My youngest son had a birthday recently, and when I asked him what he wanted to celebrate, he asked for Lego sets. We sat down together to check out what was available on Amazon and ordered a couple race cars that he liked.
The package arrived yesterday much to his delight. He opened the package with big excitement and promptly opened both sets and dumped them on separate piles on the floor. With great anticipation, he started building one of the cars. It was fun to watch as he started building.
My son is a results kind of personality, and his lack of attention to detail as well as his desire to get to the finished product above the actual process resulted in tears and frustration. Currently the tears are dried, sighs are happening, and there are still a couple piles of Legos on the floor. Most likely the pile will get bigger before it gets smaller with needing to diagnose where the problem really is. He’s at a decision point – he can throw in the towel and give up his dream of having Lego race cars, or he can take a step back, regain some focus, ask for help and tips, and persevere building the cars.
We have talked about how both the process and the finished product are meant to be fun. He lacks belief about the process being fun right now, but I’m believing that belief will come.
As I sat with my arm around him acknowledging his frustration and disappointment and encouraging him in his endeavors, I began to realize the similarity between building Lego sets and the process of life. I became aware of my own disappointment and frustration with life rising in my heart and the importance of my responses to these feelings.
There are plenty of situations I can look at in life that haven’t turned out at all like I thought they would. I anticipated many of these changes, looking forward to them. I started in if not with outright excitement, definitely with anticipation of good times ahead. Now I’m looking at “piles” in my life that haven’t worked out. I don’t know where the pieces fit, and I’m not sure where the problem is. I don’t want to tear apart my life looking for where I placed a piece incorrectly, where the actual problem is. I’d prefer for the problem to just be fixed without all the demolition.
But without the troubleshooting the problem can’t be fixed. And if the real problem doesn’t get fixed, I’ll never get the result that I’m looking for.
With Legos, when the instructions are followed, the promised result will look exactly like what the picture looks like.
In life, we often have a mental picture in our minds of what our life should look like, but I think that in our picture, we don’t take time to think about what the process will be like. For sure we don’t want the process to be difficult or painful or inconvenient or really anything less than completely fabulous, cozy, and exhilarating.
And sometimes it is fabulous, cozy and exhilarating.
But often it’s not.
I think that what we do with the “often it’s not” situations in life shows us what we are made of.
Do we stay close to God in spite of difficulty, or do we pitch a fit, become offended and push Him to arms’ length?
Can we trust that He’s always good even when we don’t feel good?
Do we operate from a place of knowing that He doesn’t waste anything we experience or persist in believing that our comfort is what is most important?
The process of life is supposed to be fun, too, just like building a Lego set. That doesn’t mean that it will go perfectly, that we’ll get it right the first time, or even that it won’t get frustrating and stretching in spots. So will we give up or step into the challenge of growing and persevering thru difficulty?
Hard times in life WILL come. Our perspective in these times is what determines how we respond and ultimately what our result will be.