But, show me a single piece of a random puzzle, and I will carry it with me for weeks! Why is this? I’ll give you a little backstory:
First off, I’m kind of a recovering perfectionist who is rather sensitive and likes to control things (or at least know what’s happening so I can choose not to control). Now that you know a little about me, I’ll let you know that this all started years and years ago when I was just learning this about myself. It was summertime and we were at my favorite place in the world - Colorado - for a week long Youth Group camp. There were thousands of kids and dozens of sessions where a speaker would come up and tell a little of their story and a lot about Jesus. I don’t remember too much about the camp in great detail but I remember one session like it was yesterday. Have you ever had a moment in your life where God hands you something, and you just know that you’ll hold onto that lesson for the rest of your life? That’s what happened in this session.
The woman leading the activity had us all divide into groups of about ten people. Then, she handed out these bags with puzzles in them (as well as a reference picture so we knew what we were working with). We were instructed to construct this puzzle as fast as possible. As a competitive, hands-on perfectionist, I - of course - was right in the middle. We all worked to complete the puzzle quickly as a team. I remember feeling frustrated because there were so many hands and we had to finish quickly and (oh no) I wasn’t in control. All I could do was put a few pieces here and there. But hey! Our team finished first with the rest of the teams close behind. I thought that was the end of it but the woman leading the session then had us return our current puzzles and grab a new one. This time, however, there were different rules. Instead of a free for all,
(1) We couldn’t have the reference picture.
(2) We had to have someone safeguard the puzzle pieces (so the group didn’t have access to them).
(3) We had someone hold a timer, set to 20 seconds.
(4) We only received one piece at a time, every 20 seconds.
Can you see where this was going? I certainly didn’t at the time. And so it went. We waited, and acted, then waited, and acted. This went on for about 3 minutes. The most frustrating thing was, there wasn’t enough work to do! Only one person was trying to fit the pieces together and that person was not me. I’m not proud to admit that I was the most impatient I think I’ve ever been and for something that really didn’t matter that much.
For some reason, twenty seconds feels a lot longer (1) when doing planks and (2) when waiting for a stinkin’ puzzle piece.
We had only gotten about ten pieces when she called us back again. The session leader explained how this activity pertained to life:
Life isn’t like the first time we did the activity
-when we’re in control
-when we can see the picture
-when we can quickly (and perfectly) complete the activity.
Instead, we can’t control the timing of when we get the next piece. God does. We don’t know what the overall picture of our puzzle will look like. God does. We can’t always see how the pieces fit together, even when He does give them to us. But God does. It’s our job to sit back, relinquish control, and trust God; one piece at a time. To start there, be patient, and keep going.
That’s the message of trust I’ve held onto for years and a message I feel everyone should know. It’s really, really hard to not know what comes next, not know what to do with the pieces we’ve been given, and to not know the end result. But then again, it’s not our job to know everything. Our job is to do our very best with what God’s given us and to trust Him with what’s left.
So, that’s where my love and appreciation for puzzle pieces comes from. Whenever I see one, it’s a reminder to trust God with both my current and next piece.
Well, have a blessed day and blessed week! I’ll see you again soon ;)
Hi, I'm Abigail Dorn, the founder and director of Arts With Love.
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