Gratitude Friday: That Time I Didn’t Win the Lottery…

So fess up, did you buy a lottery ticket?

Because I confess, we did.

A few. More than a couple, less than several, and certainly not a lot.

Just enough to have fun.

Enough to help us dream about what it would be like to have more money than we could possibly spend and how we’d do our best to spend it regardless of the improbability.

We talked about the lawyer we’d hire, the trust we’d create, the ten percent we’d give to the church, and how much fun it would be to write that check.

We decided we wouldn’t move but we’d for sure pay off the house, add the bonus room upstairs, regrade the yard for better drainage, and replace the weeds with actual grass.

The practical people of the world understand these kinds of dreams.

Dr wants a new truck. I’d like to get my hair done more often than every two years. College funds for the kids, maybe for me too (I love school). Retirement accounts. A vacation for our 20th anniversary in a couple of years. We could fly home to Alabama. Often.

Anonymously pay for infertile couples’ treatments. Pay off the lunch accounts for our entire school system. And the rest of the Metroplex. Tip the waitstaff with thousands instead of tens.

Most people wouldn’t notice a single change.

We’d stay put because we love our neighborhood, our schools, our church, our jobs, and friends.  I’d still shop in thrift stores and consignment shops and online trade groups because second-hand is a value for me instead of just a budget conscious requirement. ALDI has my whole heart for my whole life regardless of my bank account. I might give up the ShopKick mission and just buy Starbucks gifts cards for the teachers instead of earning them over months of scanning products all over town.

But honestly, we are pretty content with our life.

We have all we truly need but not so much that our needs and wants get all mixed up. Too many confuse those two.

It’s fun to dream every now, even crazy, unlikely, better-odds-at-getting-hit-by-lightening dreams. And dreams that include winning over a billion dollars in the lottery are most definitely crazy.

Unless you’re that one person in South Carolina.

High five, Stranger.

We are a family of dreamers.

Years ago, before infertility became our biggest mess, we focused on ministering to newlyweds by helping to teach a newlywed Sunday School class.

That first year of marriage, well. It was a big ole mess.

We’d gotten married and realized, ummmm, this is not at all what we’d expected marriage to look like. To try and understand what the realities of marriage were versus the romanticized version from TV, movies, and music lyrics (I’m looking at you, Country Music), we went through marriage counseling, read lots of books, talked, and we dreamed together.

My best advice for newlyweds now is do everything The Five Love Languages tells you to do and then spend serious time together dreaming.

That’s what you do when you’re falling in love in the beginning. You dream, share your story, talk about your passions.

But then we get married and we spend more time talking about the mortgage and the kids’ behavior in school and we forget about the dreaming.

Dreaming is the fun we stop doing.

But we gain pages and pages and pages of insight about our loved ones when we dream together.

Those ten-hour road trips back to Alabama offer us solid, exclusive time to dream. We plan projects for the house. Talk through work frustrations and let go of the stress. There have been hours of planning for graduate school, the career after that, my career, kids, the next step in raising our kids, our church, friends, and after all that, we still have plenty of time for the, “What If’s.”

Ten hours is a long time, friends.

Dreaming clarifies your passions, gives language to your leanings, offers glimpses into your image-bearer being.

If you get riled up and excited about something on a day-long road trip, then you might need to pursue that a bit more. Other than the usual joy for convenience store junk food we all love to eat on the road.

Because road trip calories don’t count.

When was the last time you dreamed with someone? Gave a voice to those things you fall asleep thinking on but squash down during the daylight hours?

Dreaming is healthy and it’s a luxury. We get to dream when we have enough food in our belly, when we’re dry and warm and loved. Dreams are for the hopeful and the guided, for those who know their determination might actually pay off, for those who believe they have a purpose and a place in their world.

You don’t have to buy a lottery ticket to start dreaming. Take the ten bucks and dream over a banana split or an order of cheesy fries. Dream during your commute or as you rock your newborn at 2 in the morning. Dream together on a date or as a family over an ordinary Tuesday night supper. Have friends over ask them about their dreams.

But don’t avoid dreaming just because you believe it’ll never happen or it’s something frivolous and silly kids do.

Maybe it’s the exact thing God will use so that He can restore your marriage, help you love your enemies, empathize with the widows and orphans, show you where your true treasure lies.

Maybe He’ll use dreaming to remind you of your purpose and place even in the midst of your every day, ordinary, lottery-losing life.

That’s what He does for us and we are so grateful.

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