If going through life is like putting together a jigsaw puzzle, I think most of us would agree – we’re still looking for some pieces. Sure, you can always find pieces that you can jam together in attempts to fill the holes you believe need filling immediately. Nevertheless, the cracks will still shine through. To force something in one area, is to watch another area start to fall away. The pieces will never fit as intended and the energy you put into making it work starts to disrupt the other sections of your puzzle.
Fact vs. Opinion
We can’t create perfect friends, perfect jobs, or perfect relationships. We’ll drive ourselves mad as we cyclically add puzzle pieces built from comparisons and insecurities, with short-lived ideas about what makes us happy. We don’t spend enough time assessing the difference between what is needed versus what is wanted. We believe we already know, so introspection is short lived. Instead, we dip our hands into different baskets, searching for new shiny pieces to fit those gaping holes.
The good and the bad will come; there’s no denying that fact. Instead, building a good life becomes a matter of principles and ratios. We shouldn’t compromise our values; We shouldn’t be comfortable with accepting more bad than good. We should, however, check our standards for measuring.
Too often, we bias our inputs towards wanted outcomes. We look for signs that fit our opinions, which lead to a life of comfortable decisions – not optimal ones. Our perceptions of reality become altered as we continue to change the verbal narrative of our stories to garner support, which out changing the narrative itself. We don’t want honesty. We don’t want God’s way. We want a cosign for our own options. So we cast patience and accountability aside in hopes that we are wiser than our circumstances. We are not.
Learning from Sarah
When Sarah decided to have Hagar sleep with Abraham to fulfill God’s promises, Sarah decided in that moment that her plan was better than God’s plan, because God’s plan wasn’t happening in a timely fashion. (Genesis 16). Sarah’s standards for measuring life’s outcomes were based on the bias of how the story was supposed to go – not how it needed to go. Still, we cannot overlook the human element of Sarah. Holding onto your faith can be challenging, and when she turned to Abraham with this idea, he cosigned. He was just as guilty as Sarah for the situation that they created. They both lacked faith and courage to believe that God had them covered which lead to a lapse in judgement with unintended consequences.
Facing our own humanity
The reality, nevertheless, is that this happens – we’re human. Sarah and Abraham’s situation wasn’t unique… and that is one of the most important elements of their journey. Their way of thinking while waiting for God to reveal Himself is no different that our way of thinking. We want the puzzle pieces to fit as perfectly as we have designed them, without the input from the maker Himself. When we turn to others for help, we are often looking for support through alignment, not honesty.
We become imperfect creatures seeking perfect results on made-up timelines. Religious notions unfortunately back this idea up as we are sold sermons that want to make us believe that we’ll have the wisdom of Solomon and the patience of Job with the faith of Mathew, Mark, Luke, and John, wrapped up in the boldness of Esther by tomorrow morning.
Not so. The human element runs through the entire Bible. It impacts our daily decisions and lives. We are not perfect, and to demand that of others is unkind and harsh. To truly love each other is to accept that there will be good and there will be bad. Some days will be amazing, and others full of rain. It’s still a matter of principles and ratios.
Don’t sacrifice on your standards – just make sure they are rooted in God, and not your neighbor. Love the puzzle pieces in your own basket – knowing that by facing your own humanity, you can begin to embrace what God has in store for you. God will give you a journey perfectly outfitted for you. If you accept that, it won’t matter what anyone else thinks. You’ll be too filled with joy to notice anyway.
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