I hear it every day, from people trying to find the their next right step.
“I have too many ideas and not enough time.”
“There are so many things to do, I don’t know which ones to do first.”
“I hear so much conflicting advice and I don’t know what is right for me.”
Those are all symptoms of what I have called the Idea Tornado. The swirl of ideas flying around in your head. You see one whiz by and before you can even reach out to grab it, here comes another one. Does that sound familiar to anyone?
It can be overwhelming and frustrating.
Sometimes its easier to kick some things to the curb and then look at the things that are left to bubble up to the top. So let’s weed out the things we don’t need to do, to make room for the next right step.
Use Your Purpose as a Filter
I love Noah. He really had his organizational act together. In fact, he may have been the very first Project Manager. God gave Noah a very specific assignment and Noah got after it.
So God said to Noah, “I am going to put an end to all people … So make yourself an ark of cypress wood.” Gen. 6:13-14 (NIV)
I’m pretty sure if God told me he was going to cause a world-wide catastrophe, I might have a few ideas of my own. But not Noah.
A little side hustle to show others how to build an ark? Nope.
Sell lemonade to those gawking neighbors to fund extra plush furnishings in the ark? No way.
God told him to build an ark, and anything that did not contribute to that purpose went to the bottom of Noah’s list.
Before we can prioritize ideas, we have to know what we are trying to accomplish. So get laser-focused on your purpose and then filter all the ideas through it. Ideas that don’t play a key role in supporting the vision or operation of your ministry or business can be put on the shelf for later, or ditched completely.
Stop Making Decisions
Really? Stop making decisions? Yes. We revisit too many decisions that have already been made. Noah had a blueprint for the ark from God, and he just got busy building it according to that plan. He didn’t question, “Maybe I should add an extra deck at this end … Perhaps we need to use oak instead of cypress wood.” No. Those decisions had already been made and Noah didn’t clutter up his calendar by shopping for oak when cypress wood was just fine.
Can I admit my font obsession to you? I could spend hours surfing through Creative Market, looking at fonts and cool flat lay mockups. But I’ve made some decisions on the look and feel of my site, some standard graphics for post titles, and fonts for Pinterest graphics. They may not be the trendiest, but they are eye-catching enough to draw attention. I don’t need to visit that decision again every time I notice a gorgeous new font.
So if some of those ideas swirling by are things you’ve already decided and have clear direction on, let them fly on by. Stop making decisions you have already made.
Your Biggest Issue is Your Next Right Step
Our biggest issues are often the most difficult to solve. They take our full concentration and prayerful dedication to drive them to completion. But usually we focus on the easy little things, checking quantity off our to-do list instead of quality. Following the shiny object down an alley instead of taking care of the big ugly thing that is blocking us on the highway.
Noah had a mission to build an ark. It was hard work. No one had ever built an ark before. For months and months, Noah was single-mindedly focused on building the ark. Eventually, he would need to worry about little things like how he was going to feed all those animals and how he would keep the lions from eating the antelopes. But before any of that would matter, he had to build an ark.
What is the biggest issue you need to solve? The one thing that is blocking your path and preventing progress? It may seem like there are a lot of them, but if you look closely, you will likely find one thing that everything else hinges on. Work it to completion and don’t change course when you hit the first hurdle. Put all those “little things” ideas to the back of the line until you solve the big ones. Build your ark.
Genesis 6 and 7 says repeatedly that “Noah did everything just as God commanded him.” And ultimately, that is how we find our next right step. It’s the thing that God commanded us to do, and if we can focus on that thing … on our ark … all of the other ideas will fall into a nice neat line, each one patiently waiting for its turn at the front of the line.
What is your greatest challenge in deciding on your next right step? Could any of these lessons from Noah help give you clarity?