Butterflies and Letting Go

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I read somewhere that caterpillars actually die and reincarnate to become butterflies[2]. The story goes that long ago, a worm-like animal and a winged insect mated, producing offspring with very different genes that learned to co-habit within the same DNA molecule. One narrator likened their cohabitation to sharing a car, where one driver must vanish halfway through the trip for the other to take the wheels[1].

Yeah I know. It sounds like a bad Halloween tale, except a bad Halloween tale proposed as scientific theory by an eminent biologist, Donald I. Williamson in 2009.

When I wrote my last blog post A Beautiful City, Walls and Cannons, An Invasion and A Fortress, I had no idea God was going to take me on a difficult journey involving my heart.

I had just completed the final draft, when the question surfaced in my mind: Is Jesus really the sole custodian of your heart or are there still tributary walls guarding some parts of it? That was the Holy Spirit challenging me with my words from the post.

His question tugged at me for days, literally giving me sleepless nights. I knew what he was asking for and I was not ready to obey. He was asking me to seek reconciliation in certain difficult areas of my life.

For some reason, it felt like I was being asked to die and I found myself mourning a nameless loss. Indeed, He was asking me die but not a physical death. He was calling me to a new level of intimacy that required a “death to self”- to pride, to my own will, the consuming need for self-perseverance, human wisdom, all of which fueled unforgiveness and an unwillingness to submit totally to His word.

It was not the first time God led me to surrender my “self” to death and I knew it would not be the last. I was sick of the cycle.

So, I asked Him: Daddy, why not just make me perfect now. Why make me endure a million painful processes of transformation?

In case you were wondering, I actually got an answer, and not a thunderbolt in my behind.

He said to me:

You cannot share in my eternal life if you don’t share in my death.


Like caterpillars, according to Donald I. Williamson’s theory, the only path to our glorious identities in Christ is death to the identity of sin. When humanity flirted with sin long ago, we surrendered our pure God-like nature into an awkward fusion with death. Consequently,  we became trapped in moth-like bodies without the power nor knowledge to assume our glorious natures like butterflies.

This was our fate until Christ, our savior came to gives us power and to show us how to be transformed to the nature of the Father through His death and resurrection. Every time we die to dimensions of our nature that contend with God’s nature within us, we follow  Christ’s example to resurrect more glorious in our Christ-like identities.

For you, “death to self” might mean walking away from a treasured but detrimental relationship or trusting God with your deepest regrets. It might mean choosing to listen only to Jesus’s voice in the midst of a raging storm or letting go of unforgiveness. Whatever it is, I know it’s not easy.

But think on Apostle Paul’s words:

“We are pressed on every side by troubles, but we are not crushed. We are perplexed, but not driven to despair. We are hunted down, but never abandoned by God. We get knocked down, but we are not destroyed. Through suffering, our bodies continue to share in the death of Jesus so that the life of Jesus may also be seen in our bodies.”- 2 Corinthians 4:8 NLT

Reader, the next time Jesus leads you  down a path of death to self, here are a few tips:

  1. Count it all Joy!: He is doing something wonderful in you and you’ll be greater for it (James 1:2).
  2. Seek understanding: We don’t always understand what God wants us to do. That’s okay because He’s always excited to explain His will to us! (James 1:5)
  3. Know that He is with you: He will never lead you down the path of “death to self” alone (Psalm 23:4- “Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; for You are with me.”)
  4. Follow Him: Don’t try to carve your own path. He’ll show the way. (Psalm 23:2)
  5. Obey in Faith– His directive might seem difficult or out rightly impossible. Remember, you can trust that His plans for you are always of Good and that with Him, you will always be victorious! (Jeremiah 29:11; Romans 8:37)

Thank you again for visiting my blog.

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Tamilore Areola

Sources Cited

  1. Krulwich, Robert. Are Butterflies Two Different Animals in One? The Death and Resurrection Theory. nprRetrieved from http://www.npr.org/sections/krulwich/2012/08/01/157718428/are-butterflies-two-different-animals-in-one-the-death-and-resurrection-theory on November 1, 2016.
  2. Williamson, Donald I. Caterpillars evolved from onychophorans by hybridogenesis. Pnas vol. 106 (47). Retrieved from http://www.pnas.org/content/106/47/19901.abstract on November 1, 2016.

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