Last year for Christmas, my wife and I bought our then 5-year-old son several sets of Legos. To be honest, I never expected him to actually build some of the fancy creations on the boxes that he admired. Boy was I wrong!
My son labored all day with his Legos, only stopping for food and bathroom breaks. Then, later that Christmas evening, he ran downstairs excited to show us all his Lego Ninjago motorcycle creation. "Wow!" I thought. "That IS really good!" He even took the time to put the stickers on it, and had a little Lego ninja guy in the driver's seat.
But then... Then I noticed that the motorcycle was flying rather than rolling. My son was playing with the motorcycle by hovering it above the ground, like an airplane.
"Hey man, roll that thing on the floor! Let's see it go!" I said.
"It doesn't roll." he replied.
Confused, I picked up the bike and took a closer look at it. To my amusement, the bike was missing some key features, namely the axle that holds the wheels in place and allows them to roll properly. Now, that didn't stop my son, nor should it have. He was 5 after all, and to him, pretending that his motorcycle could fly was a marked improvement on the original design! He was still having fun.
Reflecting on that moment, I can see a corollary between my son’s Lego motorcycle, and many of us in law enforcement. Many of us look good on the outside, but when we take a closer look, we recognize that we too are missing a few pieces.
If there is any lesson to take away from that, it's that there is a big difference between looking good and being functional. The biggest obstacle many of us have is that we don’t acknowledge what is missing or what is broken. So, in the process of trying to “roll” through life, we adjust our posture to mask our shortcomings in order to “fly” past problems that really ought to be addressed.
For some of us, that may result in developing a cynical mindset, becoming depressed or anxious. We become suicidal. We may become dependent on certain substances to get through the day... or the hour. We may begin to resent what we once loved. Relationships breakdown within our families and we lose trust and hope in those around us.
Later that same night I sat down with my son and together we began to undo what had been done incorrectly. He brought me the instruction manual, and we began searching for and adding in the missing pieces according to what the manual directed. Together, we were able to put the motorcycle together in such a way that it was both functional, and good to look at!
I want to encourage you to examine your life and if necessary, find someone to help you do the same. As a pastor and chaplain, I have the privilege of sitting down with people and helping them put their lives together according to what the bible says. Now that may not be for you, and that’s ok. Find a friend, family member or trusted colleague. Ask them to help you identify any missing pieces in your life, and have them help you put those pieces into place.
And remember, there is a difference between being broken and being incomplete. Incomplete is when the pieces aren't in place, but brokenness is when the pieces themselves are destroyed. That's a whole nother' blog post! What we are talking about in this instance is building ourselves up from an incomplete state, not a destroyed state. Recognize that the problem isn't that we have the missing pieces. We all have missing pieces! The problem is that we pretend the missing pieces don't affect us! Don't let pride get in the way of your progress...
Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.
-1 Thessalonians 5:11