Just One Thing

Our internal compass doesn’t require handbooks and hours of training to operate. We needn’t navigate difficult trails. In fact, we may become lost in life if we try to take direction from every good impulse or idea that comes to us. After viewing a discussion by two very wise women, I decided to follow their advice and work on doing just one thing every day that my heart, mind, and spirit led me to do.

The results have been small, but heart-warming and encouraging. I know I can’t and won’t do everything I could do and even should do, but I can certainly seek to find and follow my compass to do the most important thing in my sector of life’s map. When I stopped trying to check off every item on my list and beating myself up for the things I didn’t get to, my compass became more powerful and sensitive in directing me daily to just one thing.

Here is one simple example. I was part of a group of volunteers with an impossible timetable and little training who were embarking on a daunting task. One element of our service seemed to be full of bumps and wrong turns. I was frustrated. I couldn’t understand why we were struggling to serve efficiently. By no small coincidence, I learned the woman in charge of this element was herself one of the least experienced of all the workers. Seeking guidance, I knew the one thing to do. I quietly slipped her a note and thanked her for taking on this monumental task, despite her lack of experience. Weeks later, she wept as she told me that she had been praying that just one person would recognize her efforts and progress. Just one thing for both of us.

I recently attended the funeral of Bonnie Pettersson, a woman of great faith and good works. She came at the “one more thing” a bit differently, but it worked for her. At the end of the day, no matter how exhausted she was, she searched her heart to know just one more thing she should do for someone else. Her life, influence, and legacy are a testament that daily doing one more thing blessed her and many others beyond measure.

I love the story of Mary and Martha in the Bible. Martha is earnestly serving and trying to do many things. Mary, on the other hand, follows her internal compass and sits at the Savior’s feet–that one needful thing. Christ declares, “Mary hath chosen that good part, which shall not be taken away from her.”(Luke 10:42)

Members of a women’s organization were recently given a challenge to find a small and simple thing that they were led to do and then write down how the experience made them feel. Here are some things they were guided to do. You can read more details about them here.

  • Show up at school to have lunch with a struggling child
  • Send a text of reassurance and support
  • Consciously show more love and patience with family members
  • Visit the hospital to paint a friend’s toenails
  • Offer a ride, not knowing why
  • Write to government representatives in support of a friend
  • Take a friend to lunch before her surgery
  • Go to a wedding celebration, despite plans to stay home
  • Enlist husband to make free car repairs for a young single mom
  • Share garden veggies

Other directions from our internal compass may be bigger and life-changing, requiring great courage to follow, such as the story shared by Carolina in our board message this month. If we are already experienced at using our compass, we will be prepared for larger challenges. Regardless of the scope of the journey, focus on that one essential thing. Learn to recognize direction from your internal compass and it will guide you powerfully.


 Written by Norma Hendrickson