The Next Right Thing
“In any moment of decision, the best thing you can do is the right thing. The worst thing you can do is nothing.” -Theodore Roosevelt
Last Saturday, my husband and I were on the rooftop of our new apartment building with two of our best friends visiting from Dallas. The guys were attempting to light the grill and start cooking our brunch, when the gas popped on too quickly and literally singed the tips of Ross’s hair…on his head. We died laughing, Ross included. (Disclaimer - you can’t really see the damage, but a few strands fell off in the beginning.) If this happened on a Monday morning while getting ready for the work week, it probably wouldn’t be funny. But, on a Saturday morning cooking bacon with your best friends, the little things become less important.
It’s easy to make memories when you aren’t worried about what comes next. You have the ability to soak up the funny moments, plan time to take a nap, and say yes to that extra cookie. Vacation is easy because every decision that you make seems like the next right thing. Doing the next right thing is easy when you’re not worried about sticking to the plan.
Obviously, real life isn’t so charmed. Your decisions have high stakes, and the outcomes could bring long term repercussions. The risk of failure feels like it could be the end of the world. The questions you’re debating could have far worse consequences than singed hair.
A year and a half ago, I took a really huge leap and uprooted my Nashville life for one in Colorado Springs. I will never regret this move, starting my business, and beginning our marriage in a land far from home, even though it’s been tough. I’ve never been so sure that God was calling me to go somewhere that I had no attachment to prior to that decision. However, here’s my moment of truth: something never felt right.
If you’ve walked through life with me for the past year and a half, you’ve heard me struggle with this decision time and time again. There were different reasons that I questioned living in Colorado Springs, but two of the main ones were always: where is our church, and what is Ross supposed to do?
I tried over 15 churches in Colorado Springs, and I’m not joking when I say that we knew none of them were our home church. This doesn't mean those churches were bad, but they didn't fit what we needed in this stage of our life and marriage. When I moved, I went all in, for more than just my company. I was convinced that God wouldn't lead me to a place without giving us a strong church to dive into and a strong sense of direction for Ross’s company. But, after about nine months, Ross and I both began to feel something stirring. His company is a technology company, most of his clients are in major cities, including Denver/Boulder. He drove an hour and a half to the Denver airport multiple times a month because of his travel schedule. And then the kicker - after nearly a year of trying to find a church home in the Springs, we tried one in Denver and found exactly what we were looking for. We felt that God was giving us a direction, for both church and his company; it was just a different direction than we expected.
I remember the day we decided. It was Easter, and we had driven to Denver for brunch. I was in a classic emotional and hungry mood, so naturally we went to get ice cream. As we were talking, I blurted out, “We need to move to Denver.” Ross, who never complains, and moved to Colorado Springs solely for me to start my dream business, looked at me with a hopeful, yet skeptical, look. He was probably unsure if I would stick to this outburst, but I did. Just like I knew I had to move to Colorado Springs, I knew we had to move to Denver, even if it didn't make sense.
For those of you unfamiliar with Colorado geography, Denver is a whopping hour drive from Colorado Springs. Thankfully, my commute is against traffic, but it is what it is. We’ve only been doing this set up for a month now, and it’s still new to me. Why would you move yourself an hour from your business? I know, I ask myself that a lot, too. It’s a weird decision on paper, but my only answer is that I was trying to do the next right thing. For my marriage. For Ross’s company. For our dreams. Because we knew.
I’m not claiming to be the most in-tune-with-God human alive, but I will say that when He has planted a dream in my heart, it’s never been a bad decision to pursue it. When I got married, I made the commitment to live for more than just myself, and Ross needed to be in Denver for a lot of reasons. But more than that, it was another leap of faith, a seemingly unconventional choice that had a million tiny steps leading up to it.
Yes, there are days when I don’t feel like driving, but I love my business. I love my community there, and I am thankful to be there every time I pull up to the front doors. My business is just as important to me, if not more important, than it was before we moved, and I have no plans of stepping away from it. I have big plans to grow it, even if my living residence isn't next door. However, for the first time in a year and a half, I feel a sense of peace and purpose because we’ve found a way for Colorado to work for both of us. We’ve found avenues in which we can build more than two careers - we can build a life.
I recently started leading a Bible study for a group of college girls at my church in Denver, and I love it. It’s such a reminder to me of how God used community to shape my life in undergrad, and how He still uses it to help us work through our decisions and big steps. I have a lot of questions about what I’m doing and how everything will “work out” in the long run, but I’m trying to take one day at a time. After all, it’s already “working” because we’re living it. As Annie F. Downs said in her book Let’s All be Brave, “He (God) knows we need dreams in pieces because we would be too scared of the whole puzzle.” I know that life will always throw curve balls, but I don’t want the worry of what comes next to keep me from stepping up to the challenge.
Keep doing the next right thing because it's all you can do.