About the Author

Emily P. Freeman is a writer who creates space for souls to breathe. She is the author of four books, including her most recent release, Simply Tuesday: Small-Moment Living in a Fast-Moving World. She and her husband live in North Carolina with their twin daughters and twinless son.

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  1. I love this, two great reminders in one post! So often we want to share by talking about our experiences but listening is so important and validating to the person we are with. And as a person who struggles to stay in the present (versus looking ahead), I love the question What is the Next Right Thing? With God handling the big stuff, all we need to do is focus on the next thing.

  2. Emily,
    How eye opening!! What a poignant lesson on the true value of listening more and talking less. When Jesus met Mary and Martha who were grieving at the grave of Lazarus, He didn’t give advice, quote scripture, or share a lesson… He didn’t say a word. Instead, He wept with them. If Jesus is the greatest validator of feelings, and I want to be more like Him, I would do well to follow His example. Wonderful post!
    Blessings,
    Bev

  3. This article was very timely for me. My whole family and friends need to read this too! I forwarded this to several friends!
    What a gift we could give to others by truly Listening!!
    Thank you for helping me understand an area that I need to work on!!! I’m also a homeschool mom who has little time alone so sometimes feel overwhelmed by all that has to be done. This is good advise. Focus on what’s next. I actually did this before having children, but somehow lost track and need, with God’s help to pray for direction & peace in each moment. Thank you!!! Blessings 😉

  4. Emily, this is a lovely post! My husband and I are doing “mentoring” with a younger married couple, and our topic is listening! For 3 weeks, we’re meeting to talk (or HEAR!) about listening. This rings a bell with my heart today, and I definitely want to share this with my husband.

  5. I read this as I walked upstairs to take a nap, feeling a bit guilty as my husband is also tired. The next right thing… Take a nap thank you for the freedom you have just given me, also some questions to ponder about my soul when I wake. Many Blessings back at you. Xx

  6. Emily, I appreciated this post so much. I have been both the giver and receiver of unwanted advice, “fixing” and the like, and sometimes we just need to know we have a friend who is there, who isn’t going to leave no matter what. Thank you for sharing this. My mind goes to Job, whose friends sat with him for days not saying anything after he lost everything he had. I think that was more comfort to him than anything they could have said. Lovely post.

  7. Wow. I needed this. I really needed this reminder that I can’t control everything and maybe I need to step back.

  8. Joy today? I don’t know, my heart is too heavy.
    disappointments today? A broken relationship that feels hopeless and is causing me to not have my grandbaby this week as was originally planned.
    When was my soul most awake? Still thinking on this one.
    sorrow? The death of a new grandbaby this year that was born but never took his first breath.
    What is my soul most longing for? Forgiveness

    Powerful questions today…so much to ponder on today. Thank you for bringing this to us today…
    What is the next right thing for me to do…..I think for right now it is to get up and clean my kitchen…that’s about all I have in me right now…but I will keep asking myself that question all day….

  9. Thank you for asking me curious questions. I love to be asked them in a way that allows me all the time I need to ponder their answers. And yes to just listening. What a good word. Always enjoy your words.

  10. Thank you Emily. This is medicine for my soul. You’ve helped me clear out some fogginess that wouldn’t go away.

  11. Trying settle in the rest of waiting and seeking God. Wonder if i am on tract according to Gods timing. Have missed something in my wait or has been wasted cuz i havent got it yet or right? Asking myself the hard questions, trying listen for the answers.

  12. And this is the heart of spiritual direction — and real friendship, too. Thanks, Emily for writing it out in your usual lovely style.

  13. This has me longing to be that listener for others and to find someone who will do the same. Thank you for being a voice bringing gentle correction into the way I do relationships. I also loved thinking through those questions. Some were so easy to answer, some I don’t yet have an answer for. I will also definitely be using “What is the next right thing?”.

  14. Emily,
    This is great! To often people don’t listen, really listen to each other and are quick to offer advice or scripture to solve the problem. There are times when we just want to “vent” our frustrations and be heard.
    What is one thing bringing you joy today? Spending time with in-laws and not having to deal with my aging dad’s dementia and psych issues.
    What is a disappointment you are experiencing today? One disappointment is having to quit a good job in order to care for my aging dad. Wish I was able to keep that job, but God knows best.
    When you think about the past six months, when did your soul feel most awake? The last few days at work. I was kind of happy to be out of that environment. The fact that certain co-workers gave me a little party and took me out to eat. One told me I could ask her for help in the future. Good to know people cared!
    When did you experience a sorrow or regret? From late 2013-2015 I regretted going into medicine and not staying in clerical work. Nothing ventured nothing gained. I started disliking the way medicine was going.
    For what is your soul most longing? For peace and contentment. For my dad to be “ok” without much more dementia, sundowners; episodes.
    Blessings 🙂

  15. Sometimes, we underestimate the luxury of being listened without being interrupted, and just to listen to others 🙂 For those curious questions are the things we have to ask ourselves in a timely basis just to reflect our life and be grateful to God in every conditions in life 🙂

  16. This is great stuff, Emily! I think the asking questions part is the answer to dealing with someone I’ve been having difficulty changing, er, understanding, lately. Although I’m wondering what question to ask besides, “tell me more about that,” which is not actually a question. This will be challenging but so worth it, I think. Thanks for sharing!

  17. I’m broken open by this. You know why? I’m a question asker, and I feel like I rarely have anything to offer of value — but questions. This affirms me in so many ways. Thank you, Emily. This is a solid word.

  18. Emily, loved this! I admit, often times I’m guilty of interjecting when someone shares their struggles. In an effort to show how I can relate, I interject my personal experiences. This is a great reminder to keep my mouth shut, and my ears open. Thanks for sharing these beautiful words, and a great reminder for all of us.

  19. Sometimes this is all I need… Just someone to listen. Thanks for reminding me how important it is to listen and not always put in my “two cents”.. “What is the next right thing?” I am posting that at my desk and at home as a reminder to not look so far ahead and just think about what is next! One minute at a time! God is Awesome, Always!!

  20. ANOTHER great timely post today from incourage.me. Thanks Emily! I’ve been attempting recently, to be less impulsive and reactive in conversations so your post is really confirming. Just love the part about ‘what is the next right thing?’ and how it helps us to be specific. Sometimes it can be just taking one step in the hope that the other foot will follow in the right direction. Love to you all in Jesus.
    Yvie.

  21. ‘Jesus wept’. Shortest verse in the bible speaks volumes Bev. The tears of God on the face of a man. What a wonderful empathic Lord and Saviour we have. O to be more like Him in the moment. Thankful for you, my sister in Jesus.

  22. Excellent! So true. Just being there, wondering, asking, listening. In the past, my husband has tried to fix situations I’ve shared with him, and he has learned to just listen too, and ask questions; he says he realizes this now. It’s an art, listening, truly hearing, asking questions. With the phone turned off.

  23. Yes…I do need to shut my mouth sometimes and just listen. I have a few girlfriends who I do this with. Once a year we meet for a weekend. There are about 15 of us. Breaking up into smaller groups has been discussed. But since we now see so little of each other as life has brought us farther apart, we all want to hear everyone’s updates. Sometimes they are just that, updates. But usually at least one member of the group has had a really hard year, a difficult loss, a marriage break up, a drastic change in their lives. Each person gets about 20 minutes to share their story. And then the group gets 10 minutes to ask questions…no advice. Then we pray over that person for 10 minutes. It takes a long time for us to get to everyone, but that’s why we spend the weekend together!

  24. Such a great post. Thanks for the reminder to listen. I want to start putting that into practice today… not needing to add my own perspective/experience in.