"A man found a cocoon of a butterfly. One day a small opening appeared in the cocoon. The man sat and watched the butterfly for several hours as it struggled to squeeze it's body through the tiny hole. Then it stopped as if it couldn't go any further. So the man decided to help the butterfly. He took a pair of scissors and snipped off the remaining bits of cocoon. The butterfly emerged easily but… it had a swollen body and shriveled wings. The man continued to watch it, expecting that any minute the wings would enlarge and expand enough to support the body. Neither happened. In fact, the butterfly spent the rest of its life crawling around the ground. It was never able to fly. Here is what the man in his kindness and haste didn't understand: The butterfly can fly only because it has to struggle to come out of the cocoon. The pushing forces enzymes from the body to wing tip, strengthening the wing muscles and reducing body weight allowing it to fly. This process starts with struggle and ends with the butterfly flying the moment it comes out of the cocoon. Sometimes struggles are exactly what we need in our lives. Going through life with no obstacles would cripple us. We will not be as strong as we could have been and we would never fly."
The purpose of this story is summarized pretty well in that last paragraph; the strength that we gain by going through struggles makes it worth the pain and difficulty. I wanted to share this story with you guys this week because it speaks so much truth.
It's easy to try to pray away our problems, unscathed and unchanged. What we don't realize is it's not so simple. We have to overcome the challenges and obstacles that face us, hands on, with faith in God. And it's hard sometimes, it hurts, and we leave with scars. But we come out so much stronger, wiser, and more ready for what's to come than we were before. I've thought about this in a couple of aspects in my life.
In the past three months, I've lost a friend and I've lost a relative. I have a lot of family and friends that are really hurting. It's hard to see them endure the pain and loss they feel. But what I see in them (whether they do or not) is the strength they gain everyday as they fight these battles. It inspires me, and encourages me to persevere even harder.
I think of the struggles of transitioning from college student to working adult, and it overwhelms me. To me, it's a total transformation, and I'm not sure if I'm ready for it. I fear the struggle and work it'll take for me, but something my dad reminded me is that I should embrace it all. It's the hard work and strife that will get me to where God has intended for me to be.
On a lighter note, it's also kind of like dodgeball at camp. From a counselor's perspective, it hurts to get hit with a dodgeball, and it's embarrassing to have the campers get you out. But it's rare for me to just sit out and never play dodgeball again!
I hope this encourages you all this week to take a look at what you consider to be "the struggles" and remember that in the end, those struggles are what will push, strengthen, and empower your wings to fly. I know, it sounds cheesy, but it's a perspective that can change a lot more than you think!
Thanks for reading! Until next week,
Dec. 29-Jan. 1
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