I Want to Be the Orange Butterfly- Finding Significance in Christ

butterfly

I just attended The Gospel Coalition Women’s Conference in Orlando, FL with three good friends from church and 4500 other women. (Props to my husband for caring for our kids solo for 3+ days. It sounds like they had more fun than when mom’s home…the beach, campfires, birthday parties and dinners with friends. I was so glad to have his support so I could thoroughly enjoy the trip!)

The night we flew in we got to our hotel and started wandering around despite the fact that it was late. Volunteers were diligently attending last minute details in anticipation of the throngs of ladies that would descend upon the conference center in the morning. We came around a corner and were met with beautiful butterfly 3-D mural on a large wall. It featured dozens of blue butterflies and one of a different color. I immediately blurted out, “I want to be the orange butterfly!” My friends kind of laughed at me, maybe because it was so random or it was so emphatic or it was so “me.” I sheepishly realized, “Wow, my reaction to this piece of art is a true insight into my core longing to be special, unique, and stand out from the crowd.” (And some internal self-direction to pipe down in the future or people might really think I’m a weirdo.)

I certainly can feel insignificant in general in our culture (um, hello way too much personal ingesting of the perfection centered posting in social media), but it’s especially evident around people who potentially share my interests and are getting to do what I at times wish I could be doing. As we continued past the butterflies and strolled around a giant room of books that would be for sale the next day, I felt like my life didn’t hold much meaning in comparison to the authors’ lives. They had something tangible to represent their lives. We were also on the brink of hearing three days worth of well-known men and women with amazing resumes of ministry speak, and I was definitely feeling like blue butterfly.

Fast-forward to the actual sessions. As the Gospel, the Good Great News, was being preached within every session, my lack of significance shriveled, for two reasons.

1. We ARE all unique and God made us that way, in His image. There is room for our influence in the world, for our work, for our creativity, for our spirit. We do not fit into one mold, and God is using each of us, in slightly different ways, to accomplish His redemptive plan for creation. To Him, we have been created with his special combination of glory-giving characteristics. How could any one of us feel insignificant when the Creator of the universe put so much thought into how He knitted us together?

A few examples from the notes I took during the sessions:

  • We can’t stereotype believers to identical patterns of spirituality.
  • God’s people do not need to be to powerful culturally or in power politically to be obedient to him and accomplish his purposes in the world.
  • We can live out our convictions in somewhat different ways. God made every woman (and man) different from one another. He gave us different gifts and callings, but we all reflect His glory.
  • All people are using the gifts that God has given them in a way that benefits the world–>You distinguish that from the health and prosperity Gospel in the sense that it’s not about me flourishing.
  • As Christians, we seal off our Christianity for personal growth, or a comprehensive interpretation for all we do; when the story is so much bigger than that. God’s Word focuses on the redemption story and renewal of creation and our Christianity and work is to further that redemption.

So…wow. We can view ourselves as significant to His work of redemption on earth and to bringing Him glory…and He has been so gracious to make us unique and call us to different work, passions and types of lives! It matters very little if that is on-stage or off-stage, as a well-known worker or un-known. We can let go of comparisons and just fly as the one he created us to be.
And the even more amazing reason…

2. We are all NOT unique in that we’re all sinners, but because of His great mercy, God chose to make a way for us. It is the significance of Jesus and his laying aside his rights as a perfect king to humble himself to the cross that, when I really reflect on what that means, makes me care very little about my own need to be special or unique. I just feel gratitude to have salvation.

A few examples from my notes:

  • We are dependent, he is independent, we are defined, He is the definer, we come into being, He has always been, we came into being.
  • The cycle of rebellion and mercy (seen in the Old Testament) has been broken by the cross; we do not need to fret about the contradiction between God’s mercy and righteousness because of Christ’s death on the cross.
  • As a result, I have no need to fret that God will tire of my once-again confession of my repeated sin…he will never tire of forgiving me…he poured his awesome and terrible wrath out on His Own Son. He will not somehow re-pour it out on me because I can’t hold up my end of the bargain. He re-designed the covenant!
  • By the blood of Jesus, we have direct access to God’s presence.

Throughout the conference I was encouraged partially because I am unique, but mostly because I’m not. If I fully rely on him, if I am fully content to be a ‘blue’ butterfly in light of Christ’s presence, I will inevitably show others His great worth. Hopefully, that will spur those on around me to fully rely on and trust Him as well…which is what I’m supposed to be doing! Building up the body, to show God’s glory, not to show my part of the body. So I left seeing that butterfly art pretty differently. Jesus is the orange butterfly, and I’m a happy blue one that will hopefully will help Him be highlighted by my life.

 

 

Comments

  1. So glad you got to go to this! Sounds like good soul food:)

    XO
    Jenn

  2. I love this post, friend. Love it! I’ve struggled with wanting to be the orange butterfly for so much of my life. What a great reminder that it’s not about us.

    • Thanks my darling friend…it’s so humbling when we have moments of realization that we want to steal the glory. Can’t wait for a long chat soon!

  3. Cathy Wheeler says:

    Thank you for giving us what you have learned. Just by that, you are already doing the blue butterfly’s work. I can see how what you said is so true. I learn just as much from an everyday person who shows Jesus in his/her life as I do reading about someone like World Vision’s CEO!

  4. Linda F says:

    I am encouraged to read about what you learned. I’m just now reading this and it reminds me of a blog Don wrote recently as well about being ‘ordinary’. Definitely value in being a blue butterfly – faithful in whatever God’s put in front of you and making Christ look better. Even if we seemingly ‘blend in’ with everyone else. I like your analogy and the butterfly artwork connection. Good word picture.

    • Thanks for taking the time to comment, Linda! I came away encouraged by that realization, too. Really, whatever Christ calls us to, no matter how small it may be, is a privelege when serving Him.