November 26, 2018

My Lego Life - Marnie Pohlmann

This week, like many of you, I plan to set up some Christmas decorations.  I am most excited about building my Lego Christmas train, along with the Lego toy shop. And this year I have more Lego. Some winter village pieces to expand the display.

Building Lego takes time, and sometimes it's just not that exciting. There needs to be foundational bricks snapped together in order to provide the strength and form to a structure before the more visually pleasing pieces can be attached. The moving pieces that provide action must have parts, often hidden within the bricks where they cannot be seen, that need to be placed together correctly to enable the outside pieces to move smoothly and properly.

The joy I feel after playing... umm... working with Lego, makes building the boring parts worth the time. Paying attention to the details of the plan is sometimes nit-picky but when everything moves and lights up as they should, the excitement just needs to be shared.

Occasionally I find others who enjoy building with Lego. We connect to spending time finding the tiny pieces that inspire fresh ideas. My grandson likes me to play Lego with him, but I started by sorting the Lego.

"Gramma, when are we going to play with the Lego?"
"I am playing with Lego."
"No, you're cleaning."

Yes, sometimes that is what I do. I organize the bricks. I enjoy seeing the colours and sizes in piles. Sometimes, I like to run my hands through the bricks and while others hear the clatter of pieces, I hear the stirring of creativity.

When I get new Lego, I build the item described in the directions. After I am done, I will eventually take the bricks apart and dump them all into my Lego bin with all the other Lego projects.

Later, I can sift through the bright plastic to find pieces that will build, once again, what the directions say they are to be used for. Alternatively, I can pull out a variety of pieces from my bins and build a unique creation. My imagination combines moving parts, gears, and wheels to design action into my new world.

What does Lego have to do with writing?

Lego is fun, like writing.
Lego is not always easy, like writing.
Lego takes time and concentration, like writing.
More importantly, though, Lego teaches me many lessons. 
Lessons such as how to deal with the difficulties in writing - or for that matter, in life.

Lego bricks can be used for building walls. Difficulties, too, can build walls. These walls may block our way and our joy, but they may also provide strength. I have experienced those kinds of walls more than once in my life. Sometimes pieces have been missing and I needed to learn new ways to build. Other times I have not paid attention to God's directions that would produce what He designed for me, which resulted in the wrong action, or no action, and being unable to shine God's light.

However, like I do with Lego, eventually God has redesigned my broken pieces of difficulty into a new creation. As writers, we try to build characters and plots using the difficulties we have experienced in life or that we imagine for a character's world. Sharing these stories, real or imagined, provides strength not only to our characters but to ourselves, as we build our own difficulties into new action and light.

God speaks, in His own writing, of how He rebuilds our new life from our broken pieces. In Ezekiel 37:6 (Msg) God say He is able and willing "to put new flesh and muscles on you and cover you with skin. (God) will breathe into you, and you will come to life."

When we are faced with difficulties, we can ask God to use them to build newness in us. We may need to do the work of rebuilding a firm foundation of our relationship with God, but that relationship will allow Him to turn our mourning and despair to joyous blessing and festive praise. (Is 61:3 Msg) Only God can breathe into us those inner pieces that provide excitement and allow His light to shine.

Writing the difficult stories is a way we, as writers, share with others the excitement of our rebuilt world. The new life given to us by God through Jesus, who we celebrate at Christmas, causes joyful praise that we need to share.

As you set out your Christmas decorations, consider what they teach you about God. That’s what I’ll be doing as I decorate with Lego.


  1. Wow! I remember you mentioning on our drive home from Fall conference that you liked lego. I didn't quite realize to what extent. what a fascinating and unique hobby! (And i chuckled at your grandson's comments!)

    1. LOL Yes, I was quite serious about how much I like Lego. It is a timeless toy (though quite expensive at times!) Playing with my grands or kids who visit us is a great excuse to have it around :D

  2. This statement is exactly what inspires me to write my difficult stories...
    "Writing the difficult stories is a way we, as writers, share with others the excitement of our rebuilt world."

    My grand-daughters love Lego as did my sons before them and one still does :) It is such a creative outlet and I love how you compared it to life and our writing life. I took a stained glass class in which I saw it very similar; God making something beautiful out of our broken pieces but just like building Lego it was work and took a great deal of patience. I've been planning on writing about it too :) Loved this. It is also something you could easily read to children :)

  3. YES! I still find it hard to share my difficult stories - sometimes because they are consequences for my choices, but mostly because I want to ensure they do not focus on me but on God and His work in me.

    I have always seen the same thing in stained glass, too! I'm going to email you some things I was thinking about.

  4. I have a son-in-law who loves the challenge of working/playing with Lego, which he does with great intensity in the midst of a busy household. Through your post, I am gaining an added appreciation of the workings of his mind. I hadn't thought before of building with Lego as a spiritual experiences. Thanks for sharing, Marnie.

  5. Marnie, I love that you do Lego at Christmas (& other times). One of the "curses" of Lego-is stepping on that piece with socked foot as you walk across the room. I'm sure that is another analogy for life. I like that God "redisigns our broken pieces into new creations." Thanks for this fun, and perceptive post.

    1. Jocelyn, the secret of not finding Lego on the floor is to have a mat or table that it MUST stay on, or it will end up in the vacuum and garbage. There was once a Facebook post that compared walking across a floor of Lego with going through a fire walk. I thought that was fairly accurate - how much courage and faith do you have? LOL


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