Butterflies are beautiful things, but when they make their home inside your stomach, it can become a love-hate relationship.
I have to confess that I am human, I do have feelings, and butterflies have often rattled my frame. Though the logical part of my brain says that I never have a good reason to get butterflies, those little buggers just don’t listen to reason or common sense.
Before a game or track meet, butterflies would jump up and down in my stomach, and it felt like they were going to pop right out; I would often feel drained before the competition ever began.
Before speaking in front of a group of people (and sometimes while speaking in front of a group of people), butterflies would weave an intense, spastic dance through my stomach and lungs, which would sometimes result in awkward pauses or poorly placed ummmms. However, with age and practice, the dance has become a little shorter and has far less destructive consequences.
Before taking a big test or going to a major social event, I get little butterflies that make me giddy, but they tend to flutter away in the moment.
And then there are some butterflies that come to life at a glance, a word, a sound, or a memory of a glance, a word, or a sound. They are the crushing butterflies that escape from waking dreams or memory cocoons, gather beneath my heart, and push it up into my throat where it is crushed by awkward swallows diving down.
… Thinking of swallows reminds me of a passage in Luke:
And Jesus said unto His disciples, “Therefore I say unto you, take no thought for your life, what you will eat; neither for the body, what you will put on. The life is more than meat, and the body is more than raiment.
“Consider the ravens: for they neither sow nor reap; which neither have storehouse nor barn; and God feeds them. How much more are you better than the fowls? And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life? If you then be not able to do that thing which is least, why take you thought for the rest? Consider the lilies how they grow; they toil not, they spin not; and yet I say unto you, that Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. If then God so clothe the grass, which is today in the field, and tomorrow is cast into the oven; how much more will he clothe you, O you of little faith? And seek not what you will eat, or what you will drink, neither be of doubtful mind. For all these things do the nations of the world seek after, and your Father knows that you have need of these things. But rather, seek the kingdom of God, and all these things shall be added unto you. Fear not, little flock, for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom.” (Luke 12:22-32)
I went from butterflies, to swallows, and then to ravens, and I guess the one thing that each of those creatures has in common is that they can fly, and they are also given other amazing gifts by their Creator, yet they are not so loved and cared for as humankind. The Heavenly Father’s design for the pinnacle of His creation, humankind, is not limited by our fear or little butterflies. We are meant to fly, to be holy as He is holy, and He gladly gives courage to those who need and humbly ask for it. If it is God’s will to use your weakness, weirdness, and awkwardness for His glory, then let it be so. Let Him purify your heart and make you effective in the gifts He has given you.
Butterflies will hit your windshield and you will have no way to wipe that bug sludge off, so you have to learn to grin and bear it. Be awkward and okay with it, be weak and trust that God can still be glorified through your weaknesses; because that’s real life, and perfection is impossible on this side of eternity. Sure, that guy you like may think you are just a gopher girl; you always go ‘fer guys, they never go ‘fer you, you wonder why; “ft-ft-ft-ft.” … And that girl you like may think you are just a boy who thinks he’s hot snot when he is nothing but cold boogers. But you have to face it sometime; life will be awkward and really gross at times. Every red-blooded couple I know is both disgusting and beautiful all at the same time (and some may call them disgustingly beautiful, but that is a whole different animal). The guy will be gross at times, but he is loved nonetheless, and when his lady matches his grossness, he may be slightly surprised, but he will love her all the more. If your crush can get over your awkwardness now, then it is a good sign for the future. If they can’t get over your awkwardness, then they clearly are not worthy to see the full wonder of your awkward.
All relationships will be messy at times, but that is why grace is so necessary. Perhaps you are single and feeling awkward right now, because God wants to teach you that you need to extend grace to everyone else who is awkward, weird, and weak. And maybe God is also teaching you not to obsess over what people think of you. If the butterflies sense that you are no longer so worried about the world’s approval, then maybe they will stay resting in their cocoons until a worthy day; like if you get married, hold your first child for the first time, hold your second child for the first time, etc. etc. There are some awesome reasons to get butterflies, so embrace them when they come, but don’t let that excitement crush reality; that you are awesomely blessed right now, with or without that medal, with or without that boyfriend/girlfriend, and with or without that perfect response or graceful walk.
Life is not like most movies, where the first glance initiates this unknown love song that the other person perfectly completes and then they get married that same day. Some movies are more honest, where the first glance was disgust, and after a couple months or years, those polar opposites start to grow on each other; like mushrooms on a dying a tree. But don’t try to live your life like a movie. If God wants you to find that man or woman after His own heart, and get married, then He is already preparing that person to love you for all your quirks, just as He is preparing you to love that person for all their quirks.
For today, grow in grace, so that you may give grace to yourself and to all those who are (or will be) called sons and daughters of God. Don’t be afraid to be your awkward/weird/weak self. Let God be glorified through your humble admission that you don’t have everything together; but your Heavenly Father does have everything together, and He put you together, and He never makes mistakes.