Sunday, March 6, 2011

I'm a Caterpillar who has been afraid of Butterflies.

Caterpillars are a temporary life is one stage in eventually becoming butterflies, but first they've got some things to do.

A caterpillar spends most of it's time eating and growing. The final stage is the butterfly, but before that it goes through several periods of growth, shedding out of it's skin a few times as it gets bigger. Once it is fully grown and can't get any bigger as a caterpillar, then it will find a secure, protected place to prepare for the next stage.

In their cocoon, while it looks like it's a time of rest, there's actually a lot going on inside there, preparing to emerge as a butterfly.

That is a very unscientific look at the lifecycle of a butterfly, but I think it is an analogy for my growth in God.

I'm a caterpillar. I feel like I've gone through many stages of life, with God teaching me things and feeding me his word so that I grow. A few times I've been sure that I've been changing for good, shedding an old skin and taking on a new one, only to find I'm still a caterpillar, just a bit bigger than before.

But it is all in preparation for that final chrysalis stage. A lot of nutrients are needed for the caterpillar to transform inside the cocoon. If a caterpillar tried to become a butterfly before it was fully grown, it wouldn't be able to handle it.

And right now I feel like I may be getting into that cocoon stage. I've found a sheltered, protected place. It feels like I'm resting. It looks like maybe not much is going on. But inside I'm being majorly transformed.

I don't know how long this stage lasts, but I'm excited about what is happening now. And you should be too - whatever stage you are at in growing in God. Each stage is necessary before the next. Keep eating - feeding on God's word. He'll direct you to the next stage. He'll let you know when it's time to break out of the old skin and into the new. Don't be discouraged if it feels like you're not getting anywhere. Look back, and I'll bet you'll see that while you still feel like a caterpillar, you're probably a lot bigger than you used to be.

The funny thing is, I've always been afraid of butterflies. A wierd phobia, but to me they seem flutter around, free, uncontrollable, unpredictable. And now I'm comparing myself to turning into one. And funnily enough, I've always been afraid of the metaphorical butterfly as well.

I like to dream big, but then sometimes have trouble actually realising the dream - not because it's not possible, but because I'm afraid. Afraid to be free, because it seems too scary and unpredictable.

Recently God's been helping me to see that it's ok to be good at things. It's ok to succeed. Being humble doesn't mean being self-depreciating. God has given us gifts to be used, not to bury away. Are we afraid that he doesn't know what he's doing?

Don't be afraid of what God is doing in you. Don't hold onto the old skin, because you're afraid of the new. Don't walk around ignoring those wings on your back, or second guessing yourself, like maybe God made a mistake in giving you wings, so you better not try to use them in case you fail. "I was afraid and went out and hid your gold in the ground." Matthew 25:25

There's no need to be afraid. You may not fly right away - even once a butterfly emerges it takes a little while for it's wings to dry. And then it can fly. Not because it's so clever to have done it on it's own, but because that's what God designed it to do.

(Thanks Mum, for passing on this message to me :)

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