Life is like a Puzzle

Puzzle_Krypt-2

I’m not the biggest fan of puzzles. If I do them myself, I take my time and follow the boring typical western way of doing in, slowly look at the pieces until I find the edge pieces. Then, even slower, start piecing together the middle until it’s done. And that is if I even finish the puzzle, because many times by then I get bored or I get frustrated because it’s difficult.

In addition, I can’t finish a puzzle unless I have the final picture to look at and work from.

But, when I do finish one, there is a giant sense of satisfaction that comes when you see the picture that you pieced together and knowing that you connected all those little parts to create one complete picture.

Sometimes though, I think about puzzles and how much like life they are. Think about it for a second. There are many things in our life that start out a jumbled mess and whether working alone with with others we start to piece everything together until it starts to look like what we want it to.

But unlike most puzzles, we don’t always know what the finish product will look like. We sometimes expect we should see the whole picture from the beginning. We expect this so much that often times we don’t even get started because of this.

It’s like we should know how every moment fits into when we first see it. But this handcuffs us. This stops us from even starting, and as a result we miss out on so much or we never piece together important moments in our life.

Life is like a puzzle, except with no finished picture to build from. That doesn’t mean we can’t start to piece together the puzzle that is our life without knowing what it looks like. That’s the joy in life, not knowing where everything leads. We don’t know what our life will look like when it’s finished, we don’t know how people and experiences fit together until it’s already past. And like a puzzle, sometimes the picture doesn’t start to become clear until we start fitting those pieces together – and not until then!

It would be like reading a mystery novel when you already know the answer, or watching a thriller film when we already know the twist, life isn’t meant to be enjoyed that way. You may not know what it is supposed to look like from the beginning, but that just means that the final picture can only be known when we put everything together.

So start fitting pieces together. Look back and make the connections, put them together and you’ll start to see the masterpiece of your life.

Everything Costs Something

freedom01There is an old saying that there is no such thing as a free lunch. The idea behind this saying is that there is a cost to everything, and I’m not talking about a monetary price. For that free lunch of yours, someone had to not only buy the food but take the time to prepare it as well. So if it’s not free for someone to offer something like this, why do they do it? The answer is clear that there are some things worth more than money.

Although this should be obvious I’m going to say it anyways – The greater something is, the more it costs.

The cost of a free lunch is not the same as getting into shape. The cost of sitting on the TV is not the same as creating. Each of these have a cost, some of us are okay with paying and others we are not. The cost of being successful is high, but the cost of freedom is higher.

On the heels of Memorial Day where we honor the men and women who have died to protect our freedoms, I am reminded that even freedom has a cost. You can’t pay for freedom with money or you can’t barter for it with your favorite material item in your house. Freedom comes with an even greater cost, blood. Why pay such a high price for this? Because it’s worth it. Men and women across the world not only serve, but die to pay the price for our freedoms. They believe that the freedoms they protect is worth more than their life. For that I am grateful!

Never Tell Me the Odds

lEICESTER cITYLeicester City of the English soccer Premier League clinched the Championship this week after having 5000-1 odds of winning at the beginning of the season. In the Premier League’s 24 year history since they reorganized, 4 teams have won 21 of the 24 titles. In general, the top of the League is so powerful compared to the rest of the League, the top 4-5 teams are the only teams that have a real chance to win the League. But against all odds Leicester City, a team that is only in it’s second year in Premier League and were at risk of being relegated last year, fought all year long to become the first non top tier club to win the league since Blackburn Rovers in 1995.

5000-1 odds seem insurmountable. In sports terms, that is the oddsmakers basically saying there is no chance this is going to happen. To put in perspective these odds, the odds of the 1980 US miracle on ice against Russia was only 1000-1! And who can blame them giving these odds? With several teams in the league that have way more money, world-class talent, and deeper youth academies, history showed it was a long shot that Leicester should even be able to compete against those other teams, much less win. But they believed in themselves, played hard every day, committed to constantly improve and ended up defying the odds to go on and win the Premier League!

afc3eed9f20dd5acd8c7b250e8dc904fIf there something you should take away from this, I think it is what Han Solo replied to C3PO when he was told the odds of successfully navigating that asteroid field. “NEVER TELL ME THE ODDS”

The odds don’t matter. The odds of so many great things in our lives happening are always going to be high. But that doesn’t mean they are unattainable and even if we can’t achieve them doesn’t mean we shouldn’t try. The only way you can find out what we are capable of is if we go after our dreams and try to defy the odds, no matter how big they may seem.

Can’t Plan For Everything

There are some things in our lives that are completely out of our control. It doesn’t matter how much we plan or prepare, there is nothing we can do about it. Sometimes, life happens and in the end control is an illusion.

Chuck Swindoll once said “I am convinced that life is 10% what happens to me and 90% of how I react to it.” At the core, he is right. We can either complain or worry about things that we can never do anything about, or we can just put on our big boy/girl pants on and deal with it. It is our attitudes and decisions in those moments define who we are, not what happens or what we are able control.

To-Don’t List

A lot of people keep to-do lists. Mostly to keep on track and make sure they get done what needs to get done, but what about things you need to make sure you don’t do. I think these types of things are just as important as things we need to-do. For example:

Don’t lie.
Don’t cheat.
Don’t belittle.
Don’t imitate.
Don’t pretend.
Don’t procrastinate.
Don’t make excuses.
Don’t blame others
Don’t interrupt people.
Don’t be wasteful (with your time or money)
Don’t settle for mediocracy
Don’t let your emotions rule you

Just a short list of things off the top of my head. By no means is this comprehensive or for everyone. Just a starting point for me. These might not be easy, but important for sure.

What would you add to this list? What would be on your to-don’t list?

It’s funny how God works sometimes

I asked for strength, I was given challenges to make me strong

I asked for wisdom, and I was given problems to solve

I asked for prosperity, and I was given a brain and brawn to work

I asked for courage, and I was given danger to overcome

I asked for love, and I was given troubled people to help

I asked for favors, and I was given opportunities

I received nothing I wanted

Yet, I received everything I needed

Which way do you want to go?

“Would you tell me, please, which way I ought to go from here?”

“That depends a good deal on where you want to get to,” said the Cat.

“I don’t care much care where-” said Alice.

“Then it doesn’t matter which way you go,” said the Cat

Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll

Too often this is the mentality we hold. Not necessarily on purpose, but we will aimlessly go through life wondering where to go next, despite not having any goals we expect to end up where we want. But how can you finish a race without a finish line?

If that is the case, stop for a few moments and write down some goals… or even just one. Something that you can work towards so that you don’t just go through the motions. Do it so that you can better yourself and your life. Do it so that you have a direction to go and purpose in your steps. Do it so you can actually live your life, and not just exist.

Benjamin Franklin once said, “Some people die at 25 and aren’t buried until 75.” Don’t be one of those people. You are capable of so much more. So which way do you want to go?