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Better Than the Lottery

Better Than the Lottery

About two months ago, I had a major epiphany while doing one of my typical late nights at the computer. Usually, I’m up working on new designs for my t-shirts or coffee mugs, or I’m sitting on Facebook liking people’s status updates. But this night, was different. I was just up for no good reason. Then, it happened. Suddenly, I remembered that I had a pocket full of game tickets! While I was in line at the grocery store earlier that night, a lady in front of me asked if I was playing the store’s sweepstakes, and when I said, “yes” she handed me ten game tickets! How did I forget those ten little pieces of possibility were still sitting in my coat pocket, waiting to be opened? 

So, not wanting to wake my little one, I tiptoed over to my coat and quietly sifted through my pockets to find those extra game tickets. When I found them, I pulled out my game board and sat down to see if I had any matches. One by one, I kept matching game tickets on my board. I was having so much fun! (Yes, for a stay-at-home mom, this counts as fun.) Then, I realized that I was one game ticket away from winning the $100 Gift Card Prize! I got excited. I flipped my board over and saw that I was just two tickets away from a $50,000 car of my choice! I looked at the clock, 2:45 am, looked over at my bed and thought, “It’s late, maybe I should go to bed.” Then, I had a second thought, “what if I have that last game ticket?!” My mind was made up. Even though the store was closed, I was gonna stay up and go through all my game tickets to see if I had won!

So with all the glee and excitement of a child searching the house for hidden Christmas gifts, I tore through my purses and pockets looking for every game ticket I had stowed away over the past few months. I gathered all my findings into a pile on the table and sat down resolved that I would check all of them before I went to bed. I was so excited, matching ticket after ticket. Then, I started to find duplicates. Slowly my stack of possibilities turned into the pile of tickets I had already matched. As that pile grew, my hope for winning dwindled. By the time I got down to the last ticket, I realized that I was a sucker. Each prize section on my board was missing one or two game pieces. I had figured out the game. The store had printed out millions of the random ones, but the one or two tickets everybody needed to complete each section were a rare find. Dang! I was crushed—still a little hopeful, but mostly crushed.

I had stayed up all night, way into the wee hours of the morning, pursuing a one in a million chance. That’s like playing the lottery! And with that realization, it hit me. Epiphanies come to me like this all the time. Right at the moment when I should feel down, or discouraged, I get the lesson. And the lesson of this moment was that I should not be pursuing a one in a million chance more aggressively than I’m pursuing my “sure thing.” My gifts, my calling, my purpose, the things I know God invested in me are my sure things. Inspiring others energizes me; I know that is my sure thing. Designing everything from business cards to wedding gowns, excites me; I know designing is my sure thing. Writing books to empower and entertain children, brings joy to my heart; I know writing is my sure thing. God has placed gifts, interests, and passions in you as well, those are your sure things.

When I sat there holding that last game ticket, I felt a combination of inspiration and sheer stupidity. I just have to be honest, I was a little embarrassed. I mean, I shamelessly begged for game tickets in my Facebook status, and I won’t say what I did when I saw some in the trash, lol. Where is that same hunger to stay up all night working on my dream? Where is that same shameless assertiveness for promoting my new children’s book? I should not be more willing to aggressively pursue a one in a million chance, than I am to perfect who God created me to be. And neither should you. As I held that last game ticket, shaking my head at the loss, I really felt as if God was saying, “Why don’t you put that same energy into your sure thing?” And that’s my challenge to you.

Maybe a sweepstakes isn’t your thing, but you turn your phone off so you can watch your favorite TV show, uninterrupted. Maybe you won’t stay up late sticking tickets to a game board, but you’ve painstakingly studied stats and game highlights to perfect your March Madness brackets. Where is that energy for your sure thing? Where is that same level of commitment for the gifts that are inside of you? Look, I’m not your judge. I outed myself first. We’re in this together. We all have something in us that we know we were created to do. Whatever your sure thing is, please know that your odds of succeeding are way better than winning the lottery. Give your purpose the attention, the energy, the hope, and the time that you would a perceived winning lottery ticket. Because with this one, the odds are in your favor. Be blessed.

By the way, If you‘re curious how close I got to winning, here are the pics of my game board. Enjoy!

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Marching Forward Into 2012

Today’s date (1-2-12 ) is indicative of what this year is about for me. I’m all about progress—almost to a fault. If I’m not making progress, I’m irritable, short with everyone, and generally not the best person to be around. Progress energizes me. It’s better to me than your best cup of coffee. Coming off of a year like 2011—where I experienced more heartache, loss, and transition than anyone should at one time—I believe that if I survived all that, I better march into this year like someone chased me out 2011!

I have no reason to be looking back and living in the past. So when I got up this morning and said today’s date to myself, I heard it differently. I didn’t hear “one, two, twenty-twelve”, I heard the rhythm of the individual numbers, “one, two, one, two.” And as I sat here journaling, I began to picture myself in a parade with a marching band behind me. You know, you never see people walking in a parade looking back at the float to see if it’s following too closely behind them. They just keep marching steadily forward, “one, two, one, two,” trusting that whoever is behind them is doing the same.

That’s how I want to approach this year, as if I am at the front of that parade, with the marching band behind me, “one, two, one, two.” I have to keep moving forward, one foot in front of the other.  I can’t look back. I’ve gotta keep my eyes in front of me, all the while hearing that gentle rhythm, “one, two, one….” Can you hear it? Can you hear that gentle rhythm pushing us forward into this amazing new year of possibilities? If so, then march with me. “One, two, one….”

If you like this post, maybe you’ll like some of my other work.

An empowering way to start this year off right is to set a reasonable resolution that you can keep, and post it somewhere that you will see it every day. This is why I created these customizable beverage mugs. 2012 Resolution MugI have a great example of a reasonable resolution printed on this mug. It states, “I resolve to do more of what energizes me and less of what drains me.” You can use this one or create your own and have it printed directly on your mug! It’s not too late to set your resolution and march steadily throughout 2012. Click the image to order yours today!

 

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