I’m fairly certain I couldn’t have come up with a grosser title.

Speaking of gross, I think I know why a butterfly becomes a butterfly. Because in its previous stages, it was called egg, larva, and pupa. If it was lucky, caterpillar.

But I digress…

Because soaring

is worth the struggle…

Imagine a caterpillar, crawling around her little leaf, eating everything in sight, enjoying the food, but dreaming of something more. As a caterpillar, she is unable to explore the great wide world that lies beyond the comfort of her few green leaves. She dreams of the day when she will be able to fly above the trees. Finally, because soaring is worth the struggle, she faces the formidable chrysalis. There she undergoes the long and difficult process of metamorphosis. It’s dark. It’s dangerous. It’s done.

She emerges with stunning wings. She begins to contract her body. Her wings begin to flutter. The air begins to lift her…

Then she stops. And goes back to crawling around on her few comfortable leaves. Despite the struggle, despite the dream, she decides that sticking to her few leaves is simple, sensible, maybe even better. After all, if she flies too high, she might lose her way or a predator might destroy her. Yes, the ground is her best option.

She’s not really a butterfly, she’s a buttercrawl. (You had to know that was coming, right?)

It may seem ridiculous, but often times we find ourselves in the same condition. We have overcome difficulties. We have been given everything that we need to soar. Yet we stay grounded. We crawl because something is keeping us from flight. What is your something? Fear? Laziness? Complacency?

Evaluate your life, and ask yourself if you are any of the following:

Mental Buttercrawls

If you spend the majority of your time in front of a screen, and you are not creating something on that screen, then you might be a mental buttercrawl. I appreciate a good television show, movie, or video game, but I recognize that most of the time they are not doing anything to strengthen my mental capacities. If you find yourself listening only to the opinions of those who echo your own opinions, you might be a mental buttercrawl. Engage in the ideas and beliefs of others, and let them strengthen or sharpen your own ideas and beliefs.

This isn’t just about reading books. Though I think you should (they make great wings). Do something, anything that puts your mind to work. We live in a time when I can learn just about anything with a Google search here and a YouTube video there. Find something and learn it, discuss it, build it, defend it, do it, solve it, fix it, explain it, read it, create it! Stop crawling, start flying!

Physical Buttercrawls

If you don’t eat right, don’t drink enough water, don’t move enough, or don’t sleep enough, then you might be a physical buttercrawl. I don’t think this needs to be taken to an extreme in which you only eat food you grow/raise yourself, drink nine and a half gallons of water, workout three hours every day, and sleep ten hours every night. That’s unrealistic.

However, you should try to live a lifestyle in which you make wise food choices, drink plenty of water, get active, and sleep at least seven hours each night. If all of these areas are a struggle for you, pick one and start there. Determine what exactly prevents you from accomplishing that area, put a stop to any deterrents, and put in place any methods that will help you succeed. This might be a habit tracker, a workout buddy, an avoidance of the candy aisle at the grocery store. Find what works for you, and build better habits. Flying is so much better than crawling.

Social Buttercrawls

If you don’t know any of your neighbors, if you only spend time with people like you, if you never converse with a stranger on an elevator or at a coffeeshop or in a checkout line, then you might be a social buttercrawl. Nearly everyone has social media, but few understand what it really means to be social. The word social is defined as “relating to, devoted to, or characterized by friendly companionship or relations.” Yet social media is strengthened by the promotion of one’s self. We spend more time trying to get more likes, more follows, more comments rather than relating to and devoting ourselves to others.

Of course, there is some element of discretion necessary when it comes to talking to strangers. Obviously I don’t think you should put yourself in distressing or even dangerous situations. However, I think that media and television spawn an irrational fear that every social encounter might potentially be volatile. So we remain isolated. Don’t do it! There are far more kind, friendly people than we are led to believe. Choose to interact, and you will discover it for yourself. Say hello to people as you pass them. Smile. Give sincere compliments. Connect. The world holds so much more than what you will find on your little leaf.

Spiritual Buttercrawls

If your life has not been transformed by the love of Jesus Christ, then you might be a spiritual buttercrawl. Romans 12:2 says, “And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.” I am not talking about following a list of religious rules. I am talking about relating to the God of the universe who created you for a good and acceptable and perfect purpose. I am talking about taking the love that you have experienced and showering it on those around you.

God has so much He wants you to experience and enjoy. His plans are far greater than anything you could devise for yourself. Don’t let temporary pleasure keep you from them. Don’t let your past mistakes hinder you from seeking after them. God has forgiven you; forgive yourself. Don’t let fear prevent you from pursuing His will. He will be with you every step of the way. Don’t let discouragement pull you down. He is working even when it doesn’t seem like it. Don’t crawl around in the dust when He has given you wings to fly.

I have to ask myself, and I have to ask you:

Why are you still crawling when you are capable of flying?

Oh, and in case you were wondering:

Etymology of butterfly: Old English, from butter + fly2; perhaps from the cream or yellow color of common species, or from an old belief that the insects stole butter.

Why, yes. I did just purchase The Insect That Stole Butter: Oxford Dictionary of Word Origins. I’ll let you know what I discover.

Published by Kristina Premo

I drink too many cups of coffee and read never enough books. I teach the coolest students on the planet, and I tell them they are all my favorites (some of them still haven’t caught on and still believe they are my only favorite… don’t tell them). When I’m not grading or reading, I’m hiking, biking, or running (and probably still listening to an audiobook). I hope to inspire everyone around me to become life-long learners!

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