Have you ever experienced being in the “puzzle zone?” When you start a jigsaw puzzle and get totally sucked into it that you lose all track of time? Like you look up and are shocked that an hour or two have slipped by?
My kids go in and out of spurts putting together puzzles. Last summer while on a trip to Phoenix, they were all in. We bought a 5 pack of puzzles that included 100, 250, 500, 750 and 1,000 piece puzzles. Long after my kids went to bed, my wife Selah stayed up for hours working on the puzzles. Needless to say, the kiddos were both surprised and disappointed in the morning to find that the jigsaw puzzle fairy had paid a visit and magically put most of the pieces together. 😉
Now imagine what it would have been like if our kids would have received the 1,000 piece puzzle in a brown paper bag. They would have had no idea if they were working towards the goal of putting together the cast from Frozen or Freddie Krueger from Nightmare on Elm Street. Side note, we would not get our kids that kind of puzzle. It’s been said that where there is no vision, people will cast off restraint. In other words, if people do not know where they are going, any path will take them somewhere. And most likely, they will lose hope and motivation along the way.
A 1,000 piece puzzle in a brown paper bag is the best metaphor I can use for what all of us have had to walk through these past 6 weeks and counting. There was no booklet or instruction manual on how to do life, manage your business, and homeschool your kids.
So how do you do it? I’ll use the acronym P.I.V.O.T.
Pray. I am a person of faith and when I need a clear vision, I pray to the one who I believe speaks to me. If you are not a person of faith, try to meditate and be still. Without a vision of where we are going, we will begin to lose hope. We may not have the box top to see what the rest of this year will look like, but what if we could get clarity on 1 or 2 priorities to help us navigate the next few days or week ahead?
Initiate. Start somewhere. Tackle one thing. You don’t have to do everything at once. One day, one piece of the puzzle at a time. With our intimidating 1,000 piece puzzle, we did not even start by taking all of the pieces out of the box. It would have been too much. When walking through a crisis, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed. Life is not going to be perfect. I really have fallen in love with the mantra, “progress over perfect”.
Action: write down 1 task that you would like to do today. Now put your focus into that.
Volunteer. Ask yourself, how can I use this season to help other people? I’ve found that one of the best remedies when you are feeling down is to help other people. This is a gamechanger to take the focus off yourself and stir up compassion and focus on others. Nothing made my kiddos’ frustration change into happiness quicker than after they were able to find a few pieces to connect together.
Action: Who is someone you could surprise with a notecard, gift, or sign of appreciation?
Improve. I don’t want to sound like an eternal optimist that promises with one click of a button you are going to have a clear vision and everything figured out. In this season, I believe that one of the best things we can do is to see what in our lives might need to be repaired? Repairing is not regressing, but it is making sure that when this is over you will come out a better person ready to take on the next season. In the early phase of our kids 1,000 piece puzzle, there were times we needed to step away from the table and take a break.
Action: Assess an area in your life that needs a little repair: spiritually, relationally, financially, physically or professionally.
Time. You’ve heard the saying, that Rome was not built in a day. I mentioned earlier, that it took us several days to complete the 1,000 piece puzzle. We took many swims, snack, and nap breaks in between. Don’t forget to take care of you.
Action: Set your timer for 20 minutes of focus time and then take a brain break. Don’t forget the popcorn 🙂
We will survive this crisis. But I want to see you thrive and continue to believe that BIG DREAMS can come true. They are just made up of a million little pieces that need some time to put together.