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Which are you, mantis or butterfly?

Recently, I was sitting outside in the garden just chilling while I soaked up the sun. I noticed a beautiful butterfly fluttering about, stopping at various flowers to eat. Suddenly, out of nowhere a praying mantis snatched it and started feasting. Having never seen this happen I jumped up to get a closer look. It was grotesque and macabre, but I had to remind myself that this is nature; every living thing has to eat to survive. At first I thought of the mantis as the evil one for destroying such a beautiful creature and that the butterfly was the innocent victim. However, upon reflection, I realized it is the nature of a butterfly to drink nectar (fun fact, they also like poop) and the nature of a mantis to eat insects, so I had no reason to morally judge either of them. It did, strangely, turn my thoughts to pondering our nature. Are we inherently a mantis or a butterfly?

Well, in my case, I am both. I have always been a warrior, but sometimes - if I must - I can grace the room. Over the years, especially in the context of women, I have felt the pressure to be more of a butterfly than mantis. But you see, that is not how God created me. He made me a Boadicea, a Joan of Arc, a Deborah, a warrior.

That is my nature and in order for God’s plan for my life to touch others, I have to be true to it. The Spirit of God has planted a seed in everyone according to His grace and will. If I am not who He created me to be; if I do not live according to that, I will never really live. So here is my encouragement. Be who God made you to be, even (especially) if it seems unusual and counter-cultural. Be the zebra among the lions. Be the oak tree among the heather. Be GOD’s image as He expresses Himself through you, beloved. Have freedom in your gifts and expressions as the Spirit and Scripture guides you. All that you need to be what He has for you to be is already in you!

As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God's varied grace: whoever speaks, as one who speaks oracles of God; whoever serves, as one who serves by the strength that God supplies—in order that in everything God may be glorified through Jesus Christ. To him belong glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.

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