The Wisdom Behind The Disney Song “The Next Right Thing”

I was watching Frozen 2 with my family recently since we hadn’t watched it when it first came out. I had listened to most of the songs on the soundtrack and thought the music was beautiful. However, watching the movie gave me a more meaningful perspective on the songs. 

One scene and song (The Next Right Thing) that especially moved me was when Anna is stuck down in an underground cave and believes her sister Elsa to be dead, and she has just watched her friend Olaf melt away in her arms. She is completely broken. She has nothing left. “I’ve seen dark before, but not like this // This is cold, this is empty, this is numb // The life I knew is over, the lights are out // Hello, darkness, I’m ready to succumb” But she realizes she has a choice before her: To give up, or to take a step forward. It goes on like this: “This grief has a gravity, it pulls me down // But a tiny voice whispers in my mind // ‘You are lost, hope is gone // But you must go on // and do the next right thing.’”

Anna later goes on to realize that she doesn’t know what the future holds. She is confused. She is overwhelmed. But she acknowledges: “I won’t look too far ahead // It’s too much for me to take // But break it down to this next breath // this next step // This next choice // is one that I can make”

So Anna chooses, at the end of the song, and then later in the movie, to “do the next right thing.” 

The reason this song touched and shocked me was that the phrase “do the next thing” was something I have heard constantly as I have grown up. My mother would always remind me when I was overwhelmed or frustrated or down in the dumps, that what I needed to do was simply to “do the next thing.”

As I was pondering this subject and researching it, I realized something I had forgotten. This phrase, to “do the next thing,” was popularized by the speaker and Bible teacher Elisabeth Elliot. She quoted an old poem called Do The Next ThingThe poem says: 

Do it immediately, do it with prayer,

do it reliantly, casting all care.

Do it with reverence, tracing His hand,

who placed it before thee with earnest command.

Stayed on omnipotence, safe ‘neath His wing,

leave all resultings, do the next thing.

Elisabeth Elliot explained how this mindset was extremely encouraging and helpful throughout her life as a single mother and someone who ministered to others. Sometimes the situation was overwhelming, but she knew that she had to just take the next step in faith and leave the results up to Jesus. 

Although Disney’s songs aren’t biblical, and very often are filled with self-esteem and self-love, I feel that with this song, they did a remarkable job. Although the song does focus on helping ourselves and how we can get out of the dark, as Christians we know that the strength to move forward comes from God and God alone. He is our Rock and our Fortress. With that in mind, the otherwise secular song becomes very encouraging. 

So I’ll walk through this night

Stumbling blindly toward the light

And do the next right thing

And with the dawn, what comes then?

When it’s clear that everything will never be the same again

Then I’ll make the choice

To hear that voice

And do the next right thing.

As believers, our Light is our Lord Jesus Christ. The Voice that prompts us to take that next step in simple faith is the Holy Spirit. 

Whether it’s taking a nap because we are too exhausted to do anything else. Whether it’s getting one more page of the seemingly endless homework done. Whether it’s helping a sibling or going to the store or cooking a meal. Whether it’s getting out of bed in the morning when you feel like nothing in the world is alright. We look to our God and do the next thing. 

If you would like to check out an article that elaborates on Elisabeth Elliot’s message, click here

If you would like to listen to a beautiful duet cover of the song, click here

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