THE CATERPILLAR LIFE

Here is a summary of the main points of this series of blog posts to date:
 
  1. God has designed us to be creative beings.
  2. To be “Butterfly’d” means to burst forth from the “caterpillar life” to the brilliant beauty of the butterfly
  3. The journey to fulfill your creative self starts with the resources you have at hand.
Note: These resources include both the internal (your passions, strengths, and ideas) and the external (this will vary according to your area of creativity).


 
Continuing on with our analogy of the butterfly cycle: After a newly hatched caterpillar finishes eating its eggshell, it moves on to eat the leaves in the area around it. It eats and eats. It eats so much that it grows out of its skin (molts) at least FOUR times before it goes on to the next stage, the formation of the chrysalis.
 
Recently, as I was going through boxes of old papers (shedding the old to make room for the new), I came across a folder of assignments, notes, and exams from a course I took during my first university degree, a Bachelor of Science in Chemistry and Geology. The material was at the same time vaguely familiar and yet quite foreign, as I hadn’t thought about Crystallography for a long time.
 
As I looked at the contents of the folder, I felt a vague uneasiness, wondering why I had wasted all that time going to school and building a career in an area I eventually abandoned. In fact, this cycle of hungry learning, passionate immersion, and subsequent abandonment has repeated itself a number of times in my career.
 
As I lay in bed that night reflecting on what felt suspiciously and surprisingly like regret, I came to this conclusion: while that “caterpillar” stage of my life may in retrospect have looked like a meandering and monotonous munching through several periods of molting, nothing I have done has been wasted.
 

“Unfurling” of glory is not a rapid release, but a natural unfolding over time.
 
This period of my life—the caterpillar stage—gave me the following skills that managed to build in me necessary and valuable skills that have served me well in my current ministry:
 
  1. The ability to do research
  2. The ability to critically read, review, and edit all manner of documents
  3. The ability to write and revise concisely
  4. Opportunities to develop collaborative skills
  5. Experience interacting with a wide range of people
  6. Opportunities to gain confidence in public speaking
  7. Development of resilience in the face of opposition (wow, that’s a story in itself)
  8. The confidence to push boundaries and operate outside my comfort zone

And many, many more!
 
Paralleling all this was my personal spiritual growth. For all of us, as we learn and grow, we will be like the caterpillar that splits and sheds its skin as we come to new levels of understanding in our spiritual walk. And like the caterpillar, that may happen a number of times in our respective journeys.
 
We all have a caterpillar stage in our lives: some last longer and have more “shedding” events than others. Some people in fact never grow out of the caterpillar stage. But for many of us, the ultimate goal is to become that beautiful butterfly, to be able to spread our wings and fly to God’s glory.
 
Once last thing to remember: the caterpillar stage is necessary to become a butterfly. So if you are feeling stuck in the caterpillar stage, be encouraged: your time will come, for God is preparing you for something far greater; in fact, greater than you could ever ask or imagine.

 

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