(I am so excited to begin this journey toward discovering a life of becoming with you. Be sure to check out last week’s introduction to this new series if you missed it!)
Metamorphosis: change of physical form, structure, or substance especially by supernatural means; a striking alteration in appearance, character, or circumstances.
Butterflies undergo what is considered a “complete metamorphosis”. To grow into an adult — a mature, flying, free adult — it goes through the four stages: egg (birthing), larva (crawling), pupa (cocooning) and adult (flying).
Complete transformation comes when we pass through all four stages of metamorphosis.
My friend, your complete metamorphosis can be transformation of your whole lifetime. Or it can be transformation from one circumstance to the next. Or it can be growth through a situation that brings you to mature adulthood.
It can be a lifetime or a season. Or many seasons.
Birth → crawl → cocoon → fly.
Birth → crawl → cocoon → fly.
Rinse and repeat.
Over and over.
Instead of that being frustrating to you, it should be so very liberating. It should give you permission to take a deep breath in and then exhale and then settle into a holy anointing of chill out.
Because here’s what is incredibly fascinating — the ancient Greek word for butterfly is psuche (soo-kay) which means “soul” or “mind.” The KJV New Testament Greek Lexicon defines psuche as “the seat of the feelings, desires, affections, aversions (our heart, soul, etc.).” (That’s no coincidence, considering our souls and minds go through amazing transformation when we become believers in Christ.)
So if the Ancient Greek word for butterfly means soul, and the definition of soul means the basis of our feelings and desires, then by design we are supposed to transform like a butterfly.
And by design our desires, feelings, affections and aversions are supposed to morph into beautiful things that are meant to fly, too.
It’s a holy and purposeful plan. A life of becoming is divine and intentional. And if we look back, we can see these four stages of transformation are actually pretty biblical:
Throughout the Bible, again and again, we see how God brought his children through complete metamorphosis. For some it was a lifetime, for others a season.
But flying always starts with a vision — a dream. A word given by God. That is when the process is birthed.
The Birthing Phase
A butterfly’s life begins as a very small egg, and in many species, you can see the specific caterpillar shape inside the egg from the moment it’s birthed. The eggs are typically laid on a dark and quiet leaf, and require intentional searching to find them.
Does that sound familiar?
“You know exactly how I was made, bit by bit, how I was sculpted from nothing into something. Like an open book, you watched me grow from conception to birth; all the stages of my life were spread out before you.” (Psalm 139:14, The Message)
Our lives are an awful lot like a butterfly egg, aren’t they?
We keep ourselves and our dreams quiet and hidden and shaded and sheltered. He gives us this egg…this tiny egg that contains what we think is a caterpillar. And we love that egg and cradle it and name it and envision life after the caterpillar is born.
And all the while it was never meant to be just a caterpillar.
That thing I kept quiet and hidden and shaded and sheltered? It’s not the thing I thought it was. In fact, it’s the exact opposite of what I thought it was.
I thought it crawled, and yet it flies.
I thought it had legs, and yet it has wings.
I thought it only knew the earth, and yet it knows the boundary-less skies.
Or we believe it actually is a butterfly, but find ourselves assuming it’s a Monarch when God has planned for a Blue Morpho. And instead of celebrating the uniqueness, we focus on what it’s not, instead of focusing on what it is.
Because just like that butterfly egg, from the moment of our birth, God knew the colors of our wings and our pattern of flight. He knew exactly what day we’d emerge from the egg and begin crawling on the ground.
He knew when we’d cocoon and how long it would last. He knew when it would be time for us to break free and saw how we’d cautiously unfold of our wings.
He knew how we’d flap them around a bit to get the feel of them…how we’d take a few nervous steps and then suck in a deep breath and take off.
Do you need to hear that again?
He doesn’t birth ANYTHING that He doesn’t intend to bring to life.
But we get stuck — you and me, we get stuck — right there at the birthing stage. Because we see ourselves or we see our dream and we think we know exactly what it is. And we make a plan and try to hatch that egg way too early in our way and our time.
And that kills it.
Do you have an exciting new vision, dream, idea, goal, plan? Are you filled with a sense of anticipation and hope?
Then you just might be in the birthing stage of a transformation in your life. And it’s beautiful and wonderful and exciting and holy.
However, my friend, be careful not to get stuck there.
Don’t spend so much time focusing on the dream or vision that you lose sight of Jesus. Don’t spend more time thinking about IT than you do HIM. Be cautious to embrace the hope and believe God, while continuing about the things He has given to you to do right here, right now, today. Don’t try to figure out what it’s going to look like, or how it will all work out, or draw up the blueprints for the rest of the stages of transformation.
Because look at what happens when we get stuck on the egg:
- We birth Ishmaels
- We give our pearls to swine and end up enslaved
- We end up in wrong relationships
- We pursue unhealthy endeavors
- We make an idol of the egg
Instead, praise Him for the egg and remember it’s hidden on a dark and quiet leaf and never stop praying about it. But then keep on. Move forward. Be Mary and ponder it in your heart. Focus on today and trust that God will let you know when it’s time for the egg to hatch and for the caterpillar to start eating. And know the life He gives that dream will look extremely different than you ever thought possible.
Trusting God is the most vital part of the process of becoming.
“I don’t think the way you think. The way you work isn’t the way I work.” God’s Decree. “For as the sky soars high above earth, so the way I work surpasses the way you work, and the way I think is beyond the way you think.” (Isaiah 55:9, The Message)
What have your birthing experiences been like in the past? Are you currently in a birthing phase right now? I’d love to hear what God is showing you as you journey toward complete metamorphosis.