I promised my daughter we would go into her brother’s room when he was at school and build a bat cave with his Legos. Alyssa, 5, for some reason, is really into Batman.
I’ve been on my son, 9, for over two years to get his bat cave built again. He received it three Christmases ago and built it to perfection. But as has been the fate of all of his Lego sets, he played with them, demolished them, and now they are swimming in an endless sea of multicolored blocks.
Alyssa and I entered Drew’s room and I pulled out the instructions for the bat cave. The problem appeared instantly. How in the world are we going to find these pieces in the thousands of Legos? Trying not to get deterred, I decided to sort all of his Legos by color.
I don’t know how much time passed, but my legs were falling asleep and I wasn’t near finished. I hadn’t even found the second piece to the bat cave yet.
Alyssa, for her part, felt none of my frustration. Sure, she thought we would be building the bat cave, but when she realized it wouldn’t happen so easily, she began building her own creations. She played for hours, only taking a break for lunch.
Later in the afternoon, I surveyed her cars, planes, boats, and submarines. Each was her own creation, a mixture of pieces that never were meant to go together.
I noted her joy, her contentment, in the midst of my frustration. I had it in my mind that we would build the bat cave, following the meticulous set of instructions. She was perfectly fine doing her own thing, unlimited by another’s plan.
If only I had her spirit, her joy, her contentment in making a beautiful creation with what was in front of her.
Instead, I prefer instructions. Show me how to craft a perfect day where I can accomplish what I want while spending quality time with my kids. Give me a blueprint for loving people while chasing after my passion. Show me what the ideal church looks like and how I can do my part to contribute. Give me instructions for going into all the world and preaching the gospel (Matthew 28:19) while simultaneously making it my ambition to live a quiet life (1 Thessalonians 4:11).
Show me which ingredients I need and exactly how to assemble them so my life can be a creation of beauty.
The problem is, no one else’s blueprints have quite fit me. Instead, they leave me frustrated, as I discover I don’t have all of the pieces they do. I have a whole bunch of odds and ends that don’t seem to go together.
I’m a stay-at-home mom but I am not gifted with children. I want to boldly tell the world about Jesus but I’m afraid of what people think of me. I desire deep, close friendships but rejection has left me with a guarded wall I can’t quite bring down. I want to write Bible studies and inspirational books but I worry that I’ll get it all wrong. I desire to spur others to a close, joy-filled relationship with God, yet I struggle with depression at times.
Not all the pieces seem to fit into anything I’ve seen before. None of the blueprints are quite right.
As I marveled as Alyssa joyfully assembling of her Lego pieces, I thought of Jesus saying we should become like little children (Mark 10:15). Could it be, that this is part of it?
She doesn’t care about following the preformatted instructions. She isn’t stressed that her creation doesn’t look like the one in the picture. Instead, she builds something of beauty with what she has been given. A one-of-a-kind creation.
Perhaps I need to look at life like Alyssa looked at those Legos. I may not fit the blueprint. I may not have all the pieces (or maybe some of them just haven’t been unearthed yet). But what if I were to look at what I have with childlike wonder and create something with what I’ve been given? It may not look perfect. It may be a hodgepodge of seemingly unrelated pieces. It may not even seem all that functional. But if I’m putting to use the pieces given to me, isn’t that what makes my Father smile with joy at his child, just as I marveled at Alyssa?
May I lay aside the blueprints of what I think I should look like or what is expected of me. Or of what my family should look like or even my church. May I prayerfully consider what I’ve been given, and create something of beauty, something that will bring glory to the One who equipped me with what I have in the first place.
My pieces are not a hodgepodge of useless odds and ends.
Each experience in my past, step along the way, moments of straying from God’s will, victories of redemption, life circumstances, where I live, what family I was born into, what family I’m in now, what city I live in, what church I’m a part of, my occupation, my friends, my strengths, my weaknesses… each has a place. A purpose.
A purpose of using what I’ve been given to bring glory to Jesus Christ, no matter how unconventional it may appear.