Thank you Witty Sandle for this great book review! I am adding it to my list. I especially appreciate your “final thought” at the end of the review.
To any King’s people reading this review, please take this as an invitation to do what Witty has done for us and let us know what you think about what you are reading.
Respond to Witty in the comment section below if you are so moved.
Peace to you all today.
“The Next Right Thing. A Simple, Soulful Practice for Making Life Decisions.”
By Emily Freeman.
What decisions have you made today?
Did your alarm go off, kicking you out of bed? Did you choose toast or cereal for breakfast or skip it altogether? Decisions, decisions, decisions. Big or small, they require a degree of effort in their execution. Clearly, choosing your morning meal is not the same as choosing your major, and starting or ending a relationship carries more weight than what to have for supper. Nevertheless, all these scenarios beg the question, how do we make decisions?
|“What if the way we make decisions is equally as important as the decisions we make? What if choice is one of the primary avenues of our spiritual formation?” (Freeman. 17).|
Let me introduce you to a wonderful book by Emily Freeman called “The Next Right Thing. A Simple, Soulful Practice for Making Life Decisions.” The title itself tells you that this is not your usual top-five-decision-making-tips list. There is plenty of helpful material of that ilk freely available and if you want some quick strategies, go ahead and google. This book gives us something different. I came across it when I was listening to Emily being interviewed on Suzanne Stabile’s “The Enneagram Journey Podcast.” The two discuss Emily’s decision-making style through the lens of her personality type, (she is a 4 for those who know enneagram) and the wisdom found in the book is a focal point of their conversation.
What’s the central message? Let’s turn to Emily’s voice. “The magic is in the word “next” and not “right.”” This, she says, has proved to be a life-saving insight for her. Like Emily, we have all at some point, been overwhelmed with too much information, too many options and too many external or inner expectations, leading to paralysis. Like Emily, we have experienced that gut-level anxiety that comes with the fear of taking the wrong path, ushering in regrets upon regrets. And like Emily, we have all longed for lightening-in-the-sky signs that bring us clear direction. What Emily does in her book is provide gentle counsel that helps us to slow down, quieten the voices and step back so we can discern how to respond to whatever is before us. This book is part storytelling, captivating us with illustrations from Emily’s real-life examples and part contemplative guide with easy-to-follow practices at the end of every short chapter. You can read it cover to cover, starting with chapter 1, “Do The Next Right Thing,” and ending with chapter 24, “Wait With Hope.” Or you can scan the chapter titles and head right to the one that seems to chime with your situation. Juggling with competing choices? Then chapter 8, “Know What You Want More” could help you out. Wondering how the wisdom of others can bring clarity? Try chapter 15, “Gather Co-Listeners.” You will find some excellent pointers. There is also an accompanying website and podcast hosted by Emily which is worth checking out – a great resource for those of us suffering from decision-making burnout! This is a book to be savored and read meditatively. It’s a book to buy and keep on your shelf because you will want to return to it time and time again. It’s practical, it’s reassuring, and it’s dedicated to “anyone who’s ever made a pro/con list in the middle of the night,” which is all of us.
A final thought. How might a book like this come to our aid in this covid-19 season? I return to the title. As we are bombarded with information and advice, sometimes conflicting, and as we grapple with our fears, past, present and/or future, let’s pause, plant our feet on the ground beneath us and taking a deep breath, do the next right thing.
 Dedication page of Emily’s book.