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The Chrysalis Affect

The past couple of weeks I’ve had the privilege of working with some incredible artists to create a new logo for My Out Loud Voice. The idea for it has been swimming around in my head for some time now, just waiting for the right people to come along and bring it to life.

For those who know me, it’s probably no surprise that I would center the logo around a butterfly. After all, butterflies are often seen as a symbol of transformation and growth. But I really wanted to convey that beautiful message of transformation on a whole new level.

Because let’s face it, butterflies aren’t born the magnificent creatures we find in our gardens and nature. There’s a process to them becoming. One that holds a powerful metaphor for our own journeys of becoming as well.

My guess is that many of you have heard of the butterfly effect; defined as a property of chaotic systems (think ‘atmosphere or weather patterns’) by which small changes in initial conditions can lead to large-scale and unpredictable variation in the future state of the system.

In other, more dramatic words, it’s something along the lines of how a delicate, airy creature can flap its wings in one part of the world and eventually set off a tsunami in another.

Many have written about this as it pertains to the way we interact with our personal environment and the greater community around us and how this creates a ‘ripple effect’, if you will, in our relationships and society as a whole.

But rarely have I heard people discuss what I would call the chrysalis affect; how the environment in which the butterfly was created will impact how and where the butterfly’s presence will affect those around it.

More and more this has become a big part of the work I do, not only with clients but in my own life as well. The environment in which we develop, yes-the physical one, but also the one that we hold within us, carries massive weight in how we see ourselves, the world and even God.

Ultimately, the things we ‘consume’ in our external world become our internal world, and consequently the lens through which we view and process everything. Here’s how the metaphor of the chrysalis comes to life for me.

A butterfly goes through the early stages of its life (larvae and caterpillar) munching and drinking up all kinds of nourishment from its environment. I would liken this to our more formative years as children and young adolescents, when we are taking in all sorts of messages about ourselves and the world around us as influenced by our care-givers and those most influential in our lives.

When the time comes to create the chrysalis (the environment in which full development will occur) the caterpillar uses what it’s consumed to create the shell of the chrysalis. In a way, the chrysalis is like our space to develop, formed by all that is spoken into and over us as we are growing up. We use all that we ‘consume’ to create the internal environment in which we will decide who we are and how we will interact with our world.

For many, the chrysalis is a safe space, created from all the nurturing things one needs to successfully transform into the healthy and flourishing individual they were intended to be.

At the appointed time, an individual, just like our butterfly, can break from the chrysalis and launch into flight. While some struggle may still be required, which is actually necessary in order to strengthen the wings, the chrysalis typically will easily give way to allow the butterfly to be free.

But for some of us, what contributes to the creation of our internal environment is less than healthy. For some it’s downright toxic. And in those cases, our chrysalis becomes more like a prison, denying us the freedom to see and interact with the world in a healthy manner. In those cases, breaking free requires much more work. But the struggle is nonetheless worth it. And consequently, the butterfly can become stronger because of it.

And here’s another, profound nugget of butterfly trivia…

In researching all things “butterfly”, I learned something that is especially significant to me. Did you know that for a strong and healthy life, butterflies need to do something called basking? You see, if a butterfly gets too cold, it can’t fly, and if it can’t fly, it can’t really live. At least not the way it was intended to live.

Basking is where the butterfly fully exposes itself to the sun in order to get the strength it needs to heal, grow and soar.

Let me just tweak that a little, and say it again…

It fully exposes itself to the Son for the strength it needs to heal, grow and soar.

(See what a did there? 😉 )

Like our butterfly, our true hope of becoming all we’re created to be and experiencing the fullness of healing comes when we allow The Light to shine on every aspect of our life.

He is our Ultimate Weapon against all that tries to define us as ‘less-than’.

He is the One who sees our worth, even when we can’t see it for ourselves. He sees our beauty, even when hidden or obscured by the darkness of our chrysalises.

He is our Chain-Breaker.

Our Shame-Slayer.

Our Ultimate Source of freedom.

And when we can begin to see ourselves as He sees us, and when we learn to live out of the freedom He provides, our deepest impact on this world can be realized. An impact that sets off a ripple effect of its own. One that brings hope and healing and wholeness to our waiting and wanting world.

Let's start the ripple effect.

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