As I came out of the local craft shop, a rustic wooden sign caught my attention: My
Favorite Things Aren’t Things. I paused mid-step as the catchy, profound slogan grabbed me. Something in those five simple words struck a chord in my soul. Before I found Christ, I was distrustful of people, filled with fear, and consumed with unforgiveness towards those who had hurt me. I realized as I reread the sign that I am now a totally different person. I enjoy people of all ages, shapes and skin color.
My favorite things are people, experiences, books that tell stories, and photographs. This picture is from one of my adventures to Zambia in November 2013. One of my good friends, I will call her Sparky, lives in another part of the state. When she calls me, I can count on her to ask me if I have any new stories; she is asking me about my life. I can’t wait to hear her stories. People are special because of their unique stories. Photographs help tell our stories.
What are your favorite things? Have you ever thought about why they are your favorite things?
Material things seem to be the indicator of success in our American culture. The grander the house, the more impressive we appear. The redder and faster the car, the cooler the guy seems. The larger the diamond, the more envied the bride. If equipped with internet-ready smartphones, 60” flat screen TVs, and wireless laptops and iPads, our life seems complete. I ask myself in brief moments of reflection if any of these things bring true happiness. I’ll admit these electronic tools are convenient and even expedient; but do they bring contentment and true happiness? In my humble opinion, no!
Our hearts may long for prestige and recognition if we deceived into things that things bring contentment. By reading the newspaper headlines, we see that the rich and famous have disappointments, struggles and failures like t
he rest of us. After hearing about the fights, affairs, and prenuptials, we can incorrectly assume they aren’t feeling the same pain, sorrow, or depression we do. While living under a public microscope and appearing with sculpted makeup, fancy hair, and designer clothes, they are human and feel lonely, sad, or embarrassed just like we do. The abundance of their possessions can’t hold together their relationships; their expensive things don’t stop the pain or suicides.
I like the simple things in life that allow me to enjoy people. Recently, I was able to participate in a family fun night at the park. There were babies being passed around, children drawing with chalk on the pavement, and children and adults engrossed in a hot game of volleyball. The laughter was infectious. This is what connects us and binds our hearts together.
What’s the point? Things don’t matter; people matter. Love people and use things.
“It is absolutely clear that God has called you to a free life. Just make sure that you don’t use this freedom as an excuse to do whatever you want to do and destroy your freedom. Rather, use your freedom to serve one another in love; that’s how freedom grows. For everything we know about God’s Word is summed up in a single sentence: Love others as you love yourself. That’s an act of true freedom.” Galatians 5:13-14 MSG