Do you remember when long car rides meant finding ways to entertain yourself without TVs, phones, or personal music devices? When car rides required that you engage the highest form of imagination you could muster, so that you wouldn’t die of boredom? I know for me, there was always a critical moment before leaving on any long road trip, that consisted of thoroughly planning the contents and then packing my car bag. Often this bag would include various items to keep me entertained. Items like dolls, or reading material, coloring books or word searches. Sometimes my mom would buy my brother and I these jumbo activity books and a pack of new crayons. Between the pages of the jumbo activity book would be pages of word searches, hangman games, color by number pages, tic tac toe, and connect the dots. Hours of entertainment without the need for a charger or app.
For a self proclaimed, A-type, OCD like person; connect the dots was one of my favorite ways to pass the endless miles of a road trip. Connecting the dots meant fixing what appeared to be a jumbled mess. It meant making sense of the vast sea of random dots, scattered seemingly crazed on the page. It meant that, all would be right, once I connected this dot to that dot. Following the predestined sequence of numbers, 1 goes to 2, so on a so forth. I could ease my overwhelming aggravation with the chaos of dots and create a cohesive picture.
As with most things, the connect the dot patterns included varying ranges of difficulty. As I got older, the pieces became more challenging. No longer as simple as connecting 1 to 50, and revealing a simple picture of a cute dog. The patterns began increasing in numbers, but also increasing was the margin for error. Now, some puzzles required significant critical thinking. Now, the dots excluded numbers, requiring you to figure out which dot could be next based on the trajectory of the previous lines. Planning and studying were now required and sometimes a line would be drawn to what I thought was the next point, only to find out 4 more steps in, my pattern was now off course. A simple erase and reroute would generally fix this short speed bump, and soon, the intended image would appear, once again satisfying my personality type.
What if though….What if, when the numbers stopped in the pattern, I stopped working the puzzle? What if, I chose to just stare blankly at the puzzle, becoming increasingly frustrated by the polka dot fiasco? Perhaps frozen by the fear of failing or having to backtrack and erase? Circling around the same dot mindlessly. Reminiscing the previous moves forward. Choosing to stop would leave me with countless puzzles, left unsolved. Several beautiful pictures left without viewing, because the dots were left unconnected. The puzzle left unsolved.
Faith is a lot like this connect the dots. Faith is taking the leap to the next dot, even though the point is not numbered. It sometimes means going back and correcting the trajectory, but not stopping the process in spite of the not knowing. Faith requires pushing into the unknown to complete the final picture. It is looking at a jumbled plot of dots, believing they are perfectly placed to ultimately create a designated purpose.
Consider your jumbled plot of dots. What is keeping you stuck on your last move? What is restraining you from drawing the next line? Enough is enough! Crumble up and throw away the list of excuses you Just spit out in rapid succession. Do it! Today is the day. Now is the time. Take a deep breath and grab you a handful of faith, two if your feeling cowardly. Move forward, progress to the next dot. Whatever it is. Just have faith. Just take a step already.