The Next Right Thing: A Simple, Soulful Practice for Making Life Decisions

The Next Right Thing: A Simple, Soulful Practice for Making Life Decisions

by Emily P. Freeman

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Nothing gets our attention like an unmade decision: Should I accept the new position? Which schooling choice is best for my kids? How can I support my aging parents? When we have a decision to make and the answer isn't clear, what we want more than anything is peace, clarity, and a nudge in the right direction.

If you have trouble making decisions, because of either chronic hesitation you've always lived with or a more recent onset of decision fatigue, Emily P. Freeman offers a fresh way of practicing familiar but often forgotten advice: simply do the next right thing. With this simple, soulful practice, it is possible to clear the decision-making chaos, quiet the fear of choosing wrong, and find the courage to finally decide without regret or second-guessing.

Whether you're in the midst of a major life transition or are weary of the low-grade anxiety that daily life can bring, Emily helps create space for your soul to breathe so you can live life with God at a gentle pace and discern your next right thing in love.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781493419012
Publisher: Baker Publishing Group
Publication date: 04/02/2019
Sold by: Barnes & Noble
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 256
Sales rank: 61,685
File size: 3 MB

About the Author

Emily P. Freeman is the Wall Street Journal bestselling author of Simply Tuesday and A Million Little Ways. As host of The Next Right Thing podcast, she helps create space for the soul to breathe, offering fresh perspective on the sacredness of our inner life with God. Emily and her husband live in North Carolina with their three children. Connect with her online at and on Instagram @emilypfreeman.

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The Next Right Thing: A Simple, Soulful Practice for Making Life Decisions 4.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 44 reviews.
Anonymous 4 months ago
"Where to begin? I would have to say, the author, Emily P. Freeman's gentle spirit is what makes her thoughts and practices resonate and come to life for me. Emily is able to convey her thoughts in an easy manner that I can continue to ponder for days and I can easily implement. Her ""next right thing"" way of walking with God has done a lot to ease my stress and tension. I was one of those who grew up not being able to do enough or do it fast enough. Consequently I've had to work to have a renewed mind, a free mind. In the 6th chapter, Be a Beginner, she discusses how beginnings aren't really a problem for us, it's being a beginner. She goes on to tell about an experience she had as an ASL interpreter when she was being evaluated by a supervisor. She said the supervisor gave her this review, ""Good work for a novice interpreter."" Emily didn't know what ""novice"" meant at the time, but now she does. She had hoped it meant savant or something similar, instead of a beginner. ""We often don't give ourselves permission to be new within them. Instead, we want to rush ahead to mastery"". This need to not feel like a beginner has often paralyzed me from doing ""the next right thing"". Emily's gentle words give me permission to walk my journey with ""my friend, Jesus"", at my own pace. Chapters like, Stay in Today, Be Where You Are, and Walk into the Room, give me an opportunity to breathe and to find the courage to simply do ""the next right thing"" in love for myself, and as I love myself, I am more able to love others.
chattynatty 2 days ago
Thank you to Revell Books, a division of Baker Publishing Group, for sending me this book to review. I first heard of Emily Freeman on Jen Hatmaker's podcast For the Love. When this book was offered as a review book I knew I needed to jump on it. The premise of the book is dealing with decision fatigue, and just doing "the next right thing". I found it interesting that some famous people, whom I really respect and love, have used a version of this quote. Mother Teresa, Reverend Martin Luther King Jr., Theodore Roosevelt, and Anne Lamott. pg 13 "It's become a common catchphrase for coaches and athletes, in boardrooms and corporate motivational speeches. So what is the advice? Do the next right thing." I found this book just OK. I really thought her set up of the chapter was great. She gives content and then has a prayer and practice activity that coincides with the chapter's message. She writes beautiful prayers and those really spoke to me. I'm not good with praying so I felt her words could be used as my own prayer practice. Where I became a little "meh" about the content was there was at times too much "filler" for me and I just wanted to get to the "what to do" about x, y and z in regards to decision making. I also at times felt uncomfortable with her answer being "God's in control", "God's got a plan", and "God knows what will happen."(my own paraphrasing). I think this is my own deal though and not on Emily Freeman to "fix" or "sell me on". Work in progress regarding my faith journey. I did take several things from this book and surprisingly think I will read it again sometime. I'm also planning on sharing it with a family member who is struggling with decision fatigue and I think it would give them some ideas on how to approach decision making in a more peaceful, helpful, healthy manner. Some of my favorite quotes from the book: pg 18 Prayer: O God, I am open. The decisions I'm facing have become too much. Ease my fatigue with your presence and my hesitation with your peace. Here is an issue that has me tied in knots, will you begin to untangle me? What do you want me to know today? O God, I am open. pg 34 "to know a person's names is to know something of them." pg 93 "Make the Most Important List" "Is the life you're living the same life that wants to live in you? Before you tell your life what you intend to do with it, listen for what it intends to do with you."- Parker J. Palmer, Let Your Life Speak This chapter had you write a Life Energy List. It is to replace the old school Pro/Con list. You look back on your "season you just experienced" and ask yourself these two questions: What was life draining? What was life giving? pg 99 "We can't always eliminate the life-draining things... We will always have things we have to do in our lives, no matter how we feel about them... But the truth remains: we always have things in our lives we say yes and no to based on knee-jerk reactions, expectations, or fears, and it's helpful to know what they are. pg 100 "The Life Energy list is simply one tool to help you pay attention to your actual life so that you can discern what your next right thing might be." pg 208 "Dallas Willard says ' If a discipline is not producing freedom in me, it's probably the wrong thing for me to be doing." A timely book as "life seasons" are changing and decision need to be made. The reminder mantra "the next right thing" is one I think all of us could bene
summer_no9 3 days ago
A SIMPLE, SOULFUL PRACTICE FOR MAKING LIFE DECISIONS This book was a power full writing, inspiring and compelling to read with that also will guiding you to get to decide with the life that we are all living right now it full of to choices and when it come to make one what it would be a right or a wrong decision that we have to make no matter big or small. This book will help you to see the clear way to do success when it time we have come to make one. I highly recommend to everyone must to read this book. “ I received complimentary a copy of this book from Revell Reads for this reviews”.
Amaack 4 days ago
This book was timely for me. The reminders to create space and discern what I'm feeling in my soul as I make decisions was incredibly helpful. I'm walking away from this book armed with tools for finding peace and making space in my life. The reason this book is 4 stars instead of 5 for me is that I found it to be a repeat of the podcast. Freeman states in the podcast that the idea of The Next Right Thing needed to be a podcast before it was a book, but I found most of what was included in the pages of this book to be a repeat of what I've already heard Freeman say in my earbuds. It's definitely worth a read because it's nice to hold the prayers and practices in your hand. I received a copy of this book from the publisher. This review was my own, honest opinion.
Anonymous 5 days ago
I sometimes struggle with making decisions, big and small. I like to weigh my options carefully and am often worried about what will happen if I make the “wrong” choice. This often leads to “analysis paralysis” where I am stuck in a position of doing nothing because I cannot decide which path to take. In The Next Right Thing, Emily P. Freeman gives us a Biblical framework for making life decisions. Freeman does not recommend simply making pro/con lists and going along with the longer column. Instead, she shows us how to listen to God’s direction for us and to analyze the decision in the bigger context of his plan for our lives. At the same time, Freeman shows the reader why it is important to focus on what Jesus wants us to do next, rather than be consumed by our own ten-year plans. I found The Next Right Thing to be an interesting and helpful book. Freeman offers several examples of decision-making situations from her own life and her writing style makes her relatable. I would recommend The Next Right Thing to anyone who is facing an important life decision.
sesquius 6 days ago
Excellent book. Well written and thought provoking. This is a book that I hope to keep for years to come. Recommending to others while holding onto this book, refusing to loan out. Too many books that I loan forget their way back to me. I know of four right now that I consider gone considering how long they've held on to them. Everyone has decisions in life but sometimes decisions are larger than what are we going to have for dinner tonight. The type of decisions that are life changing that can come in the form of a new job potential. Usually I have a way of inadvertently sabotaging myself because I'm suddenly swarmed with a slew of "what if's" and fear of making the wrong decision. Even if it is something I want to do, I'm paralyzed. This book however, I wish I had read months ago when I received it. It helps muddle through the cobwebs in the brain that are determined to help you make a poor decision. It invites you to really think of the process of choice and change.  This first read I went through rather quickly, but there is so many great things that Emily says that I plan on re-reading again and making notes along the way. Superb book. Worth giving to anyone who is on life's journey. A bonus, it's hard back and meant to last. The publisher has provided me with a complimentary copy of this book or advanced reading copy.
Christianfictionandmore 7 days ago
Emily P. Freeman offers valuable insight into the miry clay that clogs our ability to make decisions, and offers practical ways to extract ourselves and to position ourselves to discern the next right thing to do. Chapters in this book are short, to the point, include relevant examples and Scripture, and end with a prayer and a way to practice the targeted skill or behavior. Freeman is quite articulate; her writing holds a sense of peace and has a calming influence. I can see this book being one that I will return to, and am grateful to have received a copy from Revell in exchange for my honest opinion. I was under no obligation to provide a positive review and received no monetary compensation.
PrincessGlor 10 days ago
This is my first introduction to Emily's writing but it won't be my last. I have had some of her previous books on my to read pile for awhile and after reading this one, I am going to make sure to read the others super soon! This book is full of practical and prayerful steps to figuring out your next decision whatever it may be. Emily breaks up the wisdom she shares into easy to follow chapters and includes great quotes throughout the book. A very quick easy to follow read with lots of great insight. Definitely recommend this book! I received this book from the publisher through their RevellReads program. I was not required to post a positive review, all thoughts are my own.
Julie12 11 days ago
I love this book because it encourages me to slow down, breathe and trust God in doing the right thing as I make decisions. I used to be rather great at making decisions but as life has change so many things in my life, I've started to doubt myself and agonize over what to do - asking trusted family members over and over what they think I should do. This is very confusing and I'm not talking to the One who knows exactly what I should do - God. This book takes me back to that important square one of turning to the Lord when I'm not sure what the right next thing to do is. Emily shares practices that we can apply to our decision making that has made it so much easier for me in my life. I really love the practical advice and common sense that she brings to this book, but most of all, I love that it's God-centered and Biblical. There are so many great quotes throughout this book! I highlighted extensively throughout! One of my very favorite quotes was on page 79, "We can’t prevent storms from coming, but we can decide not to invent our own.” How profound is this? I am definitely a "what if" girl and this quote brought me back and grounded me in not inventing my own storms. I also think her advice of putting down our phones, our tablets, and just being silent and connecting back into our lives is great. I'm realizing that social media can actually suck the like out of us and keep us from doing what is right for ourselves. Being quiet, talking and listening to God, are vital for making the right next decision. I highly recommend this book! It's such a great book and truly life changing. It's a book that I will refer to again and again and I plan on reading it again right away. I give it 5 stars. *This book was provided to me by Revell. I received a copy of this book to review but I was not financially compensated in any way. The opinions expressed are my own and are based on my observations while reading this book.
benhli38 13 days ago
While I want to praise Emily Freeman's book, The Next Right Thing, as well as her ability to write well, I also find it hard to give this book all the merit it's due. One thing I do like is the tag line for this book: A simple, soulful practice for making life decisions. I see that tag and I have this glimpse of Jesus Christ walking up a mountain to take time to settle down and spend time with God, the Father. While He sits there to quiet Himself, and to spend prayer time with the One who called Him to give His life a ransom for many, He sees His disciples out on the Sea of Galilee getting tossed and driven by waves and wind. Don't go and get me wrong, I'm not about to just trash this book. As I said, Emily has a gift for writing and she proves that with this book. I love how she starts off the book: "The admissions building smells like initiative, angst, and Y2K." It actually has a wonderful hook there. I want to read more. So I do. I get all of a few chapters in and then I have this thought, "This kind of sounds like a self-help book." I've never been a big fan of books like that. However, before I make it sound I hate this book, which I actually do not feel about it, there are redeeming qualities about it. With chapter titles such as Do the Next Right Thing, Become a Soul Minimalist, Picture God, Stay in Today, Don't Rush Clarity, Don't Give Your Critic Words, and these last two gems: Expect to be surprised as well as Wait with Hope, the reader becomes aware that Emily is showing us how to get to the point where Jesus did with God; simply to find time to get alone, to pray to Him for needed guidance, and to do "the next right thing." I love how Christ's brother James said it, "Pure and undefiled religion before our God and Father is this: to care for orphans and widows in their distress, and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world" (James 1:27, Berean Study). Overall, the book has its good notes and possibly a couple sour notes as does a good piano concert (I don't mean it's awful at all, just there are movements within the larger context that seem a bit, "meh"). Really and truly, Emily has done a great job with her book. It hits the overall message she's looking and desiring for. It's why it's #11 on Amazon's Christian Women's Issues. So, really and truly I believe most women may actually enjoy the book. I received a complimentary copy of this book from Revell for an honest and fair review.
Nanna51 13 days ago
All of us have decisions to make on a daily basis, and many of us are in a quandary about which way to go. This is absolutely the best book that I have read to help to make those difficult choices in our lives. Based on Biblical principles and practical advice from life experience, this book gives you a clear path to making decisions without hesitation and without regret. With chapters that appeal to the soul of the person on the brink of making a life-changing decision, this book also offers a prayer at the end of each chapter as well as an exercise that you can do to help you to sort out what the next right thing to do is. I loved how the book was written and the advice that it gives is a challenge to make decisions that are the right ones because you have thought them though, prayerfully. This book will appeal to anyone who is faced with choices that seem overwhelming and for those of us just trying to make everyday choices that are so numerous. Disclaimer Disclosure of Material Connection: I received a complimentary copy of this book from Revell. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255, “Guides Concerning the Use of Testimonials and Endorsements in Advertising.”
CEL76 16 days ago
If you're already a fan of Emily's work, you won't need any convincing to buy this book! If you don't know about her work, this is a great starting point. She offers a point of view about decision making that is holistic and aims to teach you how to live a life where decisions can be made more easily and without the usual chaos. It has helped me tremendously in many ways and I encourage everyone to read it.
mississippimomreads 25 days ago
The Next Right Thing by Emily Freeman is a great guide for those of who struggle to make decisions, whether major or minor. Emily's kind and personable perspective is a breath of fresh air. Emily provides approachable for both deciding what our next right thing is, as well as granting us room and grace as we pursue the next right thing. Emily is an accomplished author and has a strong fan-base and when reading this book, I can understand why. This book offers scriptural support but doesn’t come across as preachy but yet in a spirit of love and guidance for those who may be at a crossroads in their life with decision making struggles.
PamelaRenee 3 months ago
Have you ever had a decision to make, big or small, that completely took over your every thought and emotion? Then you know the power that decisions have over your life. The Next Right Thing is a genius of a book, focusing on you, the person making the decision, rather than the decision itself. Emily P. Freeman masterfully walks you through simple steps and practices to help you do the next right thing, nurturing your soul and continuing your spiritual formation as you go. The beauty of this book is in the rhythms of life it encourages you to adopt so that when those overwhelming decisions come along, you are ready to face them, because, as Emily says, “I’m convinced God is less interested in where we end up than he is in who we are becoming.”
jodi_mrs_back40life 4 months ago
I am plagued with indecision, so it was a no-brainer for me to read The Next Right Thing when I cam across it recently. I have loved the encouragement to be kind and gentle with ourselves, and to work on creating room "for our souls to breathe" - oh how I need that! I love the process Emily steps the reader through and I know I will come back to this book time and again when faced with big decisions. When I started the book, I didn't have any large decisions looming, however just yesterday, one popped up out of the blue. I felt much more equipped to take a step back, evaluate, and begin to do "the next right thing" even if that didn't result in making the ultimate decision. I immediately knew my next step, and knew I could take it with confidence, knowing that the Lord will continue to lead and guide me until the actual decision is made. I love that Emily encourages us to think beyond "the decision" itself - that it isn't necessarily the end goal, but to instead focus on simply being with the Lord. I think this book is a fantastic resource - one I can definitely see myself sharing over and over again! And I can't wait to delve into the companion online course, "Discern & Decide" to help further refine my decision-making process in the coming days.
Anonymous 4 months ago
Lauren Mavroulis "This book is full of grace, peace, and the most gentle prodding. Somehow, Emily P Freeman manages to write as if she is speaking to me on such an individual level through this book, in a way that relates to so many of the decisions and ""next steps"" of my life circumstances from the small and mundane to the weighty and life altering. She never tries to tell you what to do or how to do it, but it's a guide to allow your soul to breathe, and to slowly turn and follow in the direction that is ""the next right thing"" for you. She said on her Next Right Thing podcast that she sees her goal as to ""create space for your soul to breathe"" and that is exactly what she does in this book. Each chapter is short, and ends with a prayer and a ""practice."" They read like an inhale and exhale. I needed this book, but I had no idea how much I needed it. My copy is full of highlights and I know I will return to this again and again. ""I'm learning that the decision itself is rarely the point. The point is becoming more fully ourselves in the presence of God, connecting with him and with each other, and living our lives as though we believe he is good and beautiful."""
SASSE 4 months ago
The Next Right Thing is Emily P. Freeman’s newest book, and a must-read for everyone who has to make lots of decisions every day. The world we live in, with its technology, constant noisy interruptions, and fast pace, gives us very little time to make thoughtful choices about how we use our time and energy. We often find ourselves doing too many things because we agree to participate before we really think about the consequences to our families and ourselves. Emily addresses this issue in a beautiful and graceful way. Each chapter introduces us to steps that gently remind us of the importance of doing what is best for ourselves and our loved ones. She helps us discern between the voices of others telling us what we should do, and the quiet voice of God as he speaks to our hearts and leads us to the next right thing. I have read the other books by Ms. Freeman, and each one has given me a new perspective for the way I choose to live and the importance of developing a deeper relationship with God. Her writings always seem to meet me where I am and help me move forward. Thank you, Emily, for using your gift of writing to help others. I received an Advanced Reader Copy from Netgalley in exchange for my honest review.
robininalaska 4 months ago
You guys, this is having a spiritual director for under $20. I'm not kidding. Emily Freeman gracefully walks you through your own decisions. How is this possible in a book? I HAVE NO IDEA. But I've made a number of hard decisions with the help of these ideas and I always feel settled about them. Not kidding. Order it. Read it on kindle. Get it from the library. Listen on Audible. All of the above.
Anonymous 4 months ago
The Next Right Thing is a practical guide for those of us who struggle to make decisions, both large and small. Emily's kind and gentle perspective is a breath of fresh air about a normally tense topic. Emily provides approachable, attainable tips both directly for deciding what our next right thing is as well as extending ourselves and others grace as we pursue it. I can't recommend this book enough as it has already helped me feel more confident in making everyday decisions.
alaskamom 4 months ago
For years I have loved Emily’s writing and this book is no exception! As someone who often feels the exhaustion of decision fatigue, I really appreciated this statement, “If there’s one thing I know for sure in the kingdom of God it’s this: the thing we often think is The Thing is often not the thing but is, in fact only a-thing.” This is so relieving! I have only heard “the next right thing” from Emily’s writing and the podcast, but I enjoyed reading the history of the phrase, “the next thing” and how it is over 100 years old. Having just moved 2,500 miles from the State I called home for the last 20+ years has me in the position of definite beginner in building a new community and learning all the “new things”. I found great relief in the concept of the transition from the ending and this new beginning is maybe my next right thing. Emily writes how our emotions are valid, big and small. When we can learn to accept our emotions, then we can learn to hear our soul. Responding to our soul helps us listen to God’s desire for us. Near the end of the book, she sums up and reminds us of these truths: “Our next right thing will often be to wait. Give time to allow the clutter to clear. Create space for your soul to breathe. Make room for your desire to show up at the table. Begin to name the unnamed things. Wait. Listen. Repeat.” This book is a guide to taking these steps, not another how-to in the sense of adding to our to-do lists. Instead, to knowing how to “Be still and know that I am God…”, as we are instructed in Psalm 46:10. Note: I did receive an advanced e-version of this book via netgalley.
justplainbeth 4 months ago
Being an Enneagram 1, I have a very loud inner critic. I call her my inner hag. My inner hag uses a megaphone to remind me that my biggest weaknesses revolve around fear: fear of failure, fear of doing the wrong thing, fear of not being good enough, and fear of making the wrong decision. In Emily P. Freeman’s latest book, she writes about how she was in an Uber with her bestie, and the driver told started to tell her a story about a difficult passenger she had driven. But instead of telling the two women about this passenger she said, “But we’re not going to give her words, ‘cause that’s exactly what she wants.’” Each time I have tried to decide what my next right steps are, my inner hag bellows out all the reasons I’m choosing wrong: all the ways I can fail, all the things that might go wrong, and all the ways I’m going to disappoint not only myself but all those around me. It’s crippling and it keeps me from moving forward. Emily’s book offers gentle and compassionate ways for you to consider what’s keeping you from making your next right step (and I resonate with almost all of them), as well as practical steps to help you to move forward. This book came at a perfect time. I’m in a period of transition in my life, and my husband is getting ready to make a big decision that will impact our family in many ways. This is a book I will be reading again. Next time I’m going to go slower and take more notes. I highly recommend it.
gfox79 4 months ago
This book is amazing! Emily breaks down decision making into simple steps. She encourages her reader to just do what is the next right thing. The chapters are short, but full of wisdom and encouragement. She ends each chapter with a prayer and a practice step. The quotes and scripture references she uses drive home this idea of the next right thing. I recommend this book to anyone who makes decisions, which is everyone!!! My favorite quote is found in chapter 8, "Honor your design and image-bearing identity enough to be honest about what you want most" (pg. 89). Purchase this book and give as gifts, I'm telling you people will thank you! I received an early copy of the book in exchange for my honest review.
LisaB91 4 months ago
What can I say about Emily P. Freeman! When I found “The Next Right Thing” podcast a year ago, she became the next best thing in my day. I couldn’t get enough of trying to catch up with all that I had missed, and then when I did, I couldn’t wait for the next one to come out! Then the announcement came that she was writing a book of the same name. I couldn't wait to read it! So here I am telling you that this is one book you are going to read from cover to cover before putting it down. And then you will pick it back up so you can soak in all the soulful guidance, as Emily’s joy for life and love for the Lord shines through each page. You will hear her voice as you read each word. She speaks directly to your soul, inspiring you to breathe deep and become still. “Stillness is to my soul as decluttering is to my home.” "My goal is to help you create space for your soul to breathe". Each chapter will help bring you closer to doing “The Next Right Thing”.
AshleyBartley 4 months ago
Emily P. Freeman has a way of anticipating my needs before even I do. In The Next Right Thing, she walks us through how to approach dreams and decisions both big and small thoughtfully and with God always at the forefront, giving us the courage to just continue to always do "the next right thing in love." Her wisdom allows me to see my dreams as possible. By equipping me with thoughtful questions to ask along the way, my dream is not so daunting, and I can create space in my life to make the best decisions towards my dream. Thank you, Emily, for your wisdom.
JLUren 4 months ago
Emily P Freeman has been given a gift that she is freely sharing with the world. Her podcast has impacted thousands of people as they have wrestled through learning to embrace the decision making process, especially as it relates to God’s will for one’s life. This book takes the nuggets of wisdom from the podcast and applies them in an even deeper way. In the first eight chapters I learned more about myself than I had in months. And it moved me on to do The Next Right Thing without fear or regret. This is a book that will become dogeared and tattered as it is read and re-read through the years.