Why I would still say “No Deal” to $239,000

*Note: Because I have been cornered in many debates about my decisions on Deal or No Deal—which I find silly, but also a bit tiresome :-)—this post is a blanket explanation and doesn’t chronicle the FUNNESS of that event. Maybe I’ll post about the FUN later!*
I believe everything I do has an impact on the reason I was put in this place, at this time, in the history of God’s world. Saying I would never change my Deal or No Deal decisions doesn’t make sense to many of you. For those of you who don’t know, I was a contestant on the show Deal or No Deal in 2007. I won a whopping $83,000. In the process of winning what is double—no, triple—some people’s yearly salary, I said “No Deal” to some extremely large amounts. In fact, I left with the second lowest amount I was offered during my game. Let me rephrase that, the ginormous sum of $83,000 was the second lowest amount I was offered during my game. I said no to $239,000, $188,000 and many other large amounts, with those two being the largest.

          If I had to go back and do it all over again, I wouldn’t change a thing. How can I explain saying no to $239,000? $188,000? I would love to say I just know it was the right thing for me and that be it. Which is in fact what I truly believe. But since that reasoning doesn’t explain much, I will try to explain how I view life, exemplified by my actions in this one instance. 

          I follow my gut, my instinct, because I believe that is one of the ways the Lord speaks with us today. When we sing “He leads me” do we really mean it? Do we really allow ourselves to be lead? I feel that He leads me in many ways, one of which is my gut, and my intuition. 

        On certain glorious occasions, when something is right, everything in my being basically screams “Yes, I know it! It’s supposed to be this way!” and a rush comes over me of thankfulness and excitement and appreciation and too many emotions to describe, but all of which lead to a resounding “YES” (or “NO” if it is wrong, of which I am equally thankful for). It doesn’t happen for every decision I make, but when it does, I know exactly what I should do. 
          I have explained this concept to many, and it seems to be difficult to grasp. It’s difficult to understand how I follow my “gut” and wholeheartedly believe in my decisions, especially when my gut told me to turn down $239,000. I know that if I allow Him, God will lead me. He will lead me down a path of the greatest potential my life can possibly hold, that I could never reach without fully trusting Him. So for those of you who are still trying to apply worldly logic to my decisions, it may be difficult to understand how 83,000 could possibly be better than 239,000 or 188,000. Here’s a common scenario:
A man is drowning in the ocean. 
A boat comes by and offers him help. 
He proudly says, “No thank you. The Lord will save me.” 
A helicopter flies over and asks if they can raise him up the ladder to bring him to safety.
Yet again, the man replies, 
“No thank you. The Lord will save me.” 
The man drowns. 
When he gets to Heaven, he asks the Lord, 
“Lord, why didn’t you save me?” 
The Lord responds, 
“I sent a boat to rescue you. 
 I also sent a helicopter.” 
          Many think the 239 was my boat and the 188 was my helicopter.

          This is not one of those instances. I do not see the 239 as something I was given that the LORD will one day ask me why I did not take it. I see the entire DoND situation as the Lord gave me a platform to speak about Him during primetime television, and AS A BONUS I received a massive amount of money that was near the maximum amount I could handle properly at that point in my life. The way I distributed the 83,000 was more carefully planned and thought out than anything else I had ever done. I knew it was the Lord’s money and that He had given it to me to distribute. 
          I know that at age 19 I would not have given away the same percentage of my winnings if I had taken the 239 or 188. Too many worldly things would have suddenly been possible. As it is, I received just enough money to pay for everything I felt the Lord wanted to  accomplish through me at that time. That is why I say 83 was perfect. $83,000 was the Lord’s way of easing me into how to handle money the way He wants His money handled. At age 19, I don’t think I could have handled 239,000 or 188,000 in an appropriate Christ-like manner. The temptations would have been too large. 
          I cannot say this is exactly what I thought at the time of saying “No Deal” to 239 or 188, but I can say that my instinct told me “No.” My gut told me “No.” For the 83 my instinct told me “Yes.” Since my instinct and my gut were precisely what led me to be on the show in the first place, I was going to listen to what I believed to be God leading me. 

          Now I see how perfect the 83 was. For those of you who like numbers and symbolism, the state of California withheld 7% of the 83,000. I never saw a check for $83,000. Instead I saw a check for $77,190 (still HUGE). So for those of you who like numbers in the Bible, you might recognize the Lord’s preference for the number 7 and then my amount becomes a little bit sweeter. California withheld 7%, and I received 77,000. I like numbers, so that makes the 83,000 even more perfect.

          All of it was a gift from the Lord anyways. Arguing about what I should have done is one of the most pointless conversations I seem to be stuck in every so often. To me, arguing about why I should have received more than EIGHTYTHREETHOUSANDDOLLARS is like a starving kid who hasn’t eaten in three days denying a banana because he wants to hold out for a banana milkshake. Seriously? 

         If I had walked away with one penny, I still would have been thankful for a free trip to California with my family and a platform to express Christ’s love to the nation, even if all of my comments about Jesus (except for two) were cut out :-). One thing they couldn’t cut out? The fact that the number 25 was in every shot with me. What does 25 trigger in most people’s minds? Christmas day. The producers like to say I picked case 25 because the girl holding the case was named Hayley. For me, the fact that the girl holding case 25 shared my name was the equivalent of God saying, “Yes, you are right to pick case 25.”

I picked case 25 because it is the day we celebrate Jesus’ birth … and because my gut told me to. 

For those of you interested, my case held $50,000 and I was never offered an amount less than $55,000. 

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