind tends to go towards all the negative things a decision could bring. Sometimes I even end up in tears over the "disastrous" event that is only imagined! When I make a decision without all the drama, I can eagerly enter a journey with God leading the way and enjoy the lessons I learn - both positive ones and negative ones.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh yeah, I hear what you're saying, Mah. We do both fight against that default mode which takes us directly to the worst case scenario mindset, don't we.

      * sigh *

      Let's work at encouraging each other toward those 'God-filled possible endings,' as you so aptly coined them. Love that.

      By His grace.

      It's just too easy to head off in the opposite direction.

      Delete
  7. I've been intrigued by Emily's book but have held off on buying it until I heard the reviews from others, Linda. Thanks for sharing some of your favorite quotes. I'm still on the fence though about buying it, but will be back here for future installments! Hugs to you, my friend!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh, I'm so glad you're here, dear friend ... book or no book!

      Always.

      ;-}

      Delete
  8. I have heard, every new beginning comes from some other beginnings end

    ReplyDelete
  9. The question about being led by love or being pushed by fear is one that stood out for me too. I am very good at creating storms in my head where none exist, or imagining all the possible outcomes, so I think it is important to be aware of that and not to let fear be in control.
    I just read chapter 9 this morning so I'm definitely planning to have a go at making the list!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I can't wait to hear how that list works out for you, Lesley! I love this idea especially at birthdays, end of the school year, December's end, at the conclusion of some kind of meaningful season.

      ;-}

      Delete
  10. I am wired to be a storm builder in my head. That is where input from others is so valuable to me. One drawback of being single is to operate in your own viewpoint too often.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You're so right, Carol. Input from others is priceless. Like your input in my life. For sure.

      Emily's going to be talking about this in the chapters we'll be talking about here. Such important chapters. Stay tuned!

      Delete
  11. I have not read this book, but I did find the quotes quite interesting, and thought provoking! Decisions in life can be so difficult and challenging, and I'm thankful that I can always trust the Lord to guide me in those decisions. However, I do appreciate the idea that we can evaluate how feelings in a situation by finding out whether love or fear are the driving forces behind the question, and to make the decision accordingly. Always enjoy your round-table discussions Linda! I hope you are having a fabulous week :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I love that you're here, even without the book in hand, Marilyn! Praise God He guides us steadily forward in paths that please Him and ones that grow our faith and help us be very present for others.

      And the whole love and fear thing ... it sometimes makes me wonder what I've missed along the way because I was scared to venture in a certain direction.

      I'm a slow learner.

      Delete
  12. This is definitely true for me. "Fear works both ways, keeping you from doing things you might want to do and convincing you that you have to do things you don't want to do." I hope I'm getting a little bit better at erasing fear from my life, but I've still got a ways to go. Thanks for sharing these chapters, Linda.

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    1. I'm on the same path with you, Lisa. We're further down the road than we were a few years back, yes?

      Following Him toward freedom and wholeness, one day at a time.

      Delete
  13. Fear is sometimes good. It stops us from doing dangerous things that would harm us. Fear should be accompanied with prayers and faith. Real faith.

    God bless.

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    1. Great point, Victor. Fear can be a healthy SOS ... and there's also that awesome, reverential fear of God that does us well to embrace.

      I appreciate your wisdom ...

      Delete
  14. Oh, how these words sit deep and make me wonder. Fear has had so much say in my life. Maybe the next right thing is recognizing that for what it is instead of beating myself up for what I've allowed.

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    1. Oh dear Rebecca, please do give yourself God's grace as you recognize what fear looks like and move toward something healthier and more peace-filled.

      I'm praying for you even as we speak ...

      Delete
  15. What a great question to ask yourself "Am I being lead by love or pushed by fear?" Fear does cause us to make bad decisions. Love never does.

    The life-giving and life-draining questions are also excellent. This book sounds like a must-read.

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    1. Emily is profound in her simplicity and her wisdom. Her Tuesday podcasts are the only podcasts I listen to regularly ...

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