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By Kelly Baker
Correspondent 

Not Your Typical Church Lady

The Right Fit

 

December 26, 2019

Many years ago my husband gave me a 3,000-piece puzzle of Leonardo da Vinci's "The Last Supper" for Christmas. Excited, undaunted, and armed with clueless naivety, I immediately began the task of assembling it, or rather, TRYING to assemble it. The way I usually put puzzles together is to find the edge pieces, put them together first, then fill in the middle. It soon became apparent that this puzzle had other ideas.

You see, the edge pieces of this puzzle were so similar that I'd THINK I was putting the right pieces together only to discover later on that I wasn't. Even though they looked as if they fit, they didn't and I'd have to go back and try one piece in several different places (consequently rearranging many, many other pieces as well) until I found where that particular piece was supposed to fit. After a few weeks, I abandoned putting the edge together first and instead started on the middle. I began the puzzle on Christmas day. My mother and mother-in-law would stop by and help now and then. Gladys the cat, who was just a kitten at the time, would also lend a paw by sitting on a chair, peeping up onto the table and secretly swiping pieces when no one was looking. She'd hide them under the rug in the hallway for me to find.

Coincidentally, this magnificent masterpiece of a puzzle was finished on Good Friday of that year, which was sort of perfect since it was a picture of the Last Supper. Amazingly, all of the pieces were there. Not one was missing. Deciding to spare myself the effort of ever having to put it together again, we glued it together and framed it. It's been on the living room wall ever since.

Sometimes life feels like a big puzzle. We've got all these pieces that we think should go in a certain place, but they just don't. We try and try to jam them in and make them fit, but that's just not where they're supposed to go. We try to put our edge pieces together but it doesn't work out. It makes me wonder if God feels the way I do when I watch a kid try to put a puzzle together.

It's hard to watch a little kid with a puzzle. The pieces are usually big chunky pieces with distinct shapes. The little kid doesn't always know that. They scrutinize, twist and turn each piece, furrowing their brows in concentration. As the adult looking over their shoulder, it's easy for us to see how it should fit together. But we have to let them put the pieces together themselves, so we bite our tongues and sit on our hands to prevent ourselves from "helping" them. If we do it for them, they won't learn. When they reach the point of exasperation and ask for help, we step in to make a suggestion which usually calms them and heads them in the right direction.

We probably look the same way as we try to jam pieces that don't belong into our lives. The piece we shouldn't be worrying about until later is the one we're trying to fit into today. The one we actually need is right there, but we don't know it and so with dogged determination we just keep pounding it into place, willing it to fit. When we put the pieces together wrong, the whole puzzle (life) is a mess.

I'd like to say that learning this lesson is a one and done deal. But it isn't. It's the kind of lesson I have to relearn over and over. Every day I have to remind myself that if it doesn't fit, stop trying to make it fit. (The same metaphor also applies to my wardrobe. Cookie season has not been kind.) Every day I have to remember to ask for help in knowing what fits and what doesn't. That's what little kids do and it always seems to work. If they ask for help, we help. If I ask God for help, he helps. I just have to remember to ask. Usually when I do ask, the answer is so simple that I'm shocked I didn't realize it before.

The pieces of life are tricky. They often look as though they should fit. People,work, daily responsibilities, events, outreach projects, hobbies, ministries – there are so many different facets to consider. Fit them all into a day! Fit them all into a life! We know we can't, yet we keep trying. Why?

As we prepare to go into a new year, think about the pieces of your own life and ask God, "Does it fit?"

 

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