A Piece of Control

Think with me for a few minutes about the key players in your life. If you and God are at the top of that list, who is in control?

I learned a valuable lesson about control as we headed into this session of classes. Over the Christmas break, I carved out that week between Christmas and New Year’s to stay in my jammies, sip on coffee AND finish a 3000 piece puzzle that Stacey had loaned to me.

3000 pieces is the largest puzzle I’d ever attempted but it seemed the perfect way to feel a sense of accomplishment in an otherwise lazy week. The fact I had this goal on a lazy week might tell you something about my motives.

Most of what I do on a day-to-day basis remains fluid and open ended. Many of my plans don’t have easy solutions. There are people in my life that are out of my control. So, my plan was to tackle an overwhelming task, feel good about it and move on – within a week! I was pretty sure that’s what I needed.

Once Christmas dinner was over, I cleared off the dining room table and set about the puzzle. I got some help from my son home from college, and I saw my husband and youngest son put a few pieces in, but mostly it was me on the puzzle.

As I completed the last tedious section of gray pieces, I came up one short.

One short.

So I cleaned the dining room. Nothing.

I left the puzzle sit there unfinished for a few days hoping that the piece would show up.

It stirred some interesting thoughts:

  • HYPERFOCUS: Even looking at the 2, 999 pieces in place, I couldn’t get over that ONE PIECE was missing.
  • SHAME: How can I face Stacey if I’ve lost a piece to the puzzle? What will she think of me? Obviously, she’ll assume I’m unorganized and a poor housekeeper.
  • FATALISM: Why can’t I just finish something, even a silly puzzle? Other people finish puzzles, so why not ME? I’m doomed to keep living unfinished!

God, why didn’t YOU let me finish this?

See what I did there?  I wanted to control my week, then when I couldn’t, I blamed God for the outcome.

I want to control my life, my people and when I can’t, I blame God.

Even with all the good and finished stories in my life, the ONE gaping hole is the only one I can see.

If my life is a puzzle, I’m not even sure how big the puzzle is going to be or what it’s going to look like when we’re finished.

Only God knows, so I need to let Him fill in the pieces.

I need to learn to be content with the gaps, not overlooking them but also not over-controlling them either.

Friends . . . We live unfinished until we finally go Home to live with Jesus. And while we’re here we get to walk together, learning and growing. We help each other fill in the missing pieces, and we point each other to the One who knows the whole puzzle.

“Always be humble and gentle. Be patient with each other, making allowance for each other’s faults because of your love. Make every effort to keep yourselves united in the Spirit, binding yourselves together with peace.” Ephesians 4:2-4

Puzzle piece


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