DO WHAT’S NEXT

About six years ago, I began a new job.  We had moved to Georgia from Ohio, and after some time to get settled, I returned to my career as a school-based speech-language pathologist.  I loved my new position, although there were two factors that made it extremely challenging.  The first was that I was not hired until one month after school had started for that academic year; students were halfway through the first grading period before I even walked in the door, so I felt behind before I even began.  The second factor was that the caseload I inherited was HUGE.  Thankfully, the position also provided the invaluable help of a talented speech-language pathology assistant, Lauren.  Without her, I don’t know how I would have made it through even the first week, much less the remainder of the year.  Even with her capable assistance, though, many (most?) days were just plain overwhelming.  I quickly adopted the mantra, “Do what’s next,” to help me avoid being paralyzed by even the thought of so much to do in so little time.  That huge stack of evaluation reports to be written?  Progress cards to complete?  Therapy plans and materials to develop?  Phone calls to make?  Emails to check and to send?  Meetings to prepare for and attend?  When I wanted to crawl under my desk and cry, I would whisper to myself, “Do what’s next.  Do what absolutely has to be done right now.”  Sometimes, that meant taking on a big task, but often it meant something really small–even something that might seem insignificant in light of everything that needed to be accomplished.  Something like opening my mail. Or making a photocopy.  Or printing a document I needed.  Sometimes it was as basic as taking time to eat my lunch or use the restroom (seriously…teachers and other school employees will know what I mean!).  Gradually, by “doing what’s next,” I gained momentum and eventually was able to tick tasks off the to-do list until just my day-to-day responsibilities could be addressed and successfully managed.

“Do what’s next” has become been an ongoing mantra for me.  It’s one of my tools (weapons?) in my battle against being bogged down by the perfectionist in me who doesn’t like to start tasks unless I feel confident I can do them well and completely.  Recently, I have begun to realize that reminding myself to figure out what the next step is, no matter how small, can also help me to grow in my faith.  In particular, I’ve been mulling over this scripture:

Your word is a lamp for my feet, and a light on my path.  Psalm 119:105 (NIV)

It is rare to find ourselves in literal darkness.  There’s usually such a high degree of both direct and ambient light around us that scientists sometimes use the term “light pollution” to describe it.  Perhaps, though, you’ve been camping with your family and needed to use a flash light to help you stay on the path.  Without a flash light, you would have to stumble around in the dark to find your way to your campsite.  You might direct your light far off in the distance, but it’s most useful when you use it to illuminate where you need to step next.  You won’t see everything, but you’ll see what is most important right then, at that very moment.

Right now, I’m in a season of a considerable amount of uncertainty in my life.  At least, I think it’s just a season; maybe it is a long season called “adulthood.”  Anyway, I need some light to show me where to step next.  I don’t have enough information to see all of the big picture, but I have God’s word.  Through it, He tells me that I am significant and that I am loved by the very one who created the whole universe.  He tells me that I can trust Him.  He reminds me that He holds my future, and that He is leading me. He reminds me that His son, Jesus, is the Light of the World, and that through Him, I need no longer walk in darkness.

So, I’m doing what’s next:  I’m holding on to these promises.  I’m resting in the confidence that God’s path is the one I want to take, and the assurance that He is going to provide what I need for the next step, and all of the steps to come.

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WHAT’S IN A NAME?

This blog almost never happened because I couldn’t think of a name for it. Actually, I thought of LOTS of names for it. They all stunk. Seriously. They were bad. So bad, I’m not even going to tell you what they were. In desperation, I asked my husband to help me. His ideas were even worse. Is it bad if I admit that I actually felt a little bit better after that?

In the end, I lifted the phrase sharing the sacred” from a Facebook comment I made back in October in response to an article posted by Dale Skram. Dale is a junior high and high school classmate of mine. She is a Christian speaker, author, and life coach. If you don’t know about her, you should. Check out her website at www.daleskram.com.  Anyway, Dale wrote an article for an online Christian magazine’s newsletter. You can read it here:

myemail.constantcontact.com/Hard-Assets.html?soid=1102624391863&aid=G2Wq8dq-I4o.

Tell me you did not just skip over that link.  March yourself right back there and click on it. Read the article. I’ll wait.

Aren’t you glad you went back and read Dale’s article? I love it. Very thought-provoking. When Dale posted the link to it from her Facebook page and asked for feedback about sharing hard experiences, I posted this comment:

Such truth, Dale. God’s Word is full of the stories of people who grew in the Lord as a result of surrendering to Him during (and sometimes, after) their own hard experiences. If we don’t share our own stories, we dishonor God’s work in our lives. Sharing the sacred can sometimes make us feel uncomfortably vulnerable, but we hide our light under a bushel when we keep our stories to ourselves. I sometimes wonder if others could possibly be interested in my stories of infertility, depression, and the loss of my mother–but I try to not shy away from telling them. God has used those experiences, more than any others, to show me who He is, and the depth of His love for me.

So, that’s where I’m coming from and why this blog is called Sharing the Sacred.

What’s in a name?  Well, now you know.