The Butterfly

by Rhonda, September 22, 2022

We've begun pulling up the plants in the garden that are dying.  We've started bringing potted plants off of the porches, since most of them are done for the year.  We will attempt to keep the strawberry plants in containers alive over the winter, so we'll store them in the garage near the house, hoping there's enough heat in the garage to allow them to live another year.

It is time to bring the sewing projects out from storage.  My daughter and I like to work on our quilts throughout the winter, and we have several projects we didn't finish last year.  This weekend, we will put away the garden supplies and begin to pull out the quilting supplies.  Soon, our extra room will be covered with fabrics and sewing notions.

The hummingbirds are crowding the feeders while they build up enough strength to make their annual journey south.  The birds' nests around the property are empty and quiet.  Our dogs have even started to grow their heavier undercoats, preparing for what lies ahead.  In a few months, we'll have ice on the ground.  

Change is in the air, and it isn't just the weather.  I spent an evening this week reviewing the first page of my journal that I wrote on January 1st, and I was reminded of God's challenge to me this year.  The question is scrawled in pink ink.  Are you aligning your decisions with your beliefs?

If you want to know what to change in your life, all you have to do is take a few minutes to honestly answer that question.  No doubt I believe in God.  No doubt I love God.  But, do my decisions, behavior, and actions show it?  Do I live my life aligned to my beliefs?  I don't always love the answers to those questions.

No one lives life perfectly, I know that much.  But, it is a question I ponder as I watch the seasons change outside of my window.    I am a follower of Christ.  I am a daughter of the King.  What are the behaviors that don't reflect my true identity?  These are the things that need to change, much like the seasons.  Their time is coming to an end.

Today, I was in the city, walking into work from the parking garage.  I stopped on my way in when I saw a Monarch butterfly lying on the cement, slowly moving its wings.  I bent down to look at it, and when it didn't fly away, I reached my hand out to touch its wings.  As I touched its wings, it kept moving them, ever so slowly, while it laid on the ground.  Something was wrong.  The butterfly was dying.    

Did you know butterflies only live for about a month, and some only live for two weeks?  During their lifespan, they color the sky with their bright wings.  But, their vibrant wings only flutter for a short amount of time.  Then, as the season changes, they are gone.  Today, for some reason, it was incredibly sad to me to watch the vibrant butterfly dying on the gray concrete.  We may live longer than the butterfly, but our time on this earth is also very short.  I want my time to count, and I want to live as my authentic identity, a daughter of the King.  I want to be vibrant during my short lifetime, coloring the world around me.

A child of God is prepared to alter their way of life as a result of their beliefs.  As we grow spiritually, God brings more and more of our conduct under His standard.  Changing always starts with choosing.  Our choices shape our lives far more than our circumstances.  In fact, often God uses our circumstances to allow us to "practice" making good choices.  Will we choose temptation, or will we choose God?

When Satan suggests an idea into your mind, it is called temptation.  When God puts an idea into your mind, it is called inspiration.  You choose which you accept or which you reject.  One choice is in line with your beliefs, the other is in opposition.  One leads to life, vibrancy.  The other leads to bondage.

We will struggle with sin in this lifetime.  As human beings, sin is going to be present in our lives.  However, because of what Jesus has done for us, we no longer have to be slaves to sin.  God allows us to change anytime we want to, and as a result, we will see good results in our lives.  God will change our lives if we let Him!  The season of change can begin today, at this very moment.  

Our thoughts direct our lives.  Our struggles happen in our minds.  Temptation happens when we are conscious of it, and sometimes it also happens when we are unaware.  Satan cannot control your mind, but he can make suggestions.  But, remember, your mind is where God's spirit works within you.  So, we must choose to feed our minds with the best thoughts.  We need to monitor and limit our intake of unhealthy "trash" entering into our minds.  Is your mental diet of what you allow in your mind poisonous?

Proverbs 15:14 A wise person is hungry for truth, while a fool feeds on trash.

I don't want to be a trash monger.  

When we make a decision, we can ask ourselves a few questions to be sure we're living in line with our beliefs:

1.  Is this right?

2.  Is this good?

3.  Is this what's best for me? 

4.  What does God see in my situation?

As human beings, we are always in a state of change.  We can change for the better, or for the worse.  We can allow God to change us because we desire to be obedient to Him.  Or, we can allow the world to change us, and the end result will be struggle and strife.

Jesus is sitting at the fork in the road, pointing the way.  All we have to do is follow.

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