You have to be a caterpillar first before you can become a butterfly.
It’d be nice to go directly to butterfly. Wouldn’t it be great to be born and walk right into your destiny? There’d be no process to go through.
You’d just wake up one day and soar to the heavens on beautiful, weightless wings in bright and winsome colors.
It doesn’t happen that way. The foundation for the butterfly is the caterpillar, An ugly, single-minded, hungry worm. The purpose — to become as large as possible to fuel the creature that will emerge.
The caterpillar only sees what’s in front of it. It has no concept of the great beyond. Getting enough to eat for today is all that occupies its mind. Survival is its purpose. Survival alone. Finding the next meal. Finding enough.
It’s not an easy life. It’s hard work for the caterpillar to eat enough of the specific plant it needs. It sometimes seems impossible.
Dodging predators. Crawling at a slow pace everywhere it needs to go. And just when it finds a good plant with plenty of leaves, 200 other caterpillars find the same plant. The food is soon gone and it must go on a long trek to find another.
And just when it seems living is as difficult as it can possibly be, but its coping and getting by, change begins. It doesn’t understand why or how. The only thing it can do is go with the change. There is no fighting it, but just starting the process is frighteningly different.
It finds itself in a dark, enclosed space. There is something scary about the place. It feels itself melting into nothingness.
“Hey, somebody. Anybody. Do you see what’s happening to me? Does anybody see? Does anybody care? Anyone will do.”
But from the claustrophobically small space, there is no answer.
“Is this it? Where is food? Why can’t I feel my feet? Why can’t I feel my face?
“What is happening? Is this the all there is to life? It all seems so meaningless. I ate. I went into darkness. I am over.”
It’s at this moment when the caterpillar doesn’t have to wonder what is happening any more. It is sure. It is dying . This is the end. And it gives its all to the inevitable.
It’s in that moment, the moment of surrender that the caterpillar’s intended purpose burgeons.
Emerging from the darkness of its ordeal, it hangs on the edge of a twig for a time, feeling the newness of itself, understanding the possibilities of its new body, but having no idea of what can happen in just a few short hours.
“What are these things?”
It allows fluid to fill its new structure. Slowly its brain begins to process the fact it will no longer be crawling everywhere.
“My feet are not really feet anymore. Am I stuck here forever on this branch?”
Slowly the caterpillar grasps the concept that life for it has totally transformed.
Colors fill its senses. Fluid pumps into wings. Wings that can lift the lowly caterpillar to heights of which it never dreamed.
It is a risky venture, but still these things must be intended to move. A cautious flap and then another. A gust of wind catching it and lifts it above.
The momentum is exhilarating. Once the caterpillar had looked up to see a strange object floating through the sky. Now it looked down to see the caterpillars below.
All of a sudden, it realized.
“Am I am flying? Yes, I am flying.”
Drawn to the bright colors of a flower, it swoops down and instinctively draws in the a liquid.
“Am I drinking the sweet nectar of flowers instead of chopping on leaves?
“Yes I am.”
And then it takes off. No practice need this time. Wings are working in tandem. It learns to guide its path. Up it goes. How far? How high?
“Am I flying so high I can almost touch the face of God?
“Yes, I am and I can.”
It could feel the warmth of the sun, the light breeze of the morning air and it knew all was right in its world.
“I can touch a Creator who destined me to become more than I could ask, think, dream or imagine.
Dodging back and forth in rhythm with all that is great and glorious, it began to understand. This is who it was designed to be from the beginning of time. It was destined to be transformed. Nothing could have stopped it unless it had been an unfaithful caterpillar, denying who it was.
“I am new. I am recreated. I am God’s poetry.”
Passing over a glassy lake, it saw it’s reflection and marveled at the result.
“Me. Look. I was a caterpillar and now I am a butterfly.”
Flying on farther, meeting up with others who floated as free and gracefully as it did filled its entire being with gratitude.
“This is amazing.
“This is amazing … grace.”
“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.” (2 Corinthians 5:17)
Teresa Shields Parker is a Christian weight loss author, coach, podcaster, and speaker, who has lost 250 pounds and kept it off since 2013. Her books include: “Sweet Grace: How I Lost 250 Pounds and Stopped Trying to Earn God’s Favor,” “Sweet Grace Study Guide,” “Sweet Victory: Winning the Battle,” “Sweet Surrender: Breaking Strongholds,” “Sweet Journey to Transformation: Practical Steps to Lose Weight and Live Healthy”, “Sweet Freedom: Losing Weight and Keeping It Off With God’s Help,” “Sweet Freedom Study Guide,” “Sweet Change: True Stories of Transformation,” “Sweet Hunger: Developing an Appetite for God,” and “Sweet Excuses: Stop Lying to Yourself & Start Losing Weight.” She also offers Overcomers Christian Weight Loss Academy and VIP intensive coaching. Don’t miss her weekly podcast, Sweet Grace for Your Journey, where she shares tips from her personal journey of losing weight and discovering healthy living. Contact her at [email protected].