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Monday, May 21, 2012

Lessons from Ikea

Yesterday was a long day.

We spent a nice morning visiting a church and then headed down the I5 to Ikea. This store has relatively cheap and tasty food, so we thought it would be fun to have lunch and then hang around a bit for some shopping. In my "guy" brain, I hadn't really thought much past the food.  I figured we would maybe spend an hour or so shopping.

Some of you have already begun laughing. You know the time warp that is Ikea. Now try and image this behemoth of a store with 4 small children, who all need to either eat, pee, or whine constantly. About four hours in, I had lost my sense of direction and my patience. I just wanted out. In that emotional place, I found myself noticing how I was treating others. My wife's desire to "just look some more" was aggravating. My kid's insistence on trying out every bed and chair was irritating. Other shopper's plans to simply walk by us was annoying. I was rude, impatient, arrogant and aloof. At least that's how I felt on the inside. I'm not sure how much of it actually spilled out, but likely more than I care to admit.

I wrote this line in my journal today: "I will not be tomorrow anything I am unwilling to be today." In other words, I won't magically become someone in the future without putting work and effort into that desire today. If you were to ask me who I would like to be 5 or 10 years down the road, I would tell you that I want to be more patient, more humble, more engaged with my wife and kids, and kinder to people around me. I desire these things. But am I living them today? Perhaps not perfectly, but am I moving this way? Yesterday felt like I took a step back.

So today I will try again. With the constant questions or neediness of my children, I will work on being patient. With my wife's interests and ideas, I will remind myself to stay engaged. With strangers around me and neighbors beside me, I will seek to be loving and kind as Christ would be. I will attempt to think not only of my own interests, but in humility to consider others as more important than myself. If I have any hope of being that person tomorrow, then I must begin today.

You will not be anything tomorrow that you are unwilling to be today. It is easy to have grand ideas about the kind of person we will be in the great blue yonder. Somehow, we think we'll just wake up one day and be the person we have always wanted to be- kinder to our spouse, healthier in our habits, more disciplined in our day, more deeply dedicated to God- but the truth is we will be an amplified version then of what we are now.

Who are you being today?

May you behave today like the kind of person you would be happy to be tomorrow.

And know this: God's grace is with you on that journey today. And tomorrow.

Just rambling-


Marcia said...

Nice. I can so relate to your feelings of frustration with shopping. A big store like IKEA especially! Ugh. Very good point about starting today with who we want to be. It's the same mentality that gets me in trouble with "doing" -- having these lofty ideas of something I will do down the road, that I somehow never get around to. I hadn't thought of it in terms of "being" though. Interesting.

Davideo2 said...

This is a lesson my students need to learn. I think I'll laminate it and stick it to the wall!