When we allow God to give us a quest mentality, His presence fully redeems our past and restores our happily every after with Him.
Our new puppy ate a piece of my Disney puzzle. My daughter, Kylie, and I immediately threw the entire puzzle away. Puzzle piece number 376 with shades of blue for the immense skyline wasn’t even a vital piece to the storyline. Belle was intact along with the Beast and Mrs. Potts, but I couldn’t bring myself to invest in a story that I knew would ultimately be incomplete. Kylie agreed.
I am always looking for lessons in my mishaps, so I began to second-guess my decision to throw out the puzzle. I mentally and spiritually beat myself up feeling like I missed yet another opportunity to “enjoy the journey” or to “be present in the process”. Why can’t I just enjoy the act of fitting a piece to another piece, one by one? Why was I more concerned about finishing the puzzle rather than spending time with Kylie? I am a task-oriented person by nature and a bit hard on myself, so I tend to think God is constantly trying to slow me down to smell the roses, even if there is a gaping hole in the sky above Belle’s rose. This time I felt God was nudging me beyond my familiar definition of “journey”. I asked my husband if he would have thrown the puzzle away if the dog chewed a single piece, and he said, “Yes! I don’t want to spend my time looking for a piece that isn’t there!” My thoughts exactly.
With my new-found time, I dove into a new Bible study by Beth Moore, and God found a way to tell me to lighten up by showing me the difference between a journey and a quest.
Beth Moore writes,
You are created for an intimate relationship with Jesus, a journey with curves, mysteries you can’t quite explain, and – yes – questions. In Scripture, life as a journey is one of the most familiar motifs you will find. From Genesis to Revelation, there is always motion. We see it particularly in the Gospels when Jesus called His first disciples by saying “Follow Me.” The life of faith is a journey. (2018, p.8)
This description of faith as a journey was familiar to me, and honestly, I had to battle overfamiliarity to press on.
Beth Moore continued,
As believers, we are on a journey. That part is compulsory. But how you approach your journey? That’s voluntary. We can sleepwalk through it, missing the whole point. We can moan and complain, kick and scream and act like we’re being dragged to heaven only because it’s better than hell. Or we can take a big courageous breath and decide to take this thing on as a quest. And then we become hikers and adventurers, believers on a quest with Jesus. (2018, p.8)
I leaned in to listen and then discovered the power of words. A journey is defined as an act of traveling from one place to another. A quest is defined as a long, arduous search for something, much like looking for a missing puzzle piece. With a simple change in vocabulary and a shift in perspective, God adjusted my self-inflicted fear of missing the “enjoyment of the journey” into a holy fear of spending my life constructing an incomplete tapestry He never intended for me to weave. I realized that I was concentrating on making my storyline complete instead of becoming complete in Christ as I go.
Psalm 84: 5-7 says:
“Blessed are those who dwell in your house; they are ever praising you. Blessed are those whose strength is in you, whose hearts are set on pilgrimage. As they pass through the Valley of Baka, they make it a place of springs; the autumn rains also cover it with pools. They go from strength to strength, till each appears before God in Zion.” (NIV)
It is devastating to have a piece of your life chewed up and spit out when you have faithfully built a fairytale with all the patience, love, and strength you could muster. One of my soggy, misfit puzzle pieces would be the loss of my dad when I was 14 years old. This loss disrupted my happy story and stole the joy and hope of working on a complete and happy ever after. I am not sure what you would consider your missing or chewed up puzzle piece to be, but I do know that when we allow God to give us a quest mentality, His presence fully redeems our past and restores our happily ever after with Him.
To be on a quest to know Jesus Christ and to really know who you are and who you are in Christ, you have to spend time with Him. When we accept a quest to know who Jesus is and to understand the depth of His character, what we first perceive to be the missing and vital pieces to our life will fit perfectly in the story God has been creating since the beginning of time. As believers “whose hearts are set on pilgrimage”, we go from “strength to strength” in a restored relationship with Jesus Christ, and He receives the glory. (Psalm 84)
Kylie and I tried a few more times to complete a Disney puzzle. Cinderella and her Prince ended up in the garbage thanks to a persistent yellow lab, and out of all the enchanting princesses and characters we attempted to piece together, the Seven Dwarfs ended up earning their place on my wall, glued and framed. I’m ok with looking at cute little dwarfs rather than an enchanting princess. They remind me that I was never meant to be the main character in the story anyway. I am confident of my ever after, and God’s story is really not all about me.
“Hi ho, Hi ho…” It’s off on a quest I go. Won’t you join me?
Moore, B. (2018). The Quest: Daring to know the heart of God. Nashville, TN: LifeWay Press.