If you’ve been reading this blog long enough, you are already familiar with my crazy.
If not, you will be soon.
Even though I’m actually pretty boring.
A fun evening for me involves a cup of coffee, a sharp pencil, and a book of word puzzles. I’m so boring that I don’t like wearing more than two colors at a time.
I watch golf.
Now, I’m not completely vanilla. I have a bit of quirky in me too, when you consider all of my ridiculous facial expressions and the collection of PEZ dispensers that I used to have on display in my family room. Not to mention the fact that I’ve done my fair share of things that would make you want to point to your temple and twirl your finger.
All things considered, I’d say I’m more vanilla bean. Like the ice cream – overall pretty subdued, with a few flecks of flavor to make it a bit more interesting.
Given my (predominantly boring) vanilla bean nature, you can imagine my reaction when God had me audition for Wheel of Fortune.
Remember those word puzzles I love so much? Well, normally I stick to doing them with that pencil I mentioned. But sometimes I happen upon an episode of Wheel of Fortune, which I always enjoy. (You can solve the puzzles without your pencil getting dull!)
Anyway, it seems like every time I see that show I think, “Wouldn’t it be fun to be on Wheel of Fortune?”
Because, wouldn’t it?
And apparently, in some long-past conversation, I actually shared that thought. I don’t know when or to whom. But I did.
Because one day, as I was driving with my family, an interesting announcement came on the radio: the Wheel of Fortune auditions were coming to our area. Immediately after this announcement, one of my children said, “MOM! YOU SHOULD TOTALLY DO THAT!”
And I said, “WHY? Why should I totally do that?
And the response was, “Because you’ve ALWAYS wanted to be on that show!”
And then this happened inside my brain:
Have I? Well, it would be fun, but I didn’t know I’ve always wanted to be on that show. I mean, I don’t know. It would be cool to go on there during Best Friends week with my BFF, but not like, BY MYSELF. And I can’t afford to fly out there! And even if I could, I would make a complete fool of myself because it’s always easier to solve those things at home than in the studio…..
So basically, I Freaked. Out.
Over the next several weeks I’d hear the ad again and subsequently remind myself that I could not possibly make it to the first two sessions of auditions because we had a soccer game we had to go to. Then I’d sort of pretend that Something Very Important was going to happen after the soccer game, making my participation in the third and final session equally impossible.
That was one miserable soccer game.
But, as I was stewing over Wheel of Fortune auditions at my child’s soccer game, I realized that I was afraid. And confused.
I didn’t trust myself to know how much I wanted to be on the show. I didn’t think I wanted it that badly, yet I sensed I’d regret not trying. Was this God nudging me? Was He trying to teach me something about fear? Or obedience? But for goodness sake, why Wheel of Fortune? Why would God care about a GAME SHOW? It’s not like He needed me to buy Him some vowels!
God let me sit with my tangle of emotions until I realized the only way to resolve them was to go audition – even if I had no idea why.
If God wanted vowels, I’d go buy vowels.
So I went.
And let me just tell you, girls, how God uses the strangest things.
There were hundreds of people. After we filled out our entry forms, all we could do was wait. The last session hadn’t even ended and they had to clear everyone out before it would be our turn.
It was a long wait.
I started talking to the girl next to me. She’d been in the first session of the day, so she knew exactly how it worked. Turned out, I wasn’t at an actual audition. There would be several people randomly selected from our group to participate in each of ten rounds. Only about fifty of us would make it on stage. Only a few of those would make it to an actual audition, which would be held a few weeks later.
As I kept talking with my new friend, I learned a lot about Wheel of Fortune. She seemed to know everything about the show. She told me that you can also apply for an audition online. She had already submitted an application and explained the selection process to me. See, she was serious about getting on the show. She loves Wheel of Fortune. She doesn’t miss a single episode. If she isn’t home, she records it. She has a Spin ID so she can be an at-home contestant. She checks the website. Every day.
Next to us was a young man who joined our conversation. It was clear he’d been watching Wheel for years. He had episodes memorized. He knew how specific contestants had solved certain puzzles: what spins they had, the letters they chose, and the guesses they made. He was passionate about strategic letter selection.
I mean to belittle none of this. I only share it so you can imagine how much these people loved Wheel of Fortune. They had been waiting years for the opportunity to audition.
And there I was, basically on a whim.
My ongoing assault on God went something like, “I DO NOT belong here, God. I don’t love this show like these people do! And I know this isn’t about buying you vowels because I just found out that contestants DON’T EVEN BUY VOWELS anymore, so you’d better not put me on that stage!”
It was all just a little too much bean for my vanilla, you know?
But God was merciful. I didn’t get called on stage.
And I went home satisfied that I’d passed the test God had given me. I obeyed when it made no sense. I overcame fear.
And maybe that’s all it was supposed to be about.
But lately I’ve been wondering if there was more to it.
Like maybe God was asking me to approach my faith the way devoted fans approach Wheel of Fortune.
What if I wouldn’t dare miss a day of what God was trying to show me? What if my ID(entity) was attached to my faith and I checked every day to see if God was calling my number for a certain task? What if I studied all the players who’d gone before me and learned from the way they played?
Maybe my Wheel of Fortune experience wasn’t so much about conquering fear as it was about truly longing to play the game.
Truth is, when it comes to my faith, I realize I want to belong with the folks whose dedication might look a little crazy. I want to be one of those people who will do anything just to participate.
It took me a while to see it, but I think I get it now:
I want Wheel of Fortune Faith.
What about you?
O God, You are my God; I shall seek You earnestly; My soul thirsts for You, my flesh yearns for You, In a dry and weary land where there is no water.” – Psalm 63:1