Brian and I are part of a small group program at our church. This fall, most of the small groups are studying Christian to the Core – built around the eight core values that the International Leadership Institute identified as necessary to strengthening the core of our relationship with God. It seems a little cheesy pie from the outside to be looking at the random things that happen in my life as little signs from God, but the more I open my heart and mind to Him I believe that the little happenings are exactly that. And as I’m trying to be more intentional with posting on here regularly, this latest little sign is just what I needed.
#Blogtober is a challenge, with accompanying prompts, to write a post every day in the month. There are no other requirements, and you don’t have to stick to the offered prompt (though they are great ones to get the juices flowing!) The prompts are:
I will do my best to put a little spin on each of these…we’ll see what happens!
And now for today…
If I Won the Lottery
…I’m a bit of a skeptic. It would probably take me a few minutes to accept that I even won the lottery, and then a few more to regain consciousness. And then the fun starts!
First things first:
Once that delightful lump sum made its way into my arms (or a bank vault), I would settle the most important things. Student loans? Paid. Money borrowed? Paid back with interest. House? Settled – and then sold.
It is neither fun nor original, but it’s the truth. Being free and clear of debt is the first step to making every other goal and dream happen. Honestly, that possibility alone is almost enough for me to start playing the lottery! I want to be at a point where we can discuss big plans and big ideas without a big “but money” added on at the end.
I would also do some future planning – investments for our retirement, and of course a college fund for Arthur.
College tuition was always a huge question mark for me (hence the student loans), and while I am hopeful that Arthur will benefit from scholarships like I did it is a dream to be able to help him get through with as little debt as possible. So I guess our first lottery “dream” is practical too.
Now that’s settled…
But I would quit my job. (Sorry guys!)
I would do the requisite month-long vacation to places I would love to see – like Ireland:
And a special trip to Wolfsburg, Germany to cross “visit the glass tower of Volkswagens” off of Brian’s bucket list. (A new Jetta or two would make nice souvenirs…)
There’s nothing like a bit of travel to shake off the 9-5 grind. Who knows, maybe I would even blog and update you guys while I was gone.
After the whirlwind vacation, it would be time to buy a new house. (Remember, in step 1 I sold our old one.) That process could take up its own post (note to self: write “Here’s the House I Would Buy if I Won the Lottery”) but rest assured that it would be fantastic. Which brings me to the biggest and most important thing I would do if i won the lottery…
What would you do if you knew you couldn’t fail?
Back to Christian to the Core for a moment. The value we have been discussing the last two weeks is vision, namely learning to discern and identify God’s vision for our lives. A key component of recognizing and acting on this vision is to identify a need or passion that resonates so deeply there’s no getting rid of it.
For me, that passion is for the LGBT community – particularly youth who find themselves discriminated against, turned away from church and from God, and even from the families that should love them more than anyone. LGBT youth are an estimated 10 percent of the total youth population in the U.S. but represent an estimated 40 percent of the homeless youth population – of course, it’s hard to put a real number on the issue because so many are uncounted by current reporting.
If i won the lottery, my vision would be to support existing agencies by creating more safe spaces for homeless LGBT youth – cross-agency education to touch base with these youth, education and training for prospective foster and adoptive parents with special focus on LGBT teens’ needs, and if necessary creating specific homes and shelters to take them in.
It’s sort of fitting that today is the beginning of LGBT History Month – just one of the issues that I’ll be highlighting in my personal life and blogging this month, but one of my heart’s deepest passions. Fortunately, it doesn’t take winning the lottery to stand up in support of the LGBT community today, or any other day. So until my pockets aren’t empty anymore, I will look for other ways to intentionally work for the safety and inclusion of my LGBTQIA brothers and sisters – in our communities, in society, and in our churches.
One more stop…
C’mon. Of course there will be a little bit of this.
So…what would you do if you won the lottery?
If you want to know more about the push for full LGBT inclusion in the United Methodist Church, check out Reconciling Ministries Network.