Are you in a season of change? Looking to re-purpose your dreams? Antsy to adapt, grow, and build character where it counts? Perhaps this is your chrysalis season.
Let’s first take a stroll back through the life cycle of a butterfly to get a glimpse of what a chrysalis is. This stage of a butterfly’s existence is one of the most fascinating. Anyone whose ever read The Very Hungry Caterpillar knows it all starts with a tiny egg lying on a leaf. Out pops a caterpillar who is indeed very hungry. He eats and eats and eats until he is full grown. Then, he attaches himself onto a leaf or stem and transforms himself into a chrysalis.
It may appear that this caterpillar is vegging out in there doing nothing. However, the result of this period of metamorphosis reveals he was definitively not doing nothing. When he emerges again, this caterpillar’s caterpillar parts have transformed into exquisite butterfly parts. The result of this radical change- a living, painted, flying piece of art.
In Desperate Need of Change
Like a caterpillar, humans often enter into stages of significant transformation. A yearning for change emerges in all life’s seasons. Perhaps you’ve:
- Hit rock bottom
- Lost a spouse, parent, or child
- Grown bored of your job
- Realized you’ve been abused
- Had a business fail
- Gotten antsy about where you are at in life
- Been through a difficult trial
- Reached the pinnacle of success in your sphere
- Just wrestled free from an addiction
- Failed at something very important to you
- Realized you were made for something more than what you are doing
- Come face to face with yourself and realized you aren’t happy with what you see.
Whatever your situation, you may be at a point that you realize that you have to adapt or you will never heal; you have to pursue something new or your life feels stagnant; you have to keep moving toward something, or you feel you’ll sink into oblivion; you have to change to be who and where you want to be.
My Family’s Chrysalis Season
A Failure That Wasn’t Fatal
My husband recently poured his heart, soul, and a lot of sweat into preparing for a shark-tank like experience at his work. He and his boss prepared two great ideas for innovation that could transform their workplace for the benefit of their team and all their patients. They each pitched one of the ideas to a large group that included all their higher ups. Both pitches moved forward. Then, only one moved forward, and they teamed up. In the end, neither excellent idea won the money and the chance to emerge. They were justifiably very disappointed. You know what my husband did? He clung to:
“Success is not final and failure is not fatal” Winston Churchill
He brainstormed where he wants to be in life and what he needs to do to get there. He used the failure to motivate and spur him forward toward his dreams.
A Sorrow That Wasn’t Insurmountable
This last year for many reasons plunged me into a tumbleweed of trials. None of them were of my own direct instigation, but all of them significantly affected me. I feel like I’ve gone into a chrysalis. I’m seeking with all I am to learn, to see what I need to do to emerge from all this with even stronger character, to find what it takes to grieve so well that no bitterness or resentment can remain, to build muscle and grit and voice for the future, to seek clarity for re-purposing the dreams I’ve had that seemed to have died, to lean in hard to the Father and Friend who alone can make all of this a positive transformation.
I feel like I’ve necessarily pulled inward. I’ve sought wise counsel. I’ve read somewhere around 50 books since May. I’ve leaned heavily on the Lord and on those wise and loving people in my life who care enough to call/text/email me again and again, because they know I need it. I feel strongly that I’m in a chrysalis season. And I can wait. I can wait to see how the Lord has designed for me to emerge.
Big change doesn’t often happen all at once. One book is only a drop in the bucket for the change I’ve seen since May in me. But it starts with one. Position changes start with one Google search for open positions, one question posed to the right person, one resume submitted. Healing hurt starts with one good cry and opening yourself to give or receive one loving gesture. One foot forward brings motion to the second, and before you know it, your steps are bleeding into one another, growing, building, changing you and your future.
Sometimes little changes are like my husband choosing to shave off his facial hair, which he’s had for many years now. His facial recognition on his phone doesn’t recognize him now :), but it’s a small change that is one step toward something different. For you it might look like changing that picture on the wall, removing that article of clothing from your wardrobe that reminds you of something painful, or just setting a date for coffee with that one friend who loves you enough to listen well.
Understand Why You Need To Change
As my husband has said,
Something needs to change- what is it? You need to change. The purpose is not to change for change sake, but to understand why changes need to be made.
I believe strongly that there is something to learn, some sin to purge, some way to improve through every trial and every situation I face. It takes seeking the Lord to know what that is.
Understand How You Change
True, lasting change occurs as a result of the Holy Spirit’s work in our lives. They Holy Spirit convicts us of sin and shows us ways to develop Christ-likeness. He also gives us the power and builds in us the character we need to move from where we are to where we need to be. As we seek God, he can give us a vision for where He would like us to be as well as the power and life circumstances we need to get there.
Dare To Dream Again
As you seek God for what He has dreamed for you, think back to what you used to dream about when you were young. What did you imagine you were through play? Were you an explorer out to discover plants and animals no one knew existed? Were you a prince out to slay a dragon? An orphan out to rescue the other orphans from an evil tyrant? Of those things, what truly reflects your heart- what activities get you all stoked up and put that glimmer back in your eye?
Think about what you truly enjoy and desire to do. Psalm 37:4 says,
Delight yourself in the LORD, and he will give you the desires of your heart.
As you delight yourself in God, knowing and celebrating Him, He aligns your desires with His for your life. If you are seeking and loving God with your life, and you have a strong desire to do something or interest and enjoyment in something, pay attention! That is likely a God-given desire that God has a plan to bring to fruition in your life.
Dare to let yourself dream. Where do your childhood fantasies intersect with your adult ideals? Let your imagination go! If you could be anything, what would it be?
- Where would you live?
- Who would be with you?
- What would you be doing? For whom? For what purpose?
- What would a day in your life look like?
- What music would reflect the tenor of your life?
In all, what do you feel God really made you for?
There really is and always ever will be only one you. One you that God designed. One life for you to embrace with your whole self. One life to be enjoyed day by day.
Let God help you build it step by step. Dare to dream. Maybe this could be your chrysalis season, too.
If you’ve been through a chrysalis season in your life, or if you are in one now, please share in the comments below. Your story might just be the blessing the give another the courage to embrace transformation in their own life.
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This blog is designed to help you delight in the one life you have with your whole self. It is designed to challenge us not to just watch life pass us by, but to dive into it and dare to actually live it- and to live it well. I pray it does just that.
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