We are puzzle pieces. A strange thing to say, but it is true.

Ever wondered what your purpose is? Or struggled with your identity? Or wonder where your life fits into the bigger picture in relation to the people around you? I’ve had moments like these in different seasons and for different reasons.

Recently the Lord compared my purpose and identity to a puzzle piece. (I love doing puzzles so this made a lot of sense to me. Anyone else?) When solving a puzzle, it usually takes a few moments of trial and error (or many, depending on the piece) to find the right fit. Each piece is unique in that it can only fit in one place, as a part of the bigger picture. Sure, some of the pieces have similar shapes, but each one fits in just a single location.

So it is with who we are. People come in all shapes and sizes, and some fall into similar categories, but no two people are the same. Some figure out where they fit, and have a clearly defined purpose, like an edge piece, early on, whereas some are a bit trickier, requiring more time, more attempts, and more patience to land in the right spot. Neither is wrong. In fact, both are beautiful because, without any particular piece, the picture of the puzzle would not be complete.

Paul even reminds us of this in 1 Corinthians 12:

Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit; and there are varieties of service, but the same Lord; and there are varieties of activities, but it is the same God who empowers them all in everyone. To each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good. […] All are empowered by one and the same Spirit, who apportions to each one individually as he wills.

To return to our puzzle, could a corner piece say to another, “I have no need of you?” Could any other pieces complete the entire picture on their own? Definitely not. Just as we are all members of one body, the pieces are all members of one larger picture. Said differently, the loss of the one sheep leaves the 99 incomplete (Mt 18:10-14).

All this to say, if you have struggled (and let’s face it, we all do in some way at some point) to feel valued or to feel like what you bring to the table is truly necessary, know this: Without you, there would be a hole. You are necessary, and the picture would not be complete without you. Be encouraged, you little puzzle piece.