Life is like a jigsaw puzzle…one piece at a time

Over the last few years I have picked up a puzzle over the Christmas holidays that graces our main dinner table and gives all of us in the family a chance to put in a few pieces over the break. Sometimes we work on it for a few hours and at other times a few minutes as we walk by the dining table. We started with easier puzzles when the kids were young and now we attempt a 750 to 1000 piece puzzle….something that should not take us more than a week to complete off and on over the two weeks of holidays at the end of each calendar year.

As I was taking the picture of the finished puzzle, it reminded me of the following quote:

You can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future.

Steve Jobs

When I looked at the finished puzzle it is easy to see how all the pieces fit, where the shades of green, grey, brown, black go. In fact, as we closed in on the last few pieces, the pace at which we were able to place the pieces increased rapidly – we were in tune with the artist’s shades of colour and with most of the puzzle already built, there were only so many spots that the remaining pieces could go.

I see the puzzle as a metaphor for life…each day is a puzzle piece to the full picture of what our life is meant to be. Looking at each individual piece it is hard to see how and where they fit – is what happened today really relevant to the grand scheme of my life? Is today a puzzle piece that is part of the background for the main story of my life? Or is it a key ingredient that defines my life like the tiger?

At least when working on the puzzle, I have the box image of what the finished puzzle picture should look like – the box shows the dimensions of the finished puzzle, the colors that belong to certain sections of the puzzle, the general location of the tiger….not so with my life! Only God knows how my life will turn out …and if my life could be summed up in one image, only He knows what that would be.

There are days when I consider if today was a “background” puzzle piece like the grasses at the foot of tiger or if tomorrow is going to be the key puzzle piece that defines where the central story of my life goes. Often I want to know where my life is going…am I building towards something or are the best days in the past?

I am convinced that each day (just like each of the puzzle pieces) is perfectly orchestrated by the God of the Universe who holds everything in perfect balance. Nothing is out of place. I rest in that – even if the events that unfold on some days just don’t make sense. Do they always have to make sense in the moment? Sometimes the gift of the “negative” event may not be seen for weeks, months and years to come. This past summer was one such event that changed the trajectory of my career. This event shattered everything I had built over the last 25 years, but I held onto the thought that “there is a gift in this”. It was not easy…there were many tears shed….but looking back now it was a pivotal moment in my life.

For you created my inmost being;

    you knit me together in my mother’s womb.

14 I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;

    your works are wonderful,

    I know that full well.

15 My frame was not hidden from you

    when I was made in the secret place,

    when I was woven together in the depths of the earth.

16 Your eyes saw my unformed body;

    all the days ordained for me were written in your book

    before one of them came to be.

Psalm 139 13-16

I can spend my time speculating about the puzzle pieces of my life…instead I am choosing to live each day – one at a time.

I would like to encourage you, if you are feeling like your life’s puzzle pieces are all over the place… to rest in the ONE who has it all worked out.

May Psalm 139 encourage you this day!

One thought on “Life is like a jigsaw puzzle…one piece at a time

  1. A puzzle is a great analogy for life and for the vast uncertainty of life’s changes. Pieces, but no real picture, so we have to keep moving forward, piece by piece, until an image becomes clear. Thanks for these thoughts


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