Saturday, April 2, 2016

Pain and Butterflies

I love butterflies! There is something so dainty and beautiful about a butterfly flitting through the yard. I always pause, just for a moment to appreciate them.

I also love caterpillars! They come in so many different colors and patterns. Some are furry, some aren't, some have stripes, others are plain. But the amazing thing about them is to think of the change they will go through to become these dainty beautiful creatures silently drifting through your flowers.

I'm sure we have all thought about the change they go through to become those beautiful creatures.

But today I was thinking about how it is kind of an unattractive process. Have you ever seen a chrysalis? Not very pretty. Not colorful. If you didn't know what it was, or what was happening inside you would completely overlook it.

Yet, it is such an essential part of what God created that caterpillar to do. To change. To become something new. To struggle out of what is holding it, into its new and different form. Somehow, instinctively, that caterpillar knows that it has to pull in, take some time to build it a place to change and then the change begins.

We were all created to do things. What you and I were created to do, may be very different. But to completely fulfil what God's purpose for us is, requires change. It requires us to let go of who we think we are to become what He created us to be. He did not create us to be selfish, unkind and prideful. He created us to be the opposite, selfless, kind and humble.

A caterpillar is an interesting creature. It eats plants and poops. In that part of its lifecycle it does do something, but not a lot. However, when it becomes a butterfly it can pollinate plants and flowers. It can lay eggs to create more caterpillars. It cannot reach the full measure of its potential in the caterpillar state. It must change.

Change is often ugly, uncomfortable and unattractive to those who don't understand what we are going through. It's often not until the metamorphosis is complete that others can appreciate what we have gone through.

But we need to not fear the ugly. That is the only way a caterpillar can change into the butterfly it was created to be. We need to recognize that the work is hard and sometimes silent, sometimes seems boring, can take longer than we think.

And in all that, we need to remember that the process is different for each of us. We may look at someone else and think, Hhmmmm, not so attractive." But that might be the chrysalis part of the change that person is going through.

I am currently raising a teenager. If nothing else, it qualifies me to recognize how a metamorphosis can be frustrating, ugly, difficult, uncomfortable, and seemingly unending.
Can you think back to a time as a child when you had growing pains? I remember waking up at nights with my legs aching. The pain was unexpected and overwhelming. It was also seemingly "undeserved." The pain wasn't from an injury, or as the result of too much running, hours of roller skating or anything else. It was simply part of the process of changing, growing. Yet that pain was essential to my literal growth.

Some of my most frustrating and ugly spots have been when I realized that I wasn't being who God wanted me to be and that it was time for change and I didn't necessarily know how, or even want to change.

But when I let go, and let Him do His work, He makes me more of the beautiful creation He intended. My change will take a lifetime. There will be times that I feel like the gorgeous butterfly, but more often than not, I will probably feel like the ugly chrysalis. And that's okay, as long as I don't lose sight of the process and forget the outcome! He created me to be more than just a caterpillar. He created me to be a useful and beautiful butterfly.

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