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Jigsaw Puzzle Wisdom

Written January 22, 2007

I have seen this puzzle analogy before, but sometimes it amazes me how something can hit my inbox one day and it just is a fun read and how a year later, the same thing may be just what I was needing to read.

Of course, I love analogies like this one. I love to pause a moment and contemplate what they mean and how they correlate to life.

For instance, #1 is very profound. How many times do we try to make something work just because we want it to work when it is never meant to work. This is a hard one for me. I am the type of person who believes in the "where there is a will, there is a way" theory (that would be #4). There usually is not much I cannot do if I just set my mind to it. If it is not working, find a way to fix it. I suppose often I will cut away at that puzzle piece until it does fit and work. Sometimes that is a good thing in life. It may not be perfect and it may have holes in it, but at least it works. I am remembering that piece of cardboard I shoved into the innards of our door handle that made it line up appropriately with the door. It might not have been the right way, but it worked.

#2 is SO very true. How many times have I been struggling with a problem, take a break for a day, and come back to have the answer staring at me in the face. Of course, this goes the same when anger arises. "Count to ten and breath!"

#3 is also very true. When we are in the middle of a problem and studying and analyzing how to resolve the issue, sometimes we lose sight of the whole picture and purpose. Sometimes it is good to step back and look at the whole puzzle and refocus one's goals.

The words that jump out to me in #5 are "move on." Sometimes if something is stressing us to no end, the best thing to do is to move on. Sometimes working at the problem from a different angle will eventually resolve the first problem. Move on, and let God. God can see the entire puzzle and knows what it is supposed to look like. Move on, pray, and let Him help you through.

The creator of life's puzzle (as in #6) is God. He gives us the big picture in the Bible. Often, what we think is the entire puzzle, is only a small corner. It is good to refocus on the entire picture of life by remember what God has taught us in the Bible. In other words, is what you are struggling with something God would be concerned about? Is what you are doing something that would fulfill His purposes?

Variety (as in #7) in people and in circumstances in life is what keeps life interesting. Have you ever heard someone say that life would be boring if we were all clones? 

Friends and Family (as in #8) are SO important in life. Believing in that is the cement that keeps the puzzle of life together. Valuing family and friends highly keeps life together.

Establishing boundaries (as in #9) is something that seems to come naturally for me as an organized person. I could not function well without boundaries. I'm not a very free-style person.

Risk taking (as in #10) in life sometimes is the only way to find out if something will work. If it doesn't, then do not force it (see #1).

Celebrating God's blessings (as in #11) is part of the joy God gives us. He wants us to be happy; so celebrate the good things in life.

Oh, I can hear my Dad now saying (as in #12), "if you are going to do something, don't do it half-assed!" or "do it right or don't do it at all." I am sure my boys will remember me saying that to them all the time too. Hopefully, that is one of life's lessons that I believe in that will rub off on them. Yeah, my Dad used to tell me, "it only takes a few more seconds to do it right." There is so much truth to that. Doing things the best you can do them often makes life much easier.

I hope you have enjoyed reading my ramblings and blabberings. Didn't I tell you I like to analyze?


1. Don't force a fit. If something is meant to be, it will come together naturally.

2. When things aren't going so well, take a break. Everything will look different when you return.
3. Be sure to look at the big picture. Getting hung up on the little pieces only leads to frustration.

4. Perseverance pays off. Every important puzzle went together bit bybit, piece by piece.

5. When one spot stops working, move to another. But be sure to comeback later (see #4).

6. The creator of the puzzle gave you the picture as a guidebook.

7. Variety is the spice of life. It's the different colors and patterns that make the puzzle interesting.

8. Working together with friends and family makes any task fun.

9. Establish the border first. Boundaries give a sense of security and order.

10. Don't be afraid to try different combinations. Some matches are surprising.

11. Take time often to celebrate your successes (even little ones).

12. Anything worth doing takes time and effort. A great puzzle can't be rushed.

Copyright Cheryl Rutledge-Brennecke
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