Puzzling times

Puzzling times

I love puzzles! and yet…puzzles are so frustrating!

Little over a week ago, I decided it was time to open the puzzle that I had purchased last fall and had been sitting on my bookshelf just waiting to be opened. I love puzzles and yet they are exhausting and frustrating for me.   

Here’s a few reasons why I love puzzles: They have become a grounding, prayerful, meditative and reflecting practice for me. What I mean by this, is that it allows me to block out the world as I focus on the puzzle, working through thoughts, plans, challenges, problems, emotions, etc. In talking with a friend one morning she shared that she was amazed because of what surfaces in my mind as I work on the puzzle.

Here’s why puzzles are so frustrating: Because I’m convinced with every puzzle, that there will be at least one piece missing, or that when pieces don’t fit and I can’t find that one piece – that Zeke ate it because it fell off the table, or I realize that I’ve sat much longer than what I had planned to and time escaped me (For this reason, oftentimes, I only allow myself to work on the puzzle during lunch and dinner/after dinner) And then there is the infamous question: Why won’t that one piece fit there?! 

As I poured the 1,000 pieces out on the table, I begin to sort the edge pieces from the inside pieces and then begin to complete the frame. This puzzle was the first one that I was missing an edge piece. It took me five days to find it! I knew it HAD to be in there! 

Have you ever been looking for something and couldn’t find it? How’d you feel? Odds are, you became frustrated, started causing a stir in the house, and became fixated on finding that one thing. Nothing else seemed to matter.  The more you look, the more frustrated you become. The more frustrated you become, the more fixated you are. The more fixated you are, the less you see anything and everyone else around you as you declare “Where is that thing!?” 

Or maybe you are feeling puzzled about how things will fit and fall into place as we continue to live life on pause and moving forward. We want things to fit exactly as they were, or how we think they should be… or will be, and we might soon discover that the pieces we are trying to make work, just won’t fit because it’s the wrong spot, it’s the wrong timing, or just didn’t work.

Why won’t that piece just fit!?

It could also be that you are looking ahead and wondering what God has planned for your life. After all, you have plans and dreams and hopes for your family, for your life, what happens when things don’t go as planned and your plans become just that… your plans. Do you continue to try to make things fit, even when they clearly don’t?

What is it that you are fixating on that is holding you back from the rest of life?

For the first three days of working on the puzzle, I was fixated on finding that one final edge piece. I could NOT believe that I still hadn’t found it. I felt embarrassed and somewhat silly to share that I still hadn’t found the final edge piece! And then I realized that looking for that one piece, being fixated on that one thing…was holding me back from working on the rest of the puzzle!

I began to wonder what in life am I fixating on that’s holding me back from living my best life? Where in my life, have I become immobilized and fixated on certain things? In these reflections, I began to recall various scripture passages about trusting God and allowing God to continue to work. Verses such as

Such as Psalm 56:3-4 “O Most High, when I am afraid,
    I put my trust in you. In God, whose word I praise,
    in God I trust; I am not afraid; what can flesh do to me?”

or Proverbs 3:5-6 “Trust in the Lord with all your heart,
    and do not rely on your own insight. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.”

and Psalm 37:3-5 “Trust in the Lord, and do good;
    so you will live in the land, and enjoy security.
Take delight in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the Lord; trust in him, and he will act.

Hebrews 12:1-2 “Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight and the sin that clings so closely, and let us run with perseverance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus the pioneer and perfecter of our faith, who for the sake of the joy that was set before him endured the cross, disregarding its shame, and has taken his seat at the right hand of the throne of God.”

There are many more verses and stories in scripture that went through my mind as I worked. I prayed asking God to work, heal, and allow God’s plans to unfold as God sees fit, not me. This hymn also kept surfacing as I worked:

I Surrender All

All to Jesus I surrender; 
all to him I freely give; 
I will ever love and trust him, 
in his presence daily live. 

Refrain:
I surrender all, I surrender all, 
all to thee, my blessed Savior, 
I surrender all. 

All to Jesus I surrender; 
humbly at his feet I bow, 
worldly pleasures all forsaken; 
take me, Jesus, take me now. 
(Refrain) 

All to Jesus I surrender; 
make me, Savior, wholly thine; 
fill me with thy love and power; 
truly know that thou art mine. 
(Refrain) 

All to Jesus I surrender; 
Lord, I give myself to thee; 
fill me with thy love and power; 
let thy blessing fall on me. 
(Refrain) 

All to Jesus I surrender; 
now I feel the sacred flame. 
O the joy of full salvation! 
Glory, glory, to his name! 
(Refrain)

Do you see it?
It’s in there!

It seems that in order for us to trust, we need to let go of something. More specifically, to trust God to work out some details, we need to let go of our own agenda’s and plans and dreams and hopes. To begin to fixate on God more often, and less often on that one piece of the puzzle.

I have found that when I keep my eyes on Jesus, when I continually hand things over to God I have a better perspective, things begin to fall in place! Now, hear and understand that it doesn’t make our problems going away, but it does help shift our focus…from fixating on that one thing to focusing on God. And check this out!

It’s finished! and ALL the pieces fit together!!

I encourage you to ask yourself what are you trying to work out during these days of remaining on pause? What do you need to work out and hand over to God, trusting that God will continue to walk alongside, work and put the details into place? How can you fix your eyes on Jesus this week?

Sometimes, we just need to let go, trust and allow God to work, walk away for a few moments and then come back to look at things from a new angle…and suddenly things fall into place. (Well, it might not be that easy in life, but for the puzzle it sure did help! And further, moving around the table, I regained new perspective on different situations I had previously been working through.)

Please know that if you are working through something and having trouble, and would like to talk through a situation or something and simply need a listening ear and prayer? Call me, or text me to ask that I call you. Know that you are prayed for often and that God is still God and is with you…always! You are always loved, and always welcome!

Zephaniah 3:17: “The Lord, your God, is in your midst,
    a warrior who gives victory;
he will rejoice over you with gladness,
    he will renew you in his love;
he will exult over you with loud singing”

May the grace and peace of Christ be with you today and always,

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