A few weeks ago, I was sitting in Women’s Conference. I had gotten there late and I came with my 8-month-old, so I sat in the back. I was listening but I was also making a list of a hundred things I needed to get done that next week and even jotting a few of them down. Then, in my haze, I heard Sister McConkie say the following:

“When Martha received Jesus Christ into her home, she felt a tremendous desire to serve the Lord to the best of her ability. Her sister, Mary, chose to sit “at Jesus’ feet” and to hear His word. When Martha felt burdened about serving without any help, she complained, “Lord, dost thou not care that my sister hath left me to serve alone?”

I love the words of the most gentle rebuke that I can imagine. With perfect love and infinite compassion, the Savior admonished:

“Martha, Martha, thou art careful and troubled about many things:

“But one thing is needful: and Mary hath chosen that good part, which shall not be taken away from her.”

I had heard these verses before, but right there in that moment when my mind wasn’t as focused as it could have been, it was like the Spirit was speaking to my heart. “Mariah, you are careful [I looked up the literal meaning of careful in Hebrew, and it means to keep, watch, preserve. In other words, it seems to relate more to responsibility] and troubled [worried, anxious] about many things, [a clean house, being the ‘perfect’ mom, having a successful business, finding the right kindergarten for my 5 year old, keeping up on social media, losing that baby weight, fixing so and so’s problems, finding the right preschool for my 3 year old, stressing about the right time to buy a house, getting the right sleep schedule for my 8 month old, etc, etc] but one thing is needful..which shall not be taken away from you.”

It was like someone was slapping me in the face saying NONE OF THAT REALLY MATTERS! Or at least not in the big scheme of things. All those things you are losing sleep over? They have nothing to do with your ultimate purpose. In that moment, I thought back to a talk I heard a few weeks before entitled, “Spiritual Beings Having a Human Experience,” Matt Townsend talks about how the purpose of this life isn’t to have tiny bursts of spiritual experiences in a vastly human experience, but the other way around. We are, and always have been, primarily spiritual beings. We are currently in a human body that is very persuasive, but it is only temporary. And at the end of this life, all that we will take with us is our knowledge and experience.  The more we choose to make those experiences ones that bring us closer to Christ, the more our spiritual being will shine through, and the more we will crave those kinds of experiences.

I went home and thought for a few days about how I was going to take what I had learned and felt and apply it into my life. I started making a list of things I never regret doing that, as a result, build my spirit in positive ways. Here is my personal list, (not in any particular order).

  • Reading the scriptures
  • Exercising
  • Service
  • Being authentic/genuine/me
  • Getting enough sleep
  • Listening
  • Eating healthy
  • Being kind
  • Spending quality time with family
  • Praying
  • Having FHE
  • Going to Church
  • Reading something uplifting
  • Teaching my children about the gospel

When I make decisions about how to spend my time, I’ve started to use my list to keep me centered and help me choose ‘the better part’. I’m learning that there is power in saying yes to something I know will be positive, even if it’s something small. And it’s all those positives that add up to a life spent in pursuit of that one needful thing.



-Mariah Robinson lives in Orange County, California where she is a mother to 3 boys ages 5, 3, and 8 months. She is the founder of Cover Me Ponchos, a company that sells breastfeeding nursing ponchos. She works alongside her husband to grow it a little at a time while raising their house of boys together. She is happiest with her boys in the sunshine or alone with a good audiobook.

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