It is Sunday night. Our girl asks me to braid her hair, and set the alarm for tomorrow. She mourns the end of Spring Break, and moving slowly into a day.
Change is hard.
I review comments for an online memoir writing class I began two weeks ago. It was one of those "this will be an adventure" and "I'm excited and scared" decisions when I signed up.
The process of learning how to write memoir has stirred up a beehive of insecurity about my writing.
Photo courtesy of Creative Commons Flickr user Gidzy
So I remind myself: growth is uncomfortable. I remember how a butterfly struggles to leave its cocoon. We saw this when we bought caterpillars and watched each spin a cocoon or chrysalis around itself.
A caterpillar disappears into its chrysalis form for at least a week or so before you see the chrysalis shaking and moving as a butterfly slowly emerges. Its former home must be ripped apart for the butterfly to be free.
It seems a little like a magic trick. Where did the caterpillar go? In it goes, and out comes a completely different being.
For me, old thought patterns and habits must die. New habits must be born if I truly want to write.
A caterpillar enters the chrysalis to die a caterpillar and become a butterfly.
A butterfly must go through the process of struggling to leave its chrysalis. If one cuts a chrysalis open to "help" the butterfly, one will actually kill it. Without the struggle, a butterfly's wings will be too weak to fly.
Somehow a butterfly's struggle to emerge is necessary for its wings' strength and ability to fly. It makes me think of how God uses trials in our lives (James 1:2-4).
Once it leaves its chrysalis, a butterfly does not fly immediately because its wings are wet and crumpled up like an accordion. It still does not look like what it will be.
The butterfly's wings must dry first. When its wings unfurl, a Painted Lady Butterfly's wings are mostly orange with a black and white pattern.
You and I do not look like what God, time, and our struggles, will create. Who we are now does not fully reveal who we will become.
I read once that its wings are like solar panels and they need to absorb solar energy before flying. Before I can be my true self, I must spend time with the One, who created me and knows me best.
This imagery came to mind as I processed my feelings, and it comforted me. It was okay I was struggling to find my voice, and to learn how to write memoir.
[I know: it is why I signed up for the class in the first place.]
It was the truth I needed to silence my inner critic: growth takes time and I will feel discomfit.
Just because something is hard, it doesn't necessarily mean that it is not where I should be.
For those of you, who don't battle perfectionism, this may seem like a basic observation. But for a recovering perfectionist, this is a huge truth.
One I must return to again and again whenever I am learning something new.
"May you learn to see yourself
with the same delight,
with which God sees you in every moment."
— John O'Donohue
It felt like a gentle hug from God. It felt like He was saying, "I see you, Dolly, and it is not about the end product. It is about you learning to trust I see you with delight, and pride now/in your process."
God's delight in me does not depend on my performance. Repeat again (to myself).
God's delight in you does not depend on your performance, especially when you are trying.
God's delight in us does not depend on if we are a caterpillar, hiding in a chrysalis, struggling to emerge, or a flying butterfly.
I am learning to embrace the process of becoming, and allowing God to embrace me in the becoming process.
Don't miss the journey because you are focused on the destination.
The journey with God is the real treasure, ultimately. God reminds me of this foundational truth. Constantly.
God wants me to trust Him enough to believe what He says about me. He delights in me (Zephaniah 3:17).
May you know today that God delights in you, even those little faltering steps you take in obedience to Him. Especially those faltering ones.
As you struggle to grow and let God work out His perfect will in your life, I pray you will feel His unconditional love and delight for you.
What do you think and feel when you read that God delights in you - even when you are in process?
How would you live differently if you truly believed God delights in you?
P.S. Will you please join me in praying for Boston and its people? Jennifer shares "Where Was God in Boston?"
Thanks for sharing this place with me.
And sweet and gifted friend Laura Boggess,
Linking with encouraging and talented friend Jennifer Dukes Lee,
and the amazing Jen