“Raindrops and roses and whiskers on kittens, these are a few of my favorite things.”
I think that’s the way the song goes. Now I get that we need rain and I don’t even mind roses. And yes I am partial to kittens but I never really thought about their whiskers. I would think they are much more favored by the kitten them by me.
As usual when I have too much quiet time sent aside for prayer, my mind wonders to such deep and pressing questions as my favorite things. For me, the list would include cinnamon buns and ice hockey.
After I fantasised about eating cinnamon buns (without gaining weight) while scoring the Stanley Cup winning goal yet again, my mind starting thinking again. This is both dangerous and difficult.
You see I have a box brain. That means to actually start thinking about anything different or new takes a lot of effort. My wife will tell you this.
“What do you want for dinner?” She’ll ask.
What do you want to do after dinner?”
That’s two boxes in less than a minute. After that I am in my nap box.
Are my favorite things really supposed to be my favorite things? What if my favorite things were different? Now I must confess that I hardly eat cinnamon buns and I hardly watch hockey and I certainly don’t play it. Or are they truly my favorite things or are they just things I wish I could have more of in my life?
To answer these questions I need to ask another one. What do I do when I am alone or have free time?
When I am alone I seek God. Yeah, I now, it sounds corny and contrived but it is true. I read the Bible and pray. When I have free time I write or work on sermons. These are some of my favorite things to do. I also would list preaching and counseling as favorites.
Some of us would have a long list of favorite things and some of us would have a short list. Like me, we would probably rattle off a superficial list of things like I did earlier.
But our favorite things, our deep down desires and wants, are often hidden under the guise of busyness and broken or forgotten dreams. We kind of get stuck in a survival routine and don’t take the time for what may be really important to us.
Take the Israelis for example. Their most important thing to do was to have a relationship with God. It ought to have been their most favorite thing to do and many times it was. But then after wandering around the desert they may have just got stuck in the routine of the exodus. Gone was the joy of their freedom and it was replaced by the drudgery of their survival. Just like us they hid their favorite things and wandered not just in the desert but from God as well. Along came a golden calf and lots of trouble before they re-found their first love, God. It was easier for them to relate to a useless and dead piece of metal to the living God.
Maybe it is easier for you to relate to the very things that take away from your dreams, goals, or your favorite things. Could it be that you have also replaced God with another master. As Bob Dylan sings you gotta serve somebody. Perhaps your pay cheque has replaced time with your spouse. Maybe going to church has replaced your alone time with God. Just like the Israelis, you are going to get into trouble if you don’t go back to your God.
The other thing about denying yourself your favorite things is what counselor types call a disconnect. This happens when who we are inside does not match what we are doing. Like a good guy who does something stupid and then guilt eats away at him.
Sometimes it works the opposite. Like maybe our favorite things are harmful things. Pornography, violence, and alcohol are some people favorite things, but they are not good for you.
The bottom line is that your most favorite things ought to be an important part of your life. And your most favorite things ought to be the very things that are life giving and God pleasing.
What are your favorite things?
Andy Becker is lead of Lighthouse Ministries which brings God’s love and presence to the North Central area of Regina, Canada. He is a writer and public speaker, a retired counsellor, and former Executive Director of Langley Hospice.