Confessions #5: Puzzle Pieces

Written January 11, 2011.

I have always found extreme satisfaction in examining a puzzle piece, matching it to the picture on the box, determining where it goes, and fitting it into place. It thrills the perfectionist in me. I suppose it’s for that very reason that I expect my life to be a metaphorical puzzle. I can’t seem to stop searching for signs or indications that I’m in the right place, with the right person, or doing the right thing. I want all the edges to match up so that I can have my picture perfect puzzle.

One of my friends (*cough cough* Will Hazelwood *cough cough*) recently pointed out that I expect everything in my life to be perfect. I indignantly denied it, but I am beginning to see the truth behind that statement. It’s not so much that I expect everything to be flawless, but I do like all the elements of my life to fit together perfectly, as if to give me some sort of magical indication that I am on the right path. Basically, I feel reassurance from coincidences. Phrasing it that way makes me sound even lamer, but that’s just the truth about how I am. I like to fit together puzzle pieces.

Up until last year, I was happily occupied humming contentedly to myself and fitting in piece after piece, delighted to see my life puzzle coming together so easily. Everything just seemed like it was right, like it was meant to be, like it just fit. It looked as though I would have a nice masterpiece to frame and hang on the wall.

But that’s not what happened at all; instead my fragile puzzle fell to the ground and shattered. Shattered, too, was the security I found in order and perfection. I didn’t understand how the pieces could all fit together and still not be right; I couldn’t reconcile the seeming inconsistencies. One day, however, a very simple realization hit me: I had been working the wrong puzzle. What should have been the puzzle of my relationship with Christ was instead a puzzle of Me, a puzzle of compromise. Of course the pieces had fit together; rationalization can make anything work.

If I was going to surrender my life to Christ, though, I had to let go of the expectations and the search for signs and look at the big picture instead of fitting in the pieces on a self-absorbed, microscopic level. I had to start a new puzzle – the right puzzle – from scratch.

I’ve made progress, but from time to time, a piece of the puzzle of selfishness or the puzzle of immaturity sneaks in and looks like it belongs. I can’t tell you why I still get so excited over the wrong puzzle, but sometimes it takes me a while to get my head screwed on straight and realize that just because something feels right doesn’t mean it is God’s plan for my life. I guess what I’m trying to say is this: When all the pieces seem to fit, check to make sure you’re working the right puzzle. I don’t believe that God has set up my life to be a scavenger hunt where I rely on mysterious clues to tell me where I’m going, but somehow I still catch myself saying “It all just seems so perfect!” instead of “I know this is right.” I would like to say that I’ve figured it out by now, but then I guess this note wouldn’t be an accurate reflection of its title, would it?

Published in: on April 9, 2011 at 2:57 pm  Leave a Comment  
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