Have you ever bought a piece of furniture from IKEA? It takes hours to construct based off the cryptic, graphic-only instructions. After all the blood, sweat, and tears, you have bonded with your furniture and it starts to distort your perspective. Suddenly, you’re perfectly accept, proud in fact, of the piece of furniture that has less than impressive results.
We do this because we put a greater value on it because it is the fruit of our labor. This has become known as the IKEA Effect (Why You Love That Table Even if It’s Crooked), and was coined by a marketing professor from Tulane University.
While this marketing and psychological term points out how we are likely to overlook our own shoddy workmanship, this same effect happens with our ideas and lifestyle. It’s easy to look at someone else’s life and point out what they’re doing to mess things up and where they don’t have it all together. Although, how often do we look at our own sins and downplay them as if they are not very bad? What if we were as appalled by our own sins as we are by the sins of others?
Intention is Important
Recently, in a very deep and personal conversation with a friend where he expressed their frustration with how their life goals were going by unaccomplished. This `seems to be a common problem these days with many young adults of my generation. Many are asking “Why isn’t it happening for me?”
We are quick to take the process for granted.
In our careers, relationships, faith journey, and other personal goals we can’t expect life to simply happen for us. It’s so easy to put in a minimal effort into a new goal and give up when we fail. It is also equally difficult to stop after we have put so much effort into the habits we need to break. We have slowly grown to value our vices, simply because they have been ours for so long.
Jesus came to free us from our chains, but so often we go back to them because it’s what we’ve grown comfortable with over the time we spent in them. We need to be honest with ourselves, and pray for our veils to be lifted. Then through some introspection we can pinpoint where the Lord is calling us to reform. It’s not until then that we can really get to work.
What I have failed to Do
Every mass, Catholics confess we have sinned and ask for forgiveness for all we have done and failed to do. Matthew chapter 25 highlights some important points about this.
In the parable of the talents, it is the one that does nothing with his talents that gets labeled the useless servant and thrown into the darkness (Matthew 25:14-30). Then a few lines later during the Judgement of Nations, Jesus also condemns those that failed through their inaction for the marginalized. (Matthew 25:31-46).
When our laziness creeps in, as it always tries, it is essential to recognize it and not let it get the best of us. In choosing to do wrong, there is also a failure to do good. Those bad habits formed often require a mending and correction through the sanctifying actions we denied in our laziness.
Our life goals and spiritual growth will certainly have their setbacks, and failure is part of the learning process. Our ultimate success will be determined by how we react and engage failure through the cross of our Lord. Never forget that His love and mercy is always there to pick us up when we fall.
By His saving grace, the virtue of diligence can overcome our sin of sloth.
What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can that faith save him? If a brother or sister has nothing to wear and has no food for the day, and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, keep warm, and eat well,” but you do not give them the necessities of the body, what good is it? So also faith of itself, if it does not have works, is dead.