Thank you for coming back! We’re halfway through our series on embracing a life of becoming. If you’ve new to this series, here are the previous weeks if you want to catch up!
After all that crawling, the cocoon can be a welcome relief, can it not? The place we can hole up and stop fighting so hard. Where we can regenerate and replenish and let go and be.
And sometimes it is. Sometimes it is a place of safety, of quiet, of introspection and protection and guidance. A time when God lets you have a breather and you exhale and decompress for a spell.
And those cocoons are sweet. They are a respite for a weary soul and precious times to cherish.
There is a challenge in this particular cocoon, though, and that is to fight complacency. Because it’s sure cushy in there and it seems good enough, right? The welcome relief of the crawling being over can be misleading and convince you that you’ve been transformed and are flying.
When really, you’re not flying at all. You’re just stopping.
Absence of pain doesn’t equal freedom. Flying equals freedom. (tweet)
I believe Abram would agree with this. From my perspective, his crawling time was fathering Ishmael with his servant, instead of waiting on God to provide an heir His way. But Abram’s cocooning time was when God changed his name. God said,
“To symbolize your foundational role in this covenant, I hereby change your name.” (Genesis 17:5)
And Abram became Abraham and he cocooned for a time, wrapping up in his new name and his wife’s new name. During that time he stopped focusing on the word promised to him and instead interceded for Sodom and Gomorrah. He sheds the skin of fear by pretending for a time that Sarah is his sister, and yet God protects him.
He’s close to God, spoke to by God, protected by God. Flying, right?
But then Isaac is born. At his and Sarah’s old, old age, their son is given to them and then Abraham truly knows what it is to fly, God’s way.
* * *
But the cocooning phase can also be misleading. Sometimes it’s a place of waiting and sheltering and dying to self…and it is easy to think you’re not really cocooning — that instead somehow, you’ve just moved right into Crawling 2.0.
It can be a season of everything being tested — our desires, character and integrity. Where we have to answer the question,
Are you willing to let the caterpillar die, so that the butterfly will live? (tweet)
Like the Israelites. I’m sure when they left Egypt only to wander in the desert they felt as if they entered Crawling 2.0. They grumbled and complained because they couldn’t see the Promised Land they were told they would enter.
But if you look closely, it’s evident they were in a time of cocooning:
- God led them the entire way, a pillar of cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night.
- He provided everything for them — food and commandments and clothes that wouldn’t wear out.
- He tested their will and desires and character and integrity, asking them if they were willing to let their dusty and enslaved caterpillars die so the butterflies might live.
God wants butterflies who know how precious the freedom to fly is…who will not take it for granted.
And while God is helping us shed some of our sinful self when we crawl, it’s in the cocooning that he polishes us.
Cocooning might not feel like a safe place sometimes, but it truly is. Because even in the wrestling with God we do in that chrysalis, it’s where the physical and spiritual transformation happens.
It’s where we get our wings.
And isn’t that the most breathtaking, majestic and awe-inspiring part of the whole transformation? That we go through an actual metamorphosis — the transformation from old to new. That we absolutely and completely change is better than the flying itself.
Many people get stuck in the cocoon and they never emerge and fly. Sometimes it’s because they are too comfortable with the ground and crawling and using their feet — and are too afraid of the sky and using wings, to fly.
Others wait and wait for God to free them from the cocoon, when in reality, the butterfly has to get itself out of the cocoon. It has to use its new claws that are foreign and unfamiliar and dig itself out into a world that is brand new to them, because they are brand new. They can’t even eat the same anymore — their mouths go from having teeth that chew to a long tongue used for sipping.
All that newness is intimidating, sometimes. And so we sit in the cocoon, praying and praying for the day God breaks it open, when He’s watching and saying,
“Get up, get going and move on.” (Deuteronomy 2:24, The Voice)
The cocooning is not a place to fear or to forever hide in. It’s a place God designed for the divine purpose of bringing transformation to your life.
Because it’s only through this transformation that you can do what He designed for you to do.
I never want to be the butterfly that is so comfortable waiting and waiting that she never uses her transformed parts to get out of that cocoon! The waiting part can be difficult to endure – and for those of us who are wrapped up in a physical cocoon, like with an illness that forces us to bed or a diagnosis that doesn’t allow us to use our bodies the way we wish to. Such such good stuff, my friend!