Just Do the Next Thing


Something our main Bible study leader has repeatedly told us, and that originally came from the teachings of Elisabeth Elliot, is that no matter what happens, just do the next thing.

It’s such a beautiful lesson really.  It’s so easy to get distracted with worry over how we’ll get all our tasks done in the day, or what needs to happen this week, or caught up in feeling overwhelmed when our families are going through a particularly busy time.

I’ve even heard this advice applied to when we’re caught up in our own or our family’s crisis, when we wonder how we’re going to survive this heartache and feel as though we can’t go on.

Just do the next thing.

Don’t let yourself give in to worry, it doesn’t help anyway.

Just do the next thing.

When you’re exhausted and there’s still so much to do, and you feel like giving up because it seems impossible that you could manage to get everything done,

Just do the next thing.

Don’t worry about all the things you’ll have to do after you finish one task, just focus on the one thing you’ve decided is next and get it done.

If you’re overwhelmed with housework because you’ve had a busy couple of days, running errands that needed your attention, taking your children to their extra-curricular activities, and you step in your house and suddenly see the tornado-like disaster, stay calm and,

Just do the next thing.

It’s true that a lot of housework can just be managed by being proactive, but there are also times when we’ve just been busy.  Don’t be overly critical on yourself, if you need a quick nap to feel recharged for the day, by golly take a nap!  I have a scheduled nap time for our household everyday that is a wonderful time for me to either catch up reading online or curl up and nap along with the baby.  Our older son doesn’t usually like to nap anymore, but we still make him have this quiet time so that he can relax and learn how to have time to himself to re-charge.

It’s normal for wives and mothers to feel overwhelmed with all the things that depend on them to get accomplished, but the wise woman chooses not to stress out, and instead she will just do the next thing.


A great blog post from Lisa at Club31women.com that goes with this topic is 5 Steps to Follow When You’re Overwhelmed with Housework !

8 thoughts on “Just Do the Next Thing

  1. That sounds like a recipe for a breakdown. Other possibilities are discussing with your partner how life can rearranged and household pressures divided more evenly, or getting a job so that housework is put in its proper context.

    When I’m feeling overwhelmed I get an instant pick-me-up knowing that I’ll be at work the next day and my partner will dealing with the kids and the house. Instead of mindlessly ‘doing the next thing’ I can genuinely look forward to the next day on a work-home-play cycle.

  2. Hey Violet, welcome!

    This advice has actually prevented people I know personally from crumbling under the weight and despair of divorce that they didn’t want, when they were a single mother and felt just incredibly overwhelmed with everything depending on them now, and it helped them IMMENSELY to “just do the next thing.” Sometimes that’s all we need to focus on in life in order to get by. So I don’t think it’s a recipe for a breakdown, but actually a recipe and encouragement when you are going through a breakdown and crisis.

    Also on the topic of housework, I think you may come from a different perspective here, not being Christian, but for us, housework is just another way to show those that we love how much we care about them. We’re keepers of the home, and take pride in taking care of our homes well. I know that might make no sense to someone who doesn’t value homemaking and child-rearing as a profession, but for me, this is my job right now. I don’t work outside of the home, so I take my work here INside my home seriously and try to do my best just as I would if I were working at an office. Even in your office place, it’s good to have a good work ethic and focus on doing the next thing that needs to get done as part of your daily (or weekly) tasks.

    Hope that helps you understand it a little more.

  3. Hi there Dragonfly, I hope you’re well.

    As a guy, I can attest to this wonderful advice fitting perfectly. I won’t spin the entire story here, but 2015 was a year where the ONLY advice I could follow was “do the next right thing.” My life felt as though it had no order, no timing, and certainly no reason for every terrible thing that occurred or the wonderful things scattered around.

    I tried to become a person who gained strength from chaos (the word for that is “antifragile”) and this advice is perfect even with my slight change in wording: do the next right thing.

  4. Thanks for your reply. I see what you mean about ‘do the next thing’ if there truly aren’t other options (single parents etc). However, if there are other options that can make a person’s life more rounded, less stressful and more enjoyable, I think it makes more sense to pursue alternatives.

    I’ll probably link to this for a post, the idea of a home keeper is a good discussion piece. Hope you can comment.

  5. There are definitely options in my opinion… as far as homemaking goes, I don’t think a wife should ever work constantly and without relaxing or taking breaks. I think it should be viewed as a shift… with the husband helping when he gets home some. My husband helps some in the morning because he’s at work during the evening hours, so my work feels more like a split shift and ends at 8pm every night (that’s what I shoot for).

    You might be interested in this repost I did of a letter between two demons figuring out how to torment a mom https://girlwithadragonflytattoo.com/2016/01/13/a-screwtape-letter-for-the-unappreciated-mom/

  6. Oh wow, TSJ, I hope you have a better 2016 year than last then.

    “My life felt as though it had no order, no timing, and certainly no reason for every terrible thing that occurred or the wonderful things scattered around”

    Yes that would definitely seem to call for this attitude of “Just do the next thing.” And yes the wording can certainly be changed 🙂 to doing the right thing – or the next thing that *needs* to be done in order to go on.

  7. Pingback: the unhealthy pressure to be a housewife | violetwisp

  8. Pingback: Her Husband Can Safely Trust In Her | girlwithadragonflytattoo

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