When Life Hands You 4,124 Legos

When Life Hands You 4,124 Legos

Joshua GagnonBy Joshua Gagnon7 Minutes

Excerpt from It’s Not Over: Leaving Behind Disappointment and Learning to Dream Again by Joshua Gagnon

Chapter Five

When Life Hands You 4,124 Legos

“Hey, Dad, we have something to ask you!”

Uh-oh. I was in the LEGO store with my sons, Malachi and Nehemiah, and I immediately knew what was coming: they wanted to make a deal. I could almost predict their pitch: “Dad, we’ll pay back our allowance for as many weeks as it takes if you buy us this set!”

Sure enough, after we bartered over the terms for a few minutes, they brought me over to a huge roller-coaster set on display at the front of the store. The thing was massive! It was also extremely complicated. I saw a little sign in front of the display that read, “For expert-level builders.” Then I saw a note on the box announcing that the set contained 4,124 pieces.

Honestly, my first reaction was pride that my sons wanted to tackle such an imposing set. I was impressed! But then my realistic side kicked in.

“Guys, this is way too advanced,” I said. “There’s no way you could finish this thing.” I wasn’t trying to shoot down their dreams or be mean or avoid spending money or any of that. I was giving my honest opinion. After all, from my perspective, it hadn’t been that long since I was tying their shoes and wiping applesauce goo off their chins.

But my sons were having none of it. Determined to prove their ability, they walked me through section after section of the store, showing me each of the high-difficulty sets they’d already completed. “Look, Dad, this one has more than two thousand pieces, and we finished it in less than three days.” “Here, Dad, we built this set two years ago, and it has almost three thousand pieces.”

They were pretty convincing! And so I found myself standing in line a few minutes later with a 4,124-piece roller coaster in my hands and two smiling boys by my side. By the time we left the store, I was so proud I felt like yelling, “My sons are LEGO experts!” at the top of my lungs.

I’ve learned that there are two parts to a LEGO experience. The first is the “outside of the box” experience, which is where you see the fully assembled product meticulously engineered with every piece exactly where it’s supposed to be. Looking at the outside of that roller-coaster box, for example, the whole thing seemed so . . . done. I felt confidence and pride, thinking, Look at what my boys are going to build!

But it’s a completely different experience when you get home and open the box, because nothing inside the box is done.

The “inside of the box” experience is chaos. It’s 4,124 pieces scattered across the floor—just waiting for an unwitting parent to step on them in the middle of the night—with each piece representing a moment of frustration, patience, endurance, and the ever-present possibility of failure. Watching my sons make a plan to attack that huge pile of plastic, I no longer felt confident—I felt overwhelmed, and I wasn’t even part of the assembly team!

There’s a similar dynamic at play when it comes to our God-sized dreams. When God first plants a dream in our hearts, it’s an “outside of the box” experience. We see the vision of what He wants to accomplish in our lives—the marriage, the miracle we are praying for, the new career, peace in a certain area, victory over an addiction, and so on. In other words, we see the incredible potential of our future dreams coming true, but we see it all in its finished form. It’s as if all we need to do is pick up the dream and take it to the check-out counter. Yes, please, I’ll take this one.

When you actually start to pursue a God-sized dream, however, it becomes an “inside of the box” experience. Our dreams never arrive fully formed. They have to be chased. They have to be earned. They have to be fought for. It’s as though God dumps those 4,124 pieces on the ground and says, “If you follow my directions step-by-step, trust that I’m in control, believe that I’m faithful, and persevere when things get difficult, then you will see this dream come true.”

That’s when many people say, “Wait just a minute—I hope heaven has a return policy, because I didn’t sign up for this. I need fewer pieces. I want a smaller dream!”

When you find yourself at that place, as so many people do, don’t give up. Don’t return that desire for a greater tomorrow.

As Jesus said, count the cost. Because pursuing a God-sized dream will require a lot from you. It will take patience. It will take faith. It will take a lot of hard work. And it will require perseverance on your part to continue assembling piece after piece, walking step-by-step with God until the dream is complete.

My primary goal in writing this book is to help you move past the obstacles that have interfered with your dreams so that you can once again feel the joy of pursuing your God-inspired purpose—your God-sized dream.

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