Recently my friend Tracy directed me to this awesome podcast, “The Next Right Thing.” I’ve listened to a few of them and I simply can’t get enough. Emily P. Freeman – the host – describes the podcast as a place “for the second-guessers, the
chronically hesitant, or anyone who suffers from decision fatigue. If you’re in a season of transition, waiting, of general fogginess or if you’ve ever searched ‘how to make a decision’ on the internet, well, you’re in the right place.”
Can I see a show of hands for everyone who NEEDS this podcast? Ah, yep. I thought so. You can all put your hands down now.
The other day, I listened to episode 8: Expect To Be Surprised. In this one, Emily talks about a singer that kept working at her craft even when it didn’t bring fame and “success.” She also discusses how we often put pressures on ourselves every day about what awaits us in the future.
So much so, in my opinion, that we often forget to live in the now. We miss out opportunities to love each other, lend a helping hand, or even simply sit and listen because we’re so focused on tomorrow, tomorrow, tomorrow.
“How can I be successful?” “How can I make progress?” “Where is this leading?”
There is a constant overwhelming of our senses that tricks us into thinking there is always something MORE out there to achieve and obtain. There is always the hint on the horizon that if we just do X, we’ll achieve Z.
But it never seems to come, does it? Does Z – the end zone we’re so fervently striving for – ever come? How do we know when we’ve arrived?
Here’s something else Emily points out in this episode: ALL the work we do is important.
So what if it’s about the middle, not the end? What if what you’re doing RIGHT NOW, is what it’s about? What if your actions, your work, matters in the NOW.
My little group of friends (we get together every once in awhile to encourage, share philosophies, and sometimes we write) talked about this the other day while discussing how to reach our audiences – how to BUILD our following. One friend just sent her manuscript to her agent to start marketing it for a publisher. She’d love to know the future. Will it be published? Will it reach thousands of people? Will she make money? But I said, “What if it was just meant to reach me and a few other people? What if it never sees any other light than that? Would you still count it as success?”
Her answer was yes.
So why worry about the future? It may have already lived its purpose. Writing the book changed her. The few people that have already read it have been affected. She talks about it – affecting others. She’s accomplished all this and it isn’t even printed yet.
ALL THE WORK SHE’S ALREADY DONE IS IMPORTANT.
That smile we offer to a lonely person. That conversation we start with a new member at church. That old man we help across the street. That blog we write that only a few people read, but they connect with it and it changes their perspective. IT ALL MATTERS.
I’ll leave you with a bit of the end of Emily’s podcast (but you should listen to it or download the transcript and really think about it for yourself).
“Jesus often works in small surprises in the midst of the long haul. But he doesn’t do it in empty rooms, he does it through people, through connection … We make our decisions and choose our next steps, but we get scared when we can’t see
the future. … What if we see God in the yes we say even though we feel scared?
To see him in a random phone call, the kind invitation, a gentle nod. … If we insist on holding on to control, we just might miss the story happening on the other
side of the window.”
This week, think about small things that have happened in your life that affected you forever. Start taking notice of those things on a daily basis. Start living in the now.