Have You Ever Wondered If a Butterfly Remembers Being a Caterpillar

“Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will”.

Romans 12:2 (NIV)

Have you ever wondered if a butterfly remembers being a caterpillar? Actually, the thought never occurred until I heard the question posed on an NPR game show one Saturday. I’ve heard that the butterfly is symbolic of “Freedom in Christ,” so this question held me in great suspense. The caterpillar to butterfly process (metamorphosis) is one that I often use with my clients to illustrate this scripture verse as they begin to let go of old habits and take up newly organized structures and systems. It seemed that the college study researched at Georgetown University actually revealed that butterflies do indeed remember learned behavior as a caterpillar. For more on this study, visit http://www.livescience.com/2349-butterflies-remember-caterpillar-days.html This got me thinking how this study parallels our personal struggles. We understand that change is hard, and even the metamorphosis process for the caterpillar is no exception. The chrysalis experience truly is a life-or-death struggle, and I have witnessed the internalized strongholds that grip my clients. It seems that the darkest is just before a breakthrough.

Sometimes they are victorious; other times, it seems they take 3 steps backward before they go forward. Change is hard. And while the butterfly does remember its former lessons, the butterfly doesn’t seem to let it hinder the new life that awaits. While my clients will not forget memories or pain associated with some objects, they can morph into a butterfly so that the chains of the past do not keep them from soaring into a bright future.

In Matthew Henry commentaries on the whole Bible:

“This is called the transforming of us; it is like putting on a new shape and figure. Metamorphousthe —Be you metamorphosed. The transfiguration of Christ is expressed by this word (MT 17:2) when he put on a heavenly glory, which made his face to shine like the sun; and the same word is used (2 Corr. 3:18), where we are said to be changed into the same image from glory to glory. This transformation is here pressed as a duty; not that we can work such a change ourselves: we could as soon make a new world as make a new heart by any power of our own; it is God’s work (Eze11:19,36:26-27). But be you transformed, that is, “use the means which God hath appointed and ordained for it.’’ It is God that turns us, and then we are turned, but we must frame our doings to turn,(Hos. 5:4)

This word “transform” in Roman’s scripture verse actually means a metamorphosis. That means we are not a better person or a better model of the same person, but a new creature when we allow Christ to be the head over our life and listen to and only to Him. Have you ever studied how a caterpillar actually morphs? It would seem that during the 2-3 week dark period inside the chrysalis, the caterpillar actually turns into a goopy soupy substance before it begins to reform. Yes, it demolishes any recognizable aspect of the multi-legged creature. It becomes new…literally.

This truth means that we are not limited to being a slightly better version of ourselves, nor should this be our goal, but that total transformation is possible and reachable. Keep in mind we do not will the transforming process any more than a caterpillar can become a butterfly. God’s will to work into us this amazing process, and then we build on and continue this process with our actions and newly formed lifestyle. As a Christian professional organizer, I understand that my job is not merely alphabetizing the spice rack. Organization means embracing a renewed lifestyle, one that brings serenity to spaces and in our spirit, man.

Transformation is not just a better model of the old, but a new life with new possibilities.

Eileen Koff CPO

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