My One Thing

Three years ago, my husband and I moved to Texas. We had been traveling a lot with work and this position in the company had no plans of travel on the horizon whatsoever. When you’ve lived out of a suitcase your entire first year of marriage, that sounds heavenly.
So we moved to The Colony, Texas (a very awesome decision by the way) and started living life. Not too deep into Marshall’s new position, he was introduced to a concept called ‘one thing’. In a nutshell, your one thing is the one thing that you aim to do daily that will prove you are doing your job well. I loved this concept. Even recall saying: “I want a ‘one thing’!” {insert whiny voice}
Fast forward 2 and a half years. I’m a mommy to a new born, teaching part time at a preschool and struggling to regain ‘me’. All mommies know what I’m talking about. That postpartum haze. The fog that robs you of your mind, takes your emotions for a roller coaster ride, and wreaks havoc on your personal identity. You start asking yourself: Who am I?
That was me. I was involved in a lot of good things but I wasn’t happy.  The problem was they weren’t the best things for me to be doing. They were activities that I could do, but so could anyone else. They were committees and events that didn’t make my heart skip a beat. And to be honest my contribution didn’t really turn any heads either. I did my job and did it well. But only because someone asked me. Only because there was a need. And well someone had to do it.
Then one day I realized that I had a bad attitude. And I didn’t care. I knew these causes I was connected to were so incredibly important. They were making a difference. But not because of me. In spite of me. I was filling needs.
When the light bulb in my head came on so did the memory of my husband’s one thing.
I needed a one thing!
With a clear concise one thing, I could easily separate the needs from the callings! {excitement building!!!}
And so with very little editing, I drafted the following ‘one thing’ filter:
To reach children and their families by showing them the love of Jesus in a fun and creative way.
I did this last December. Since that time, I can’t think of a single event that I’ve participated in that did not fall quite nicely into my ‘one thing’ prerequisite. If an opportunity came up that didn’t line up with this ‘one thing’ there was only one answer to give: “Thanks but no!!”
Does this mean I say ‘no’ to anything that doesn’t have to do with children or their families? No. If someone needs me to set up a few chairs, I’ll happily do it. If you need me to make a few phone calls, sure. But I won’t be heading up a committee to fundraise for a new roof or singing a special on Easter Sunday.
But you might catch me dancing with toddlers and carrying around a plush heart with arms tenderly referred to as Huggy Heart by my little friends. You might see me speaking passionately about families and the importance of Dedication of Home and Family. You might even catch me doing a Science experiment in my backyard just to make sure it will work before trying it at school. And you’ll definitely catch me on trying to stay one step ahead of my budding Spanish bilinguals.
I’ve found my one thing and it feels great.
What about you? Do you know your one thing? Are you living the dream or spinning your wheels?

Patty Parker

My name is Patty Parker. I write about finding beauty in the every day.

15 thoughts on “My One Thing

  1. I love this! I had started to do this, making a “mission statement” for my life, but I think I actually made it too complicated! I’m gobna try to simplify it & see if this helps me with my focus in life. I’m sure it will. Thanks!

    1. Think of a one thing as a twitter.. Keep it simple and under/around 140 characters.

      If its too complex, you won’t be able to fulfill it well, and too vague won’t give you the accountability needed to succeed.

      But above all, go for it!

    2. Thanks Ruth! It has totally revolutionized the way I respond to things. The other day a friend asked me to consider leading a ladies group over the summer. Instead of toiling over making the right decision; what does God want me to do kind of thing. I knew. God and me had this conversation back in December. So I politely but confidently was able to say: Thank you, but no!
      It was such a freeing feeling. No guilt. No wishy washy wondering if I’d made the right decision.

  2. You know I love this idea!

    So proud of how you have embraced the one thing mentality, and you are definitely living your life out loud and with purpose!

    1. Thanks darling! It feels like I’m finally ‘back’. The whole having a baby fog has finally lifted and I’m going for it. Feels great to have your love and support!!

  3. Thanks! Patty, I think I needed to hear this. For me I don’t need it as a filter but a reminder to me daily. I appreciate your heart.

  4. I love the “one thing” idea. My “one thing” seems to change with what season of life I’m in. As my youngest leaves elementary and enters middle school, I’m rethinking my “one thing”.
    Besides praying did you do anything else to come up with your “one thing”? Like a pro/con list of all the things you do, or just listing out what all you do and seeing which one you are passionate about?
    The thing that most people say I’m good at and should be my “one thing” is something that I’m uncomfortable doing and I really don’t feel like I’m good at….hmmm…….

    1. I like your idea of a pro/con list and reflecting on where you are now with passions. For me, in this season of my life, my ‘one thing’ was super obvious. And when I was doing things that didn’t line up with it I was a bit miserable even if it was a good thing and I could do it well. So when I sat down to put pen to paper it really came easy.
      Now when people comment on what I’m doing I can’t help but glow a little because I agree. I love what I’m doing and I wouldn’t have it any other way.
      I say your ‘one thing’ should make you happy. When someone has a good work ethic, they can do just about anything exceptionally well and with a great attitude. But when someone is doing that ‘one thing’ you see that exceptional work ethic but also a PASSION behind it that can’t be conjured up no matter how great an attitude you have; it just naturally flows.
      Wishing you well in discovering this season’s ‘one thing’!

  5. Patty you left me with lots to think about. Writing is my one thing and my goal is to write something, anything, a blog an article or even a Facebook response. My love is gardening and I already get a small bit of pay for that. Sharing my inner thoughts through my blog is rewarding and a way to share and hopefully help someone that may be traveling the same byways as myself. So thank you for sharing your inner most thoughts.

    1. Thanks Aunt Linda!
      I think you are a wonderful writer! And one day I hope to see your gardening masterpieces! Keep writing. I’m looking forward to your book : )

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