We took a vacation to New York City this summer. My Midwest born and raised daughters were awestruck by the sheer size and the number of people in New York.
Because the city is so vast and there is so much to do, I asked my kids the same question I ask before every big vacation: What is the one thing you want to do that if we don't do this trip will have been a disappointment?
(For the record, my younger daughter wanted to go to Madison Square Garden, my older daughter wanted to go to Carlo's Bakery from Cake Boss, my husband wanted to walk across the Brooklyn Bridge, and I wanted to see a Broadway show. All were accomplished.)
I started asking my kids that question years ago before we took them to Disney World. And I've discovered that it is the perfect question for a lot of scenarios in life. I now ask it not just before big vacations but at the start of the school year and at the beginning of summer.
I use it as a goal-setting tool and as a way to get them to focus on what's most important to them. The answer to that question provides a lot of insight into my kids' brains and values.
But I've discovered that it's also a good question to ask myself because it does the same thing for me. It forces me to focus on what's most important to me. And it lets me know if my values or my goals are skewed.
I ask myself things like:
What is the one thing that I want my kids to have learned in their 18 years at home?
What is the one thing I want in my marriage?
What is the one thing that I want out of a job?
If my answers don't line up with what I know God wants for me, then I know that my perception is skewed. I know that I have some work to do on myself.
Because I want my one thing in all of those areas to be focused on God and what He has planned for me. As the mom of two busy teenagers with a freelance editing and writing business and this blog, it's easy to get side-tracked. It's easy to get so focused on today, on the next hour, the next minute, that I forget to look at the big picture. I forget to focus on the important things.
Asking myself every day, what is the one most important thing for the day helps me stay focused. It makes me a better mom, a better wife and a better worker. Knowing the one thing that I need to focus on makes it easier to focus on the One who has a plan for my life.
So, today I want to ask you, "What's your one thing?" Is that "one thing" in line with what you know God wants for you?
Take a moment today and answer those questions.
If your "one thing" isn't what you want it to be, take a moment to reorient your priorities.
And tomorrow, ask the question again. Because you want your "one thing" to be pleasing to the One who has the best plan for your life.