There were many things I expected about marriage and parenthood. I was not prepared for the amount of time I would spend assembling pieces of furniture from IKEA using a little Allen wrench and every last bit of my patience (which my wife would say isn’t all that much to begin with). I feel like the Lord has blessed me with some skill sets, but this type of work usually takes me a lot longer than it should.
As part of the move and getting things ready for the arrival of twins, we decided that it was time for Crosley to transition from crib to a big girl bed. For over a year my wife had already picked out the bed that she wanted and of course it came from IKEA. My in-laws were kind enough to purchase it for us and all that was left was the assembly. And so it begins.
The first lie I told myself is that it wouldn’t take very long and so I started the project later at night than I should have. How long could it take? I stared at the task at hand and saw somewhere between 4 and 400 boxes, each numbered, but with no indication of where to start. I chose Box A…no instructions. Box B…no instructions. Whether it was Box K or Box Z I can’t remember, but I found the instructions. Lie number two was that from here it was smooth sailing.
If you are familiar with IKEA instructions, it is similar to a form of hieroglyphics. No words, just a bunch of pictures. I found the bag of 1,000 assorted screws, nuts, and bolts and looked for the white flag in one of the boxes. Perhaps it was time to surrender.
No white flag to be found, I began to work. “How infuriating are the folks that wrote these instructions?” “Why couldn’t they write out instructions?” How do I know that I won’t get ten steps down the road only to realize I had messed up and have to start back over?
But I worked. I watched. I noticed. Step one: complete. Step two: complete…..”Okay…I see what they did here.” “This makes some sense.” “Maybe they do know what they are doing.”
I won’t lie and say that it was my favorite experience ever. There were times when it didn’t make sense. I lost at least an hour having to go back and repeat one step or another. Slowly but surely though, there was now a bed in the room!
I learned that night that God can speak through anything…even IKEA. Faith is hard because the instructions aren’t always laid out the way that I expect. There are times when I think I have finally figured it out only to realize I missed a major step and I have to go back and start over. There are times where I question God and wonder why he chose to do things a certain way.
But, the more that I push through, the more that I follow the instructions the best that I can, and the more that I witness when things do fall into a plan decided with a purpose in mind…the more I remind myself of who is in control.
If you are struggling to believe, I don’t expect to be able to help you understand from the beginning. Faith is a process. I’m learning that I need to take my time, follow the steps in order in the ways that can best…and look to see what God will do through it all!
I still don’t love IKEA. I don’t look forward to the next assembly project. But I think I am better prepared because I’ve done it before. On most days, that explains my next leap of faith.