Hello Butterflies! It has been a whirlwind week, and quite honestly, I am not sure why. It has been a week of me feeling like Spring has SPRUNG, yet there is still a Winter chill. Feeling like the world is out here, just mine for the taking, yet stagnancy is trying to keep me tied up and weighted down. Off and on and on and off. Feeling like I am flying with the lightest of butterfly wings… and yet, the wings feel heavy. And it’s funny how people will see things moving ahead for you, like the little engine that could, and yet, they don’t know that the more things move ahead, the heavier the weight of wanting to succeed, of having to succeed of needing to succeed seems to almost lay itself on your wings. And every Butterfly doesn’t make it, every Butterfly can’t fly with weight, because every Butterfly isn’t the same. And sometimes, this Butterfly wonders if will she able to carry the gift of her wings, wings that bare the weight of her gift.
As I was thinking about this, I decided to do some research about the culture of the Butterfly. And I learned four things about Butterflies that I need to keep in mind when fighting the “good fight of faith” in this life…
1-Scientists have proven that Monarch Butterflies are the strongest with a range that is worldwide.
Monarchs are the only Butterflies that perform an annual migration across North America which has been called “one of the most spectacular natural phenomena in the world.” Starting in September and October, eastern/northeastern populations migrate from southern Canada and the United States to overwintering sites in central Mexico where they arrive around November. They start the return trip in March, arriving around July. No individual butterfly completes the entire round trip; female monarchs lay eggs for the next generation during the northward migration and at least four generations are involved in the annual cycle. Something interesting to note is not all monarchs migrate BUT migrating populations and non-migrating populations coexist in many areas.
After learning all of that, I made up in my mind that I was indeed born to be a Monarch. But with being a Monarch came great responsibility. See it’s not just about being strong for myself, but I have to be strong enough to go the distance to make sure that the generation after me is birthed in a place that will nurture them and allow them to pick up the Mantle of the Monarchs and continue the journey, just like with actual Butterflies. And I had to understand that there are other Monarchs who, although they possess the same strength, and serve the same GOD as me, we may not have the same gifts. Their Kingdom assignment may not be to make the global trip nor carry the responsibility of birthing the next generation, but it is ok, because we all carry the Monarch name and therefore should be able to dwell together peacefully. 1st Corinthians 12 vs. 4-6 NIV reads, “There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit distributes them. There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord. There are different kinds of working, but in all of them and in everyone it is the same God at work.”
I am a Monarch.
2-The gifts that I have been given will attract prey, but it is the gifts that I have been given that will be my way of escape.
Most butterflies are brightly colored, which would seem to counter their evasiveness by making them easier to spot and track. A report in the October 28 issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences done by Biologist Thomas Eisner and Benjamin Jantzen states, “a butterfly’s ability to evade AND its blatant pigmentation may go hand in hand. Daytime butterflies are large and visible to birds. Since they are going to be spotted in any case, being showy about it isn’t a drawback, but is potentially a defensive maneuver—to advertise that they are difficult to catch. Butterflies, “have giant wings that are just so brightly colored,” says Jantzen, “and those are exactly what make it hard to get hold of them.”
I have been told that I have a bright and colorful personality. And at times, I have felt that, because of my colors, I became the prey, just like the Butterfly. I became an easy target to hunt and hang out to dry, BECAUSE my color was so noticeable. Times I felt like something was wrong with me because I couldn’t tone down who I was, my coat had too many colors. I noticed it was ok when people wanted to be entertained, but to continuously be colorful…that was just too much. I remember back in 2011, I was told by a Vice President that people’s perception of me, was reality. In other words, whatever someone thought about me, was true. And that shook me up, because there was a point when she told me that I was too social (even though I got the work done and helped some of her managers as well) and another time when she said I was basically not social enough, always in my office space (even though I got the work done and helped some of her managers as well.) So, what perception should I fight to change??? None…I decided to dilute my colors and shorten my wingspan. But then GOD reminded me how far I had come in him and how it was his power at work in me that people needed to see. He reminded me by way of Matthew 15 vs. 14-16 NIV. “…let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.” And by totally and completely surrending myself over to GOD and his will for my life, and allowing my life to reflect HIM, no matter how many times my colors alerted the enemy that I was on the move, light cancels out darkness, so as long as I kept shining, no predator devil in hell would be able to get ahold of me!
I am a Monarch.
3- I can still fly with clipped or broken wings, albeit a bit slower, but I will still get to my destination.
A Butterfly has 4 wings, two front wings and 2 hind-wings. The front wings in butterflies are the ones driven by the insect’s muscles; the hind wings are passively coupled to the front ones. A biologist, Thomas Eisner (the same Thomas Eisner I write about above under number 2,) decided to investigate just what the back wings were doing by trimming them away bit by bit and found that if he removed the entire hind wing, the insects could still fly the same trajectory path but they tend to fly a little slower. He also realized that wing breakage is very common in natural circumstances.
When I read that the Butterfly could still make it to its destination with wings that were imperfect, wings that may be deformed, I took a hard look at my own wings and some of the traumas they have suffered at the hands of others and also at my own hands. I looked at my wings in their weakened state, feeling heavy under the weight of life, and it became even clearer to me that I had no excuse not to move forward in what it was that GOD was calling me to do. See, even when my wings weren’t perfect, and even when people wanted to see if I could really survive and fly by clipping away the thing they THOUGHT I needed, I still had to trust GOD in the ability to be able still move forward. I needed to make sure that I had the strength to power forward through my journey and SURVIVE. And the only way to do that was to keep my Hope in the LORD. Isaiah 40 vs. 29-31 NIV tells me, “He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.”
I fly with the strength of Monarchs.
4-I need to be aware of who I let touch my wings…if not, it could kill me.
Inside of a Butterflies wings are vessels of fluid. Because of these vessels, if the wings are touched, the butterfly will know because the pressure will transfer to their bodies where the wings are attached. On the outside of the wings are colored scales so small, they appear as powder. These colored scales regulate the heat in a Butterflies body, and any contact with another creature that rubs off these scales, can quite easily kill the Butterfly, since they are cold-blooded and need that thermostat function of the scales.
I remember training for my first half marathon (13.1 miles) and someone told me, “Oh you will never be able to do that.” And I have RAN two since that first one. I remember wanting to start a Facebook page for my Tales from A Butterfly blog and podcast, and I myself said, “No one will probably like it” and someone else said, “you’re probably right” and yet it is growing little by little. I have many more times like these when people (myself included, because sometimes we are our own silent killers) have almost mishandled my wings and could have contaminated my scales and caused death to kill my future and destiny. Proverbs 18 vs. 21 KJV reads, “Death and life are in the power of the tongue: and they that love it shall eat the fruit thereof.” If I was to move forward into the life I was truly supposed to live, I could not allow the wrong words or actions of people to touch me. I couldn’t allow other people to be the thermostat I used to regulate the temperature of the call GOD placed on my life. And while I know there will be times when I will have to go through life situations that seem to weaken me and forcibly drag down my wings while I’m trying to dodge the predator that has come to kill, steal and destroy, I can take comfort that I WILL not fall into the enemy’s hands. 2 Thessalonians 3 vs. 3 NIV tells me, “But the Lord is faithful, and he will strengthen you and protect you from the evil one.”
I want to encourage all of you, Butterflies to keep moving, keep flying and keep believing that the same GOD who created you and gifted you is the same GOD that will uphold you and protect you. And he won’t let ANYONE take your strength and dull your colors!
I love you guys…and thanks for Reading!