I am still in Orlando at another meeting and I have lost my computer charger for right now. Now sure where I left it but it is not in my bag. I have limited charge to write this. Ah, the dilemmas of the modern world. I wanted to invite you to sign up for our upcoming webinar on September 29th on How Long Should You Keep Trying in your Destructive and How can You know Change is Real? If you don’t sign up, you won’t be able to attend.
Recently someone from one of my groups shared some insight she got from God’s Word on doing the Next Right Thing. Sometimes we wish we could see the entire path forward, but most times, God just sheds enough light on our path to do the next right thing. But when we do that, God shines the light forward again to the next right thing. We walk by faith, not by sight, so I thought her article might be a blessing to you as well.
The Next Right Thing
By Deena Wilson
Mary and the other women are quiet as they measure out the burial spices. There are other things to be done today. Why take this time, this expense now, to do these spices for Jesus? What a waste, a foolishness, if they can’t even get into the tomb. Still, they are doing what they can—the next right thing.
Their eyes are red and swollen, their steps and hearts like lead on the way to the tomb. They can’t awaken from this nightmare. Jesus is dead. There is nothing more to be said or done except this. Shattered and mute, they trudge on—doing the next right thing.
Mary stands stock-still, her mouth agape, at the unexpected. The little band of women huddle behind her, staring. The stone stands rolled aside like a massive open door of welcome. What they lacked the strength to do has been somehow done for them. They hesitate, then slowly file forward into the tomb—to do the next right thing.
They gasp, shocked by what they do not find, do not expect. There is no death here, only air and space, a heap of empty linen cloths, the sound of their own breathing. They lock alarmed eyes with each other, see their own questions reflected back. Where is his body? Who has done this? What should we do?? These bewildered questions—they are the next right thing.
Mary feels the coolness of the tomb floor against her nose as she bows down, limbs shaking, heart thundering. Radiance pours even through her closed eyelids, warm light everywhere. “He is not here! He is risen! Remember? He told you of this.” And then a different sort of light—clarity–like a curtain being swept wide open inside her. Yes, she does remember! A little bubble of laughter rises in her throat, catching her by surprise. She stands slowly, trembling and incredulous. Joy—the next right thing.
The spices are spilling everywhere, the road home flying under their feet. They are seeing nothing but the empty heap of cloths and two shining men, hearing nothing but their joy-filled cries to each another. Believing, they are rounding the last turn now, coming as fast as they can to do all they can. To tell! To tell!—the next right thing.
How might this story have turned out differently if the women went home discouraged and didn’t do the next right thing? What if they allowed their daily tasks, their discouragement or overwhelm to decide for them what to do? Jesus still would have risen, but they would have missed the blessing of being the first to witness the miracle. [Tweet “They would have missed the joy, the opportunity to share the miracle of what they had witnessed.”]
Friend, What is your next right thing to do? You might not know what will come next, but can you walk by faith and move forward in what you do know is the next right or best thing for you to do in this moment?
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Sometimes it is difficult to know what the next right thing is. I can get bogged down in doing nothing because of my uncertainty of what or where God is leading me.
Satan is all about confusion. If you are confused, it isn’t from God. Find your inner voice and listen to it. Your gut knows the truth. Spiritualization of the problem is just one of a number of complex coping mechanisms that perpetuate denial. Your brain fog will lift when you remove yourself from your abuser, even if only for a few hours, you can begin to think for yourself again. Learn about minimizing, justifying and blame shifting from Patrick Doyle’s site. Watch his and Leslie’s you tube videos.
But if you don’t know the next right step, take a step, and that will give you feedback as to whether you continue to go forward or take a different next step. Staying still for too long is just stuck.
I have found when looking for the next right thing to do – it is easy to fall into wanting to see the ‘end result’. When I learned to let go of that, freedom came immediately to feel free in taking a step forward. It has proven for me to be very successful. It’s helpful to take baby steps at first.
Hi Leslie, is there a program for abusive men that you would recommend? I have looked into several programs such as Center for Peace (Betrayal Trauma Recovery Group), Men of Peace (Chris Moles), and Healed Being (Paul Colaianni). However, I am unsure which of these would be most beneficial, taking into account the cost and duration of each. Do you have any experience with these programs or have another recommendation? Thank you.
Hanna, the best place to start is for the abusive man to see a licensed psychologist or psychiatrist. (Not a Pastor!) Destructive people are easy for professionals to diagnose. Let the therapist suggest any supplemental programs if indicated. Heading straight to an anger management program or men’s group often gives abusers a chance to learn new controlling strategies from other abusers. Abusive men love attending such ‘groups” because they have an audience to gripe about their collected injustices without any confrontation.
Sadly, there just aren’t programs that can cure the self entitled mind set of an abuser.. Often destructive men have a Cluster B personality disorder known as Narcissism or are psychotic. Have you read Sam Vaknin’s books on Narcissism? My husband’s therapist had him read Vaknin and Bancroft. It helped him understand his illness better. There is no cure. There and so few therapists are willing to work with abusive men because it is a thankless, frustrating job to work with unrepentant, delusional people. Most switch to treating the victims instead because it is much more satisfying work.
Autumn, I appreciate your good intentions, but your comment indicates that you know nothing about these programs in particular. They are not anger management programs or men’s groups. The programs that I mentioned are specifically designed for emotionally abusive men. The Center for Peace actually provides individual counseling for both the wife and the husband, so that both sides of the story can be heard. Leslie was actually a guest on the Betrayal Trauma Recovery podcast, which is affiliated directly with the Center for Peace program. That is why I asked for Leslie’s opinion. The Men of Peace program is a self-paced program designed to also be completed alongside professional counseling.
If I had not done my own research about these programs, your comment may have steered me away from a potentially helpful option. I respectfully recommend that you do not comment about specific programs if you know nothing about them. You may be steering victims away from potential help.
The Center For Peace is excellent! Coach Joi and BTR are amazing!! Highly recommend!!
Hanna, Are you seeing permanent, lasting and consistent changes in your abusive partner’s behavior while participating in the program?
There is a similar program called Life skills which was founded by Dr. Paul Hegstrom. It too has programs for men and women and professional counseling as well. It is faith based enabling and there is no accountability for the abuser.
Best of wishes with your journey. I stand by my comment that their is no cure for narcissism. We all wish there was. That wishing is termed “Hopeism” in the abuse world. It is a powerful drug often fueled by those who don’t understand abuse and trauma.
I hope you find a way to live well in your difficult circumstance or find the courage to get out of it. Don’t be fooled by false hope.
I think I see where Hanna and Autumn are coming from with this discussion. If one must stay in a destructive relationship, trying everything you can to change your abuser seems worth the effort. Even if change never happens, it helps the victim believe they are being heard. The programs Hanna mentioned are trying to treat some key abusive behaviors. Of course that would be wonderful! Yet, I would agree with Autumn , the chances are one in a million that an abuser can learn empathy or will become transparent about their manipulative thoughts. I am concerned that I don’t read any mention of Power and Control issues on the Center for Peace website. I am also concerned that it does not appear to have any male coaches. Also, the accreditation of their leadership is from obscure, unlicensed bodies and they use unrecognized, made up credentials behind their names. Does that concern anyone? Are any of the providers licensed?
No program can change an abuser unless he or she wants to change. Yet, for all the women that have to stay with an addict or an abuser, it is easier to make a go of it with a tribe of caring people listening to their struggles. It is great that some caring individuals have started to address the issue of abuse in marriage. I would be hesitant to expect permanent behavioral change in any action that was initiated by anyone other than the addict or abuser. Yet, If any of these program keep victims safer, even in the short term, they are worth it .
So, maybe the next right things is researching and enrolling in a program of some kind, like Hanna did. Staying silent about the problem doesn’t help anyone.
I thought for sure my husband had undiagnosed NPD and he was certainly an expert gaslighter. He made huge, lasting changing when I learned what a boundary was (the book Boundaries by Townsend & Cloud is amazing, along with all of Leslie’s great resources), and started keeping my own boundaries. Even the worst psychological (not physical obviously) abuser can’t abuse an adult who has learned how to hold her own internal boundaries regardless of what the abuser is doing. Yes, it’s harder with children involved. But I taught my children how to have personal boundaries too. Once he couldn’t manipulate us, he started making changes. People can change even if just because their old tactics stopped working.
The next right thing. What a timely blog. I am doing the next right thing, praise the Lord, and now I know I am moving in the right direction one step at a time.
For those asking about resources for abusers. Peaceworks University (Chris Moles) is a great resource. He also has a wonderful website and podcast (Peace Works Podcast). Very very good resource.
thank you for this encouragening and beautiful message
I read the message aloud to my husband and we were both touched