Several friends enjoy working jigsaw puzzles. Often, they post pictures of their completed puzzles on social media and mention if the puzzle had an extra piece or a missing piece. When a piece is missing, the satisfaction of completing the puzzle is diminished.
Our lives are as intricate and multifaceted as a multi-colored, many-pieced jigsaw puzzle. Each of us are complicated and complex. Our emotions, focus, preferences, and passions change over time. Sometimes, an important piece is missing from the puzzle that is our life, one that could make us whole and complete.
Our lives are as intricate and multifaceted as a multi-colored, many-pieced jigsaw puzzle.
Are any of the following your missing piece?
For many years, I have made exercise a priority, often rising early to start the day before dawn with a workout. But several years ago, a trainer gave me a different kind of wakeup call when she said, “Exercise is only part of the puzzle. Healthy eating is as important as exercise.” Ah, she got me, because I have not always been disciplined with my eating.
Sometimes we focus on discipline in one area of life, yet employ no discipline in other areas. We pat ourselves on the back for making strides in one area, but close our eyes to transgressions in others. But discipline is interesting. The more you practice discipline in all areas of life, the less difficult it is to adhere to and the better you feel about yourself. You discover discipline is a gift rather than punishment.
Discipline and self-control go hand-in-hand. While my perception might not be totally accurate, I think of discipline as doing and self-control as not doing. Self-control is involved in not lashing out in anger, saying the first thing that pops in your head without benefit of filtering, giving in to impulsiveness, and saying or doing things that are detrimental to yourself and others. Self-control means taking responsibility for actions and that is an important part of anyone’s life puzzle.
Many times, joy is the missing piece. Life hands us heartache, illness, job losses, challenging relationships, and a host of other trials that can rob us of joy, if we allow it. Joy is like those tiny puzzle pieces that look insignificant, but completes the picture. In times of difficulty, you have to sift through a lot to find the joy piece, but don’t let the search deter you from looking until you find it. Discover joy in small things and brief moments, and when you find joy, savor it.
Much of the conflict in life could be alleviated if we took time to look and think beyond ourselves. The ability to feel and express compassion for others is a missing puzzle piece in the lives of many. The world conditions us to get ahead by any means, but compassion schools us in sympathy and empathy.
In a world filled with change and uncertainty, worry and anxiety often steal our peace. Many have the mistaken idea that peace is dependent on the absence of turmoil and trouble. Instead, peace is the ability to experience calmness amid the chaos. Peace is the life puzzle piece that fuels forward motion, allowing you to move ahead with confident assurance despite the obstacles.
Many puzzle-workers sort the pieces first, pulling out the edge pieces in order to construct the frame. Those who choose to live a life devoid of faith often find themselves in a world of nebulous boundaries with finite consequences. Faith serves as a frame for life. When you choose to surround your life with faith, you create a framework that withstands the hardships and difficulties. Faith positions God at the center of your life and allows him to sort the pieces, smooth the jagged edges, and direct the placement of the pieces no matter how complicated the overall picture. Without the faith piece, the puzzle is unfinished.
What is your missing life puzzle piece?
“God, pick up the pieces. Put me back together again. You are my praise!” Jeremiah 17:14 MSG
Candy Arrington is a writer, blogger, speaker, and freelance editor. She often writes on tough topics with a focus on moving beyond difficult life circumstances. Candy has written hundreds of articles, stories, and devotionals published by numerous outlets including: Inspiration.org, Arisedaily.com, CBN.com, Healthgrades.com, Care.com, Focus on the Family, NextAvenue.org, CountryLiving.com, and Writer’s Digest. Candy’s books include When Your Aging Parent Needs Care (Harvest House) and AFTERSHOCK: Help, Hope, and Healing in the Wake of Suicide (B&H Publishing Group).
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