The Puzzle of Perseverance

From time to time over the last few years we have had a jigsaw puzzle on the go in our house. It is a team effort as we work to our strengths and piece by piece reconstruct the picture. Sometimes the puzzle takes a day or two to complete, and others take a significantly longer time. Our latest puzzle fell into the latter category.

You see, for Christmas last year I had one of my husband’s beautiful photographs of the historic Psyche Pumps converted into a 1000 piece jigsaw puzzle for him and a couple of months ago we broke open the box to start this project. It was a little more challenging than we are used to but we managed to get the outer edge done, and that is where the progress ceased.

For a significant number of weeks the box remained on the jigsaw table with the bulk of the puzzle pieces still inside and the completed rectangular surround appearing like a building project that has run out of money mid-construction. The longer it sat there, the harder it was to get motivated to re-tackle the project, so much so that a layer of dust formed (although that is not difficult in our dusty region!)

My husband and I are currently on 3 weeks holiday and choosing to spend this time of leave at home. We have set ourselves a variety of goals, and one of these was to finish this jigsaw puzzle, so a few days ago we set to it in earnest. Together we worked on completing the picture and, as is often the case, when we saw progress being made that spurred us on to keep at it. So after sitting partly done for an embarrassing period of time I am proud to say that took us only 3 days to finish it when we set our minds to it. And the end result was great.

I was reminded that I often start things well, but can run out of steam mid-project, which is a curse of my personality type. I stop progress for a variety of reasons – boredom; lack of required equipment or resources; tiredness; fear of failure; difficulty level greater than I thought; lack of belief in my abilities. This puzzle experience helped me to recognise that perseverance brings it’s own reward. The Bible tells me that the capacity to persevere is a sign of maturity that will bring a feeling of completion. In James chapter 1 verse 4 it says, “Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.”

It also highlighted that when I actually set my mind to doing something, no matter how long I have put it off for, once momentum is regained the finish line for the task appears, and along with it a sense of accomplishment.

We did allow the completed puzzle to remain on the table for 2 days as a testament to our efforts before breaking it up, ready to be tackled again at some later date! Our perseverance paid off. Now, what’s the next project?

Be blessed.

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