When Saint Augustine (354 – 430 C.E.) penned the timeless words “Lord, our hearts are restless until they rest in Thee,” he spoke volumes to us who live in an even more complex world, with never-ending distractions, and who frequently wobble with restlessness. He eventually discovered his one thing, and the world was never the same.
We observe a similar “one thing” strategy among revered and influential leaders in modern Christian history, e.g., Albert Schweitzer, Mother Teresa or Dr. Martin Luther King. Each discovered his or her “one thing,” pursued it with abandon and persevered with paradoxical “rest.”
If you could do one thing to make a significant, lasting, possibly life-changing difference in your level of personal fulfillment, would you do it? This “one thing” might be a decision, phone call, commitment, or tough conversation. It might consume a minute, a month or a lifetime, but it’s a decision you know deep down would bring more meaning and purpose to your life.
Take a moment and honestly consider how you spend your time. Ask yourself:
- “Even if I didn’t get paid a cent, would I still do this?”
- “Would doing this inspire me every day?”
- “Does doing this come as naturally to me as breathing?”
- “Do I feel I’ve been given a special gift to do this?”
- “Does time seem to fly when I’m engaged in this activity?”
If so, then you are pursuing life as you were born to pursue it, perhaps paving a path for others, helping people live, learn, love, laugh, and leave the world in better condition than they found it. You’re enjoying some good “rest.”
It’s not that we have too little time to do all the things we need to do, but instead attempt to do too many things in the time we have.
Instead, we should be more like postage stamps, sticking to one thing until we get there!
This takes mindfulness, deliberateness, intentionality and focus. Researchers say an idle phone conversation while driving takes a 40 percent bite out of our focus and, surprisingly, can have the same effect as being drunk! Maybe it’s time to reduce distractions.
Have you been in an indecisive holding pattern because you insist upon knowing conclusively what you’ll be doing in 10 years? Unlike in the movie “Back to the Future,” Doc Brown isn’t going to fly the DeLorean back from 2043, land on your doorstep, hop out with his “future glasses” and give you a new compass heading into your yet-to-come.
The future is now. Honor the one thing you know in your heart you are being called to do. This process is sequential, not simultaneous. Lorne Whitehead noted in the American Journal of Physics (1983) how one domino has the momentum to topple another that is 50% larger. Starting with a two inch domino, “geometric progression” means the 23rd domino would be taller than the Eiffel Tower and the 57th would nearly reach the moon!
Whatever your “one thing” is, it will not leave you alone, because the one thing you have that nobody else has is YOU — your voice, your mind, your story, your dream. The inspiring Albert Schweitzer (1875-1965 C.E.) wrote: “I don’t know what your destiny will be, but one thing I know: the only ones among you who will be really happy are those who will have sought and found how to serve.”