The Miraculous Metamorphosis
There are a few books from my childhood that have been able to hold space in my memories all these years. The Very Hungry Caterpillar is one of those books that was both educational and entertaining. I’m not so sure if I fully understood what the book was trying to illustrate as a kid but I know I thoroughly enjoyed it. The butterfly has always seemed to be one of those beings that leaves people in awe. It’s vibrant, delicate and unique in comparison to some others you may encounter in nature. As I’ve grown older I’ve come to understand that a butterfly wasn’t always a butterfly and had to evolve from their former being to be at their full potential. Many people marvel at the butterfly but fail to acknowledge the humble beginnings of the caterpillar.
I welcomed my 28th year in January and it has brought about a lot of change. I feel more responsible not only for my life as a whole but my day-to-day being. I feel the need to mean what I say and actually say what I mean. I see the importance of honoring my whole self and not the parts that seem most palpable to others. This is tough because I often think back to the story of the caterpillar. I’ve written about if often but life hasn’t always been so sweet to me. I’m always applauded for where I am but I need people to understand that this work isn’t easy nor always comfortable. The transformation you go through as your morph from one stage to the next can often be riddled with pain and uncertainty.
One of the key parts of a caterpillar’s transformation takes place while there in the chrysalis. Disruption to the chrysalis could possibly botch the whole metamorphosis so protection is essential. Much like the caterpillar, we too go through our own changes and can be impacted by so many different factors. Have you ever been at a crossroad in life where you feel God is literally allowing you to die to yourself? The things that used to feel fun don’t feel so fun anymore. The bad habits you display aren’t nearly as easy to dust off. Your behavior doesn’t seem to be so tolerable. That’s growth and while it may not feel like it at all times, it most certainly is.
Caterpillars go through a stage where they are eating everything. During this period, they’ll shed their skin several times as they continue to grow since the current skin becomes too tight and has to split open. We may not be able to physically shed the entirety of our skin, we too are shedding our former selves. We’re letting go of the ideas that keep us bound and smaller than the universe intends for us to be. We're letting go of the friendships that no longer serve us. We're challenging ourselves to be better in order to maximize our growth. I’ve noticed a change in myself recently and I’ve welcomed it. I’ve also tried to fight it on days when I felt that change was accompanied by enemies of progress like doubt and defeat. It’s during these times that I have to remind myself that this is literally a piece of the process and my evolution.
In the past year, I’ve gone and grown through so many life changes. Each one has done its part to knock me down while also chiseling away at pieces of my being that I’ve outgrown. It’s extremely tough to go through life at difficult times and feel that you’re losing yourself and the identity you've worked so hard to maintain. I'm learning that if I want to continue to grow in my butterfly stage that certain aspects of my being can't come along. Imagine if the caterpillar had felt the same way. Imagine the missed opportunities to see the beauty of the butterfly if the caterpillar decided that the outcome was not worth the work on his part. How many times have we sold ourselves short from being our truest selves because we’ve felt uncomfortable or even unequipped? I’ve missed many opportunities because I was too afraid to step out of my comfort zone and into my destiny. I was so comfortable being hidden but not comfortable with the behind-the-scenes work God was doing.
As mentioned, one of the most important aspects of the metamorphosis is that time spent in the chrysalis. This time is spent hidden away from predators and factors that could disturb the process while the real magic is taking place from within. One of the most beautiful revelations I’ve had about God is that He too sends us through seasons where we are not only hidden but changing. I had to go through a few things to understand that God protects me and will help me evolve if I let Him and trust the process. Periods of growth are scary because it can often result in experiences that aren’t familiar. I’ve had to rest in the fact that the work God needs to be done in me most oftentimes has to be performed out of the public eye. He has to hide me long enough to ensure I’m protected from anything that could trip me up and slow down my progress.
I don’t know what anyone is really going through and I certainly don’t claim to. I do know that if you’re on God’s earth long enough that you’ll more than likely receive your portion of seasons that leave you winded and calling for mercy. It’s hard to understand the necessity of the pain in the moment but eventually it all makes sense. These are the caterpillar moments that you have to be thankful for because they are integral to your metamorphosis. Learn to appreciate where you are even if you’re nestled uncomfortably in the valley. That valley may be protecting you from a storm powerful enough to rip you from the mountain you’re striving to reach. Next time you find yourself wondering what lesson is to be learned from the downfall, stop and think for a moment. God can’t gift you a beautiful life if He doesn’t see your willingness to go through the ugly stages.