Some kids crave attention. Me? I wanted to be the favorite. Hungry for approval and acceptance, I always wanted to be the favorite friend, the favorite student, the favorite grandchild, and–I’ll admit it–the favorite daughter. I really wish I could say that I’m over such silliness, but I’m not.
I still want to be the favorite friend, the favorite teacher, the favorite grandchild, the favorite daughter, and, yes, the favorite parent. Of course, anyone who knows my husband knows I’m doomed to lose the favorite parent race. How do you compete with cuddly, funny, and downright likeable? You don’t.
When I was younger, I worked hard for favorite status. Not the favorite friend? Here, let me give you cuts in line, buy you something, or take your side in an argument. Not the favorite student? Okay, let me stay after class, help you clean, and tell you that you are MY favorite. Not the favorite grandchild? Well, I’ll eat everything you order for me, make you laugh harder, and call you more often. Not the favorite daughter? I’ll look as pretty as possible, make straight A’s, and hold an office in every club that I am eligible to join. Who knows, I may even tattle once in a while to even the scales!
You know, I hate to think about what I’d be like now if I still felt the need to work for favorite status. I’m pretty sure it would be ugly to watch. Thankfully, I don’t.
See, God’s opinion is the only one that matters, and I am His favorite, not in the sense that He loves me more than everyone else, but in the sense that He doesn’t love me less than anyone else.
About ten years ago, a friend of mine noticed that I was caught in a spiritual hamster wheel. She saw that my constantly competing with others for favorite status was distracting me from God’s best, hurting my relationship with others, and destroying my self-confidence (you can’t win them all, you know).
“Angela,” she began gently, “you’re His favorite, you know.” Blue eyes big, she pointed Heavenward and went on to recite a very familiar scripture, one I’d learned as a child and heard so often that I didn’t really think about the words anymore or the miracle behind them.
“John 3:16 says, ‘For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.’ Don’t you see?” she smiled. “This verse is about you. Even if you had been the only person in the whole world, God would still have sent Jesus, the very best that He had to give, to the cross to save you. That makes you His favorite, doesn’t it?”
It took a moment to sink in, but when it did, I blubbered a “thank you” and squeezed her tiny, blonde neck, something I often did after one of our talks. I was never quite the same after that.
Sure, I still like to be the favorite, the favorite friend, the favorite teacher, the favorite grandchild, the favorite daughter, and the favorite parent. In fact, I do a little dance inside when it seems that I might be at the top of the medal stand for a brief, shining moment, and, although I hate to admit it, I get jealous sometimes, give with ulterior motives, and begrudge others the attention and recognition they receive. I usually catch it early, though, and confess and repent as quickly as I can. I do not want to get sucked into the hamster wheel again.
Who needs that grief? Not me. I am God’s favorite, after all.
So are you!