Packing up a puzzle reminds me of all the hard work that went into it.  Normally I would put the border pieces in a separate bag.  When staring at a 1000 piece puzzle feels daunting, sometimes overwhelming and very challenging.  Having built the border, gives one hope, it puts structure to the puzzle and start to hint at the final picture.  It gives you hope as you understand the extend of the puzzle, there will be an end to it and I can see the end, I need to fit all the rest of the +-900 pieces into this boundary.

Is life not similar?  Life is complex, daunting and sometimes overwhelming. Or this is the way you feel about parenting?  OR about your work? We can get lost in the sea (or puzzle pieces) or requests, requirements, issues and tasks that is dealt to us.  One of the first things that can be of help in your life is to make sure you have your boundaries intact.  Decide on the limits of your life, don’t say yes to everything and everyone.  Decide what is really important and build your border from that.  I had to do that.  I had to decide that I will say NO, unless I can unconditionally say YES and then I put all my talents, energy, and creativity into what I said YES to. Building a complicated puzzle is almost impossible without building the border first and I want to be bold and say life is almost impossible if you don’t have a few boundaries in your life.  This is not to limit your exposure.  I totally believe in a growth mindset, but having boundaries should not limit you to expand your mind and your attitude towards live, it should guide you towards growing in the areas that will benefit you the most.  Boundaries can be determined by your values, your beliefs, the Bible, etc.

What next?  There are still hundreds of pieces and hours of building time left!!  We normally try to get an idea of the biggest areas that can be searched for and built.  Either based on a color or based on the picture on the box.  There are always those pieces that can fit anywhere, their color can be seen everywhere in the picture and they have no specific quality that show to which of the elements in the puzzle they belong to.  Building the bigger, more defined areas within the border, starts to give the puzzle more definition and things start to become clearer.  At this stage it helps a lot if you can refer back to the picture on the box of the puzzle. 

Do you have a picture for your life?  Do you know what your purpose are?  You will feel lost in all the pieces if you don’t have an idea of the picture you are working towards.  The picture helps you to determine the biggest areas that needs to be focused on first.  Put the big things in life first.  Ensure you spend the right amount of time on the bigger things which makes the nitty gritty things easier to fit in later.  This reminds me of the story of the professor with the rocks, sand and water that he tried to fit into the large bowl.  If you first put the water in (the pieces that can fit anywhere) and then the sand (the bigger areas of the puzzle that can be built), it is impossible to fit in the rocks (the border).  But if you start with the rocks (border), and then the sand (Bigger areas of the puzzle), it is effortless to fit the water (the pieces that can fit in anywhere) into the same bowl. 

Make sure your life has boundaries that is determined by your values and belief system, then start to find your priorities and put the appropriate time into those, then you will find that the nitty gritty of life starts to fall into place and you can build the picture of your life and fulfill your purpose.

Too many times in life we compare our life with someone else’s and feel less worthy, we feel we cannot keep up, we are not good enough.  This is like taking a handful of someone else’s puzzle and try to fit it into your puzzle.  That is a very frustrating and unrewarding process.  It is not worth it to try to build your life with someone else’s pieces that was dealt to them.  It does make sense to look at the way they build their puzzle and learn a few techniques, but do not try to fit their pieces into your puzzle.

If you compare and feel better off than the person you are comparing yourself to, which can lead to pride which is not an admirable value to possess.  Be careful not to move them away from their building seat and try to build their puzzle for them, you might be an expert at your puzzle, but they need to build their own puzzle, you can only assist by showing to them how you build your puzzle. Normally if you are good at life (building your own puzzle), people automatically looks for clues at how you are able to, you don’t need to advice and instruct.

At the end of my puzzle building experience, there are only a few pieces left.  I hope at the end of my life I will only have a few pieces left that needs to find its final resting place.  I hope that I can experience the satisfaction, knowing I did what I was created to do, that I became what I was supposed to become. That my picture will glorify God. 

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