For as long as I can remember, I never liked doing puzzles. Viewing thousands of sky-blue, nearly-identical little pieces scattered over a wooden table was enough to make my head feel dizzy. I couldn’t begin to figure out where to start.

By contrast, my brother loves puzzles. For him, the larger and more complicated the puzzle, the better. In fact, when he was three years old he would begin his 30-piece puzzle by promptly flipping all the pieces face down and assembling it without viewing the picture. Unfortunately, I never inherited that talent.

Sometimes I feel my life is like one giant, unassembled puzzle, with pieces strewn out in all directions. There are too many pieces, too many problems, too many unknowns, and at times, it can feel so overwhelming when attempting to put it all together.

One day, while watching my brother finish the last section of his new 3,000-piece puzzle, I asked him for some advice on how to assemble puzzles. Here are the three steps he gave me:

  1. Start with the puzzle’s borders. Like a puzzle, the first priority in our lives is our relationship with God, which provides us with a solid framework. With our spiritual structure in place, it is easier to sort out the inner puzzle of our lives.
  2. Categorize the rest of the pieces by color. Like a puzzle, our lives are made up of many different categories: work, family, career, health, finances, etc. Taking some time to sort out our life’s categories allows us to focus on what we are trying to accomplish in each area of our lives and makes it easier to overcome the challenges ahead.
  3. Start with one piece and keep comparing it with another until a match is found. Like a puzzle, our lives consist of trying, failing, and trying again until the pieces start coming together. This part requires perseverance and determination, but by daily committing to work hard and put in the hours, we will begin to see progress.

When we come to the end of our lives and see our beautiful puzzle completed, we will be able to enjoy the whole picture and more clearly understand how God worked on our behalf to bring order and good out of every situation.