Feeling a Little Puzzled?
I will have to make a confession, I love jigsaw puzzles. I love the challenge, the sense of accomplishment and the process of making it all develop from a pile of pieces into a finished project. There have been different eras of my life where I got into them more than others. Once I do catch the bug I usually dive into puzzle building mode for weeks on end, completing multiple puzzles in a row.
I have learned a few lessons from building puzzles that I would like to share:
A lesson in Vision.
If you have ever constructed a puzzle yourself you know that after you dump the pieces out the first step in the process is to place the box top with the picture on it at a location that all who are working on the puzzle can see. Why, because that image of what the future product should look like is the only basis for starting any systematic approach to actually building it. If you have no idea what the outcome should be then you have a long road ahead. By constantly checking your choices and moves against the vision, comparing the desired outcome with the possible outcome, you progress. I have found the same to be true in life. When I lack vision it is hard to put the pieces together into anything that makes sense.
A lesson in Faith
As we dump those pieces out of the box we have faith that those particular pieces will result in that particular puzzle. To me, this is a great example of why God can really make a difference in a person’s life. He provides vision and confidence, therefore a path can be determined and inspired. A person without God’s vision for their life is like the puzzle builder with no picture to confidently look at. Or worse yet, like a puzzle builder who has had pieces from many different puzzles dumped together. One from culture, one from experience, one from imagination and so on. You have a pile of pieces, but who has the patience to do trial and error on each one hoping to produce a beautiful picture in the end. All you end up with is frustration, stress, spent energy and end the end most people would give up trying to assemble it all because of repeated failed attempts. Throw on top of that scenario a lack of faith that any of the pieces would ever actually result in a completed picture and you have just burst your motivational bubble for trying in the first place.
A lesson in Patience
I cant remember exactly the largest puzzle I have assembled. I am sure it was well over 1000 pieces. But I do know that when you sit down and start one you need to have a true sense of what you are getting into. There will be times when you are confused, frustrated, sore, tired, bored, distracted and unable to think clearly. You have to push through all of those emotions if you are going to persevere to the end. As I said before I have spent many days working on just one puzzle, and many of those times there were multiple people working on the project as well. A lot of people just don’t have the patience to do them. It may be becoming a lost art in our instant access culture today. And so it is with our Christian experiences. It is a journey of a 1000 miles. Completed by taking the next step over and over one at a time.
I think I am going to try and talk my family into digging out one of the old puzzle boxes we have hidden around here somewhere and starting a new one soon. Because we all know the puzzle is so much more fun to work on when you have the people you love most helping you put the pieces together. Wish me luck?
Do you like puzzles? What is the biggest, hardest puzzle you have ever completed?