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What One Thing

April 22, 2020

A long time ago I read a very simple, but supremely challenging, question: What one thing, if you began doing it today, would have a dramatic positive impact on your life?

It was one of the most challenging questions I’d ever come across. And one of the most difficult things I’d ever tried to do. Actually, I think I made a difficult thing even harder by misunderstanding how to go about working this question out. I thought it was about the 0NE-AND-ONLY thing I could or would change or do to make a dramatic difference in my life. That makes a difficult challenge very nearly impossible. I don’t have a crystal ball to tell me what this magic one thing might be. I began praying about it, and I didn’t get any word from God on it. So I gave up on it for a while. A long while. “It’s beyond my pay grade,” I thought. And in that form, it’s way over my pay grade.

But recently the question has come back into my mind in a better way, I think. It’s not the ONE-AND-ONLY, supreme thing I could or would change or do. It’s what one thing would/could I begin doing TODAY that would make a difference in my life TODAY. Just one thing. Not the holy grail of one things. This changes almost everything about how I think about this question. It becomes do-able.

There are lots of things that would make a positive difference in my life if I would do them today. More exercise. Less Facebook. Fewer calories. Fewer hours in front of the TV. More time reading. More time writing. More time telling Debbie how much I love her and how amazing I think she is. More time communicating with my friends. More time connecting with my kids and grand kids. And this doesn’t even get into the classic Christian things: more time in prayer, more time in Bible reading, more time telling others about the hope of the Gospel.

Narrowing the focus to one thing is hard. But my question isn’t, “What is the ONE-AND-ONLY…” It’s about just one thing that would make a difference today. I don’t – and you don’t – have to have a tournament between all the things you could choose from to decide what’s the most noble or the most Godly, or even the most effective thing. Take “most” out of it. Just pick ONE. Unless it’s immoral, we’re good to go.

For me, today, the One Thing is riding my exercise bike – something I haven’t done in many weeks. It won’t solve all my problems. It won’t make me a wonderfully successful blogger or husband or dad or grand father. It won’t even burn the last 10 pounds I’m trying to lose. It won’t effect world peace. But it will make my life better today. If I develop a habit by doing this daily, it will have a long-term positive benefit. Those kinds of long-term habits start with me doing it TODAY. And then tomorrow. And then the day after that. But even if I don’t make it a life-time habit, it will make my life better today. It would be better if it became a long-term habit, but that doesn’t take the value out of it for today.

So why am I writing about this in what’s supposed to be a marriage and family blog? Because if you want to be a better spouse or parent or any other role in your relationships, Doing One Thing Today will set you up to be that better person in your roles. “Set you up” is the operative thought. This Doing One Thing Today thing is just a useful starting point. But if you have no starting point, you’ll never reach a good destination.

I don’t get to tell you what your One Thing should be. That’s not up to me. It’s between you and God’s Spirit, Who will nudge you toward a good One Thing, if you ask Him to. I won’t even make any suggestions. You and the Holy Spirit are way smarter than me or any of my suggestions. I’ll just offer the challenge for you to spend a few minutes in focused thought, in partnership with God, right now about what the ONE THING YOU COULD DO TODAY THAT WOULD MAKE A DIFFERENCE IN YOUR LIFE.

And then do the One Thing.

And then tomorrow, ask and answer the question again, and see what God might go with it. I’m pretty sure it will be good.

Yer welcome.

From → Marriage, Parenting

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