About 25 years ago, my sweet husband came home and suggested I listen to a radio broadcast titled, “Gateway to Joy“, hosted by Elisabeth Elliot. We were new Christians, and eager to learn God’s ways for our home and marriage but I wasn’t an immediate fan of Elisabeth.
My mindset was more like the Helen Reddy song; “I Am Woman Hear Me Roar” than the ”Keep a Quiet Heart” teaching of Elisabeth Elliot. With her rather direct and forthright style of teaching from Scripture and stories of walking with the Lord through years of difficulties and trials, it didn’t take long to win me over. I was hooked!
Have you had the experience of feeling as if you've got far too many burdens to bear, far too many people to take care of, far too many things on your list to do? You just can't possibly do it, and you get in a panic and you just want to sit down and collapse in a pile and feel sorry for yourself.
Well, I've felt that way a good many times in my life, and I go back over and over again to an old Saxon legend, which I'm told is carved in an old English parson somewhere by the sea. I don't know where this is. But this is a poem which was written about that legend. The legend is “Do the next thing.” And it's spelled in what I suppose is Saxon spelling. “D-O-E” for “do,” “the,” and then next, “N-E-X-T.” “Thing”-“T-H-Y-N-G-E.”
“A quiet heart is content with what God gives”
A few months ago, I took a little 5 day detour back to the hospital as the result of a complication that arose from a recent surgery. Part of my treatment during my stay included walking, so I set out to walk 10 laps of the surgical wing, 4x daily. While making my laps, I heard and saw a lot of patients in a variety of distress. There were a few that were so vocal that I was relieved they were on the other side of the wing and out of earshot from ‘my’ room. By day 3, I was settled into a routine, when in rolls another patient into ‘my’ room. Notice how the room was mine? 😏
Hospital rooms have zero privacy, are loud, bright and a revolving door of residents, doctors, technicians, housekeepers and more. The thought of adding another person to ‘my’ room was unsettling. I literally rolled my eyes to God, and then realized she was one of those noisy complaining patients heard during my walks. After all, its all about me!
Within 30 minutes of her arrival she began to loudly complain outwardly while I complained inwardly.
As this was going on, in walks the housekeeper, singing and oblivious to the complaints. My roommate took notice of her song and asked if she was a Christian, which the housekeeper was quick to answer in the affirmative! It just so happens that my roommate was also a Christian who began sharing how sick and alone she was from her recent fall while I listened in. Because of COVID, she didn’t have visitors.
You would be correct if you thought I started feeling badly, that after all, perhaps it wasn’t all about me. “Do the Next Thing” came to mind, then I asked both if they would like to pray together and so we did, for several minutes.
Do you know for the rest of the day, my roommate was beaming and the next morning I realized she hadn’t complained at all. She told everyone about ‘her’ roommate praying with her and how happy she was in ‘her’ new room. 🙌
The next thing for me to do that morning was to forget about me and think about my new roommate in her new room.
Elisabeth Elliot’s teaching and testimony was the inspiration behind our “Do the Next Thing” canvas.
The poem in the background is whispering the reminder of Who provides all that we have and the larger text is the bolder and simple reminder to do just the next thing.
Our original design didn‘t include the poem, (where this saying originated,) however as we worked through revisions, we saw the beauty and importance of having the poem as a subtle reminder in the background.
The radio broadcast of Do the Next Thing https://web.archive.org/web/20140727193826/http://www.backtothebible.org/index.php/Gateway-to-Joy/Do-the-Next-Thing.html
Keep a Quiet Heart
Learning from Elisabeth Elliot: A List of Resources
More resources of Elisabeth Elliot: