Making Life Decisions With Emily P. Freeman

Making Life Decisions With Emily P. Freeman

Making decisions can be a challenge. We get tired of making so many decisions, and the big ones loom on the horizon of our lives. We ask ourselves, What if I make the wrong decision? Is there a Plan B in God's will? Emily P. Freeman, author of The Next Right Thing: A Simple, Soulful Practice for Making Life Decisions, helps us de-stress, create space for the soul to breathe and discern the next right thing.

 

19 Minutes • 2 months ago

Episode Notes

Charisma Connection

Guest: Emily Freeman

Making decisions can be a challenge. We get tired of making so many decisions, and the big ones loom on the horizon of our lives. We ask ourselves, ‘What if I make the wrong decision? Is there a Plan B in God's will?’ Emily P. Freeman, author of The Next Right Thing: A Simple, Soulful Practice for Making Life Decisions, helps us de-stress, create space for the soul to breathe and discern the next right thing.

Introduction

Chris Johnson: You're listening to charisma connection. I'm Chris Johnson. Emily P. Freeman is my guest today. She's the author of The Next Right Thing: A Simple Soulful Practice for Making Life Decisions. Emily, you have a couple of best-selling books out already. They are best-selling books under the Wall Street Journal list: Simply Tuesday and A Million Little Ways. Could you fill us in on what those are about too?

Emily Freeman: Sure thing. If you look at the books that I've written, even though they are different, they all really are all about life with God in one way or another. Simply Tuesday is really about walking with God in the midst of our ordinary days, because that's where most of our life happens, hence the Tuesday. Then A Million Little Ways is really about, what does it mean that we were created in the image of God? The first thing we know about God is that He created, and the first thing we know about us is that were made in His image. So, what does that mean for us as people? So, it's really a book about creativity and what it looks like to be created, even when we're don't consider ourselves quote, unquote, artists?

Emily Freeman Books

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

·         A Million Little Ways: Uncover the Art You Were Made to Live

·         Simply Tuesday: Small-Moment Living in a Fast-Moving World

Chris Johnson: It's good to have that context as we look at your next book, The Next Right Thing. You’re a wife and mother of three, and I understand you're also working on your doctorate. So, I think you've had to make a few life decisions along the way. Would you say that's true?

Emily Freeman: I think that is true. I am actually working on my master's, so not quite as much schooling as a doctorate.

 

What They’re Saying About The Next Right Thing

The Next Right Thing enlightened me, brought awareness, and gave me tools I didn't realize were missing in my decision-making life. Emily points us to ultimate peace and clarity in our lives in the midst of uncertainty and chaos by gently pulling our focus back to the One who gives it." - Candace Cameron Bureactress, producer, New York Times bestselling author

·         “Like all of Emily’s writing, this book is both insightful and practical. It teaches us that life is to be lived, not figured out. And the way we live it is one brave choice at a time.” -Jeff Goinsbestselling author of The Art of Work

·         “There is no more reliable voice today than Emily P. Freeman. Her consistency and faith have moved and changed me over and over again. The Next Right Thing is exactly that - the next right thing for you to read, for Emily to write, and for us all to live by. I'm so thankful this book exists.” - Annie F. Downs, bestselling author of 100 Days to Brave and Remember God

 

Chris Johnson: Maybe that's next. That's your next life decision. Sometimes, it does take a big dose of courage to make big decisions or to make any kind of life decision. Could you tell us about some of your decision-making experiences and how you've learned to make better decisions?

Emily Freeman: It's such a great question. I do think a lot of us, not everyone, but a lot of us who find ourselves stuck in indecision, can really trace it back to fear and maybe being afraid that we will make a wrong turn or choose the wrong thing. Or, maybe a past decision that we've made and then later regretted can haunt us and so we don't want to repeat a past mistake. For me personally, I can definitely relate to this feeling of being afraid to move because I worry it might be around the wrong move. You brought up schooling, and for me, you know, it was maybe right around my 39th birthday, when I was thinking maybe I would like to go to school and get my master's degree. Granted, that in and of itself is a is a privileged decision. Let's just be honest, that's a decision that a lot of people don't have the luxury to make. But at the same time, even these decisions that aren't, let's say, life or death decisions, they still come across our paths and a lot of us are presented with should I take this path of that path or go through this door that door. A lot of times, it's not between something terrible and something wonderful. If it was, the decision would be easy. A lot of times, the decisions that we have to make are between two pretty good things. And so that was one of those decisions for me, that really became a catalyst for me to pay attention to how I make decisions and deciding whether or not I wanted to go to school to get my degree because it wouldn't just affect me. It was going to affect my whole family. When I talk to people who are making decisions in their life, a lot of times the ones that are difficult are not the ones that are not only going to affect me and my own self, but they're the ones that are going to impact the people around us. I do think that those unmade decisions, the longer we carry them, the more power it feels like they hold. So, that's why this process of decision making has become one that I've been fascinated with over the last few years. I'm discovering it's not always so much about the decision, but it's more about the person I'm becoming in the process of making that decision.

Chris Johnson: That's the most important thing. You write about being a soul minimalist, and when I think of the word minimalist or minimalism, it's become popular to reduce the amount of stuff that we have in our homes and some people even keep a list of what they have. When they bring in something new, they get rid of something old. Does that relate at all to being a soul minimalist?

Emily Freeman: We all kind of know what that means when it comes to our physical spaces. Joshua Becker, who's another author, has a book called The More of Less and he talks about and writes about minimalism. Something he says about it, minimalism is not that you should own nothing, but that nothing should own you. That makes sense when we think about our home. But it also makes sense when we think about our soul. Because if I think about all the input … with our homes, we’re constantly receiving input into our homes and bringing things in like you brought up. But the same thing is happening on the level of our soul. Just like in our homes, if we're not careful, our homes can have corners of piled up things that we don't keep with intention, we just keep by default, and then we have to declutter and have a Saturday where we clean out. The same goes for soul, we are constantly receiving input on the level of our soul interaction with people, in work that we do and things that we watch and listen to. But where is the regular output?  I think when it comes to making decisions, especially those tough ones, if we don't have a regular practice of releasing some of those emotional and mental baggage that we carry around daily, then we have less space to consider maybe what we really want, or what decision might really be best for us and our family. For me, silence and stillness is to my soul, as the cluttering is to my home. So, that practice of just being still and silent, even for five minutes a day, can make a big difference when it comes to embracing the lifestyle of a soul minimalist.

Chris Johnson: That sounds appealing. How did how did Jesus our Savior model doing the next right thing?

Emily Freeman: This idea of doing the next right thing, I didn't come up with it. It’s been said by many wise teachers and authors and people long before I came up with this phrase. But it's a phrase that has meant a lot to me throughout my life. I'll tell you that it became more and more alive to me when I paid attention to how Jesus moved through … particularly the gospel, when you explain Jesus and tell the story of Jesus. If you think about the way He interacted with people, when he healed the leper, he then said in Luke 5, but go and show yourself to the priest now. He gave him the next right step. To the paralytic, He said get up, pick up your stretcher and go home. And then to Jairus and his wife when he healed their daughter who had died, he brought her back to life. Instead of giving the family a life plan for this daughter, instead he simply said to the parents, now you give her something to eat. It’s just as remarkable to me to think that Jesus, who is really the only one qualified to give us a grand, 10-year plan, life plan for us … He didn't seem to do that when he interacted with people. Instead, He tended to simply give them one next right thing to do. I think he still works that way today. But I'm often so addicted to the big picture that sometimes I have a hard time seeing what is my next right thing.

·         Mark 5:37-42:  He let no one follow Him, except Peter, and James, and John the brother of James. He came to the house of the ruler of the synagogue, and saw the tumult, and those who wept and wailed loudly. When He came in, He said to them, “Why make this uproar and weep? The girl is not dead, but sleeping.” They laughed at Him in ridicule. But when He had put them all out, He took the father and the mother of the girl and those who were with Him and entered where the girl was lying. He took the girl by the hand and said to her, Talitha cumi,which means, “Little girl, I say to you, arise.” Immediately the girl arose and walked, for she was twelve years of age. And they were greatly astonished.

 

Chris Johnson: So how do you think the Holy Spirit helps the Christian in decision making?

Emily Freeman: The Holy Spirit is vital in decision making. What I think we often worry about though, is we might have a thought or a leaning and we worry oh, is this me or is this God? I think that we can trace a lot of that fear back to what our image of God is. Dallas Willard said never believe anything bad about God. When it comes to listening to the Spirit and His movement in our life and walking with us and within us and around us, I think that a lot of times we don't realize it, but we have a picture of an image of God that is someone who is maybe trying to withhold something from us or trying to trick us or trying to tease us. Or, He has a secret and won't let us know. I just don't think that's the God of the Bible. When you look at Jesus, Jesus said, if you see me, you've seen the Father, and the Holy Spirit is the representation of Jesus within us. So, I really think that the fear that we often have that can surround, especially those big life decisions that have to do with vocation, with faith, with relationships … I think as we bring our desire and our questions into God's presence, we can leave them there and then go about our day and trust that the Spirit will reveal to us maybe what our next right thing might be. Again, we might not receive a grand picture for what the next 10 things might be, but I think He’s strong enough, intuitive enough, wise enough and loving enough to give us direction for our next right thing and we can trust Him that if we make a wrong turn or it’s not the best thing for us, then He is going to let us know.

Connect with Emily Freeman

·         Emilypfreeman.com

·         On Twitter

·         On Facebook

Episode Notes

Charisma Connection

Guest: Emily Freeman

Making decisions can be a challenge. We get tired of making so many decisions, and the big ones loom on the horizon of our lives. We ask ourselves, ‘What if I make the wrong decision? Is there a Plan B in God's will?’ Emily P. Freeman, author of The Next Right Thing: A Simple, Soulful Practice for Making Life Decisions, helps us de-stress, create space for the soul to breathe and discern the next right thing.

Introduction

Chris Johnson: You're listening to charisma connection. I'm Chris Johnson. Emily P. Freeman is my guest today. She's the author of The Next Right Thing: A Simple Soulful Practice for Making Life Decisions. Emily, you have a couple of best-selling books out already. They are best-selling books under the Wall Street Journal list: Simply Tuesday and A Million Little Ways. Could you fill us in on what those are about too?

Emily Freeman: Sure thing. If you look at the books that I've written, even though they are different, they all really are all about life with God in one way or another. Simply Tuesday is really about walking with God in the midst of our ordinary days, because that's where most of our life happens, hence the Tuesday. Then A Million Little Ways is really about, what does it mean that we were created in the image of God? The first thing we know about God is that He created, and the first thing we know about us is that were made in His image. So, what does that mean for us as people? So, it's really a book about creativity and what it looks like to be created, even when we're don't consider ourselves quote, unquote, artists?

Emily Freeman Books

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

·         A Million Little Ways: Uncover the Art You Were Made to Live

·         Simply Tuesday: Small-Moment Living in a Fast-Moving World

Chris Johnson: It's good to have that context as we look at your next book, The Next Right Thing. You’re a wife and mother of three, and I understand you're also working on your doctorate. So, I think you've had to make a few life decisions along the way. Would you say that's true?

Emily Freeman: I think that is true. I am actually working on my master's, so not quite as much schooling as a doctorate.

 

What They’re Saying About The Next Right Thing

The Next Right Thing enlightened me, brought awareness, and gave me tools I didn't realize were missing in my decision-making life. Emily points us to ultimate peace and clarity in our lives in the midst of uncertainty and chaos by gently pulling our focus back to the One who gives it." - Candace Cameron Bureactress, producer, New York Times bestselling author

·         “Like all of Emily’s writing, this book is both insightful and practical. It teaches us that life is to be lived, not figured out. And the way we live it is one brave choice at a time.” -Jeff Goinsbestselling author of The Art of Work

·         “There is no more reliable voice today than Emily P. Freeman. Her consistency and faith have moved and changed me over and over again. The Next Right Thing is exactly that - the next right thing for you to read, for Emily to write, and for us all to live by. I'm so thankful this book exists.” - Annie F. Downs, bestselling author of 100 Days to Brave and Remember God

 

Chris Johnson: Maybe that's next. That's your next life decision. Sometimes, it does take a big dose of courage to make big decisions or to make any kind of life decision. Could you tell us about some of your decision-making experiences and how you've learned to make better decisions?

Emily Freeman: It's such a great question. I do think a lot of us, not everyone, but a lot of us who find ourselves stuck in indecision, can really trace it back to fear and maybe being afraid that we will make a wrong turn or choose the wrong thing. Or, maybe a past decision that we've made and then later regretted can haunt us and so we don't want to repeat a past mistake. For me personally, I can definitely relate to this feeling of being afraid to move because I worry it might be around the wrong move. You brought up schooling, and for me, you know, it was maybe right around my 39th birthday, when I was thinking maybe I would like to go to school and get my master's degree. Granted, that in and of itself is a is a privileged decision. Let's just be honest, that's a decision that a lot of people don't have the luxury to make. But at the same time, even these decisions that aren't, let's say, life or death decisions, they still come across our paths and a lot of us are presented with should I take this path of that path or go through this door that door. A lot of times, it's not between something terrible and something wonderful. If it was, the decision would be easy. A lot of times, the decisions that we have to make are between two pretty good things. And so that was one of those decisions for me, that really became a catalyst for me to pay attention to how I make decisions and deciding whether or not I wanted to go to school to get my degree because it wouldn't just affect me. It was going to affect my whole family. When I talk to people who are making decisions in their life, a lot of times the ones that are difficult are not the ones that are not only going to affect me and my own self, but they're the ones that are going to impact the people around us. I do think that those unmade decisions, the longer we carry them, the more power it feels like they hold. So, that's why this process of decision making has become one that I've been fascinated with over the last few years. I'm discovering it's not always so much about the decision, but it's more about the person I'm becoming in the process of making that decision.

Chris Johnson: That's the most important thing. You write about being a soul minimalist, and when I think of the word minimalist or minimalism, it's become popular to reduce the amount of stuff that we have in our homes and some people even keep a list of what they have. When they bring in something new, they get rid of something old. Does that relate at all to being a soul minimalist?

Emily Freeman: We all kind of know what that means when it comes to our physical spaces. Joshua Becker, who's another author, has a book called The More of Less and he talks about and writes about minimalism. Something he says about it, minimalism is not that you should own nothing, but that nothing should own you. That makes sense when we think about our home. But it also makes sense when we think about our soul. Because if I think about all the input … with our homes, we’re constantly receiving input into our homes and bringing things in like you brought up. But the same thing is happening on the level of our soul. Just like in our homes, if we're not careful, our homes can have corners of piled up things that we don't keep with intention, we just keep by default, and then we have to declutter and have a Saturday where we clean out. The same goes for soul, we are constantly receiving input on the level of our soul interaction with people, in work that we do and things that we watch and listen to. But where is the regular output?  I think when it comes to making decisions, especially those tough ones, if we don't have a regular practice of releasing some of those emotional and mental baggage that we carry around daily, then we have less space to consider maybe what we really want, or what decision might really be best for us and our family. For me, silence and stillness is to my soul, as the cluttering is to my home. So, that practice of just being still and silent, even for five minutes a day, can make a big difference when it comes to embracing the lifestyle of a soul minimalist.

Chris Johnson: That sounds appealing. How did how did Jesus our Savior model doing the next right thing?

Emily Freeman: This idea of doing the next right thing, I didn't come up with it. It’s been said by many wise teachers and authors and people long before I came up with this phrase. But it's a phrase that has meant a lot to me throughout my life. I'll tell you that it became more and more alive to me when I paid attention to how Jesus moved through … particularly the gospel, when you explain Jesus and tell the story of Jesus. If you think about the way He interacted with people, when he healed the leper, he then said in Luke 5, but go and show yourself to the priest now. He gave him the next right step. To the paralytic, He said get up, pick up your stretcher and go home. And then to Jairus and his wife when he healed their daughter who had died, he brought her back to life. Instead of giving the family a life plan for this daughter, instead he simply said to the parents, now you give her something to eat. It’s just as remarkable to me to think that Jesus, who is really the only one qualified to give us a grand, 10-year plan, life plan for us … He didn't seem to do that when he interacted with people. Instead, He tended to simply give them one next right thing to do. I think he still works that way today. But I'm often so addicted to the big picture that sometimes I have a hard time seeing what is my next right thing.

·         Mark 5:37-42:  He let no one follow Him, except Peter, and James, and John the brother of James. He came to the house of the ruler of the synagogue, and saw the tumult, and those who wept and wailed loudly. When He came in, He said to them, “Why make this uproar and weep? The girl is not dead, but sleeping.” They laughed at Him in ridicule. But when He had put them all out, He took the father and the mother of the girl and those who were with Him and entered where the girl was lying. He took the girl by the hand and said to her, Talitha cumi,which means, “Little girl, I say to you, arise.” Immediately the girl arose and walked, for she was twelve years of age. And they were greatly astonished.

 

Chris Johnson: So how do you think the Holy Spirit helps the Christian in decision making?

Emily Freeman: The Holy Spirit is vital in decision making. What I think we often worry about though, is we might have a thought or a leaning and we worry oh, is this me or is this God? I think that we can trace a lot of that fear back to what our image of God is. Dallas Willard said never believe anything bad about God. When it comes to listening to the Spirit and His movement in our life and walking with us and within us and around us, I think that a lot of times we don't realize it, but we have a picture of an image of God that is someone who is maybe trying to withhold something from us or trying to trick us or trying to tease us. Or, He has a secret and won't let us know. I just don't think that's the God of the Bible. When you look at Jesus, Jesus said, if you see me, you've seen the Father, and the Holy Spirit is the representation of Jesus within us. So, I really think that the fear that we often have that can surround, especially those big life decisions that have to do with vocation, with faith, with relationships … I think as we bring our desire and our questions into God's presence, we can leave them there and then go about our day and trust that the Spirit will reveal to us maybe what our next right thing might be. Again, we might not receive a grand picture for what the next 10 things might be, but I think He’s strong enough, intuitive enough, wise enough and loving enough to give us direction for our next right thing and we can trust Him that if we make a wrong turn or it’s not the best thing for us, then He is going to let us know.

Connect with Emily Freeman

·         Emilypfreeman.com

·         On Twitter

·         On Facebook

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Making Life Decisions With Emily P. Freeman