like a monarch

So, my nephews have been raising monarch caterpillars this summer. It has been an incredible miracle to witness as each little caterpillar consumes enough milkweed leaves to grow and grow until they somehow know it’s time for change.

And then they just start.

It’s hard to know HOW they know, but they just know when to start the steady transformation into what is called their “chrysalis”. They shed the only skin they’ve known to become something entirely different and yet so completely part of their genetic make up. They were meant for this. They don’t doubt the process, they don’t appear to want to fight the change, they don’t cling to the skin they’ve known so well for fear of what’s to come.

As someone who has, more often than not, doubted myself along each step in life, I marvel as I watch these little creatures just do what they do. No questioning, no pondering, no bargaining with God about why they weren’t a lady bug or a cicada instead of a monarch caterpillar. Nope, they just do what monarch caterpillars do.

And somewhere in this tiny miracle I see God, I hear Him telling me to just do what I’m made to do, fearlessly. It’s not always clearly one thing we were made to do, but sometimes it is. Sometimes there’s a specific vocation or calling that God leads us to that just so perfectly suits how we were made and aligns with what we’re passionate about. Other times, we might not see what we’re “made for” with such clarity, but there’s such beauty in being so ourselves in whatever circumstance we live. Because, you see, no matter what you “do” in this life, each one of us was made to be known by, and to know, our Creator, and be changed by this “knowing”. Once you realize that you are who you are for a reason and not an accident, not a mistake, not second-best or lesser in some way, it changes the whole game.

Despite seeing God’s fingerprints alllll over my life, I have tended to cling to remnants of what used to be comfortable, to hide, to not be vulnerable to others’ scrutiny or rejection. But it’s time to see that we were made to encounter our Creator, see His abundant love for us, see where His saving grace runs deep and then shed the skin of past hurts, shame, fear, guilt, and poor self-esteem in exchange for what He has for us in this lifetime, namely, love. Love permeates everything if we choose it, if we choose to receive it and if we choose to give it, especially when it doesn’t come naturally. I think that is when we become like that beautiful monarch butterfly, when we have been transformed by God’s love and live freer than we ever have, without looking back.

It would be awfully silly for a butterfly to carry around it’s old skin, wouldn’t it? It would weight it down and keep it from doing what it was now intended to do.

So, one by one, day by day, in the moments when we feel the default of bitterness or anger or fear like a reflex, we can choose to let go and reach for love.

Yes, I think that’s what we were made for.




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