My husband has often described me as a butterfly about to emerge from the safety of the dark cocoon, where I have been in solitude. Over the summer, it seemed as if I were being followed by a group of white and purple butterflies. When I went outside to feed and water the dogs, there they were, flying overhead and then landing on a perch nearby. When I was loading the kids up in the vehicle, the butterflies were flying overhead making circles above and around the van. In fact, the presence of the butterflies was so noticeable that my preschooler even began to call them “Mommy’s butterflies”. Some of the butterflies had the patterns of brown and black, like a Monarch. Most of the butterflies, though, were completely white or colored in various shades of purple.
I couldn’t help but think of what the liturgical colors of white and purple represent and how both of those colors bring to mind a common theme: renewal.
I have personally been experiencing reconciliation and renewal in certain relationships. There has even been a sense of reconciliation and renewal within myself where a deep sense of peace has been replacing self-hatred. Those two areas combined brought about a Christmas season like no other before it and, for that, I am deeply grateful. It wasn’t about the gifts, it wasn’t about the food; it was about the presence of God and how His love brings about healing, forgiveness, and reconciliation where there once was a wasteland.
I am in a place where I feel comfortable closing the door to relationships and endeavors that are fruitless and letting go of what others may have to say or think about who I am. My validation comes from God and I know Who stands behind me and Who goes before me.
There are a lot of relationships out there being torn apart by the silent treatment, blaming, shaming, criticizing, judging, and carrying around (often perceived) grudges. When we carry the weight of bad attitudes around, we will eventually realize there is a price tag attached to certain mindsets that we simply cannot afford to pay. In fact, the wages of those negative mindsets and hateful attitudes of the heart amount to death.
Our attitudes, our thoughts, and our intentions mean everything to God and we will be judged accordingly, as stated in Jeremiah 17:10:
I the Lord search the heart and examine the mind, to reward each person according to their conduct, according to what their deeds deserve.
That verse gives me quite a healthy fear of the Lord each and every time I read it. I want the attitude and meditations of my heart to be pleasing to God. I want the attitudes and meditations of my heart to represent the fruits of the Spirit in Galatians 5:22-23:
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.
This is a time of RENEWAL.
If there is someone heaping their own bad attitudes on you and making you their scapegoat, close the door and move on. You have permission to do so, just be sure to do it with an attitude of love and forgiveness.
If you have been hanging onto things that have been weighing you down and pulling you under, it is time to shake it all off and unhook yourself from the heavy luggage. You’ve carried the burdens long enough and now it is time to lighten the load.
If you have been knocking on unanswered doors, it is time to stop knocking. Don’t waste your energy in trying to continue to reach out to people who will not reach back. Move on and realize that you are worthy of love, time, and attention.
If there are some things that have been hardening your heart, this is the time to consider forgiveness and letting it all go. Forgiveness does not mean what happened to you is okay. It does not mean the other party is “off the hook”. Forgiveness sets you free and softens your heart to start loving and living again.
If the past has continued to stomp around and haunt the dark corners of the heart, it is time to shine a light on those areas. We do not need to remain bound by circumstances (and, I say this as someone who has been extremely bound by painful circumstances). It is nearly impossible to embrace something new when our arms are full of the burdens of the past.
Shake the dust off of your feet from anyone who or anything that does not contribute to the value and worth Jesus Christ says you have.
There are things that should be left in 2016 as the door to 2017 begins to open…
It is time to come out of the safety of a dark, isolated cocoon…
It is time now to spread those brand-new wings and fly.