Change Is in the Struggle

Written by Anita Kelly Couch

On June 25, 2024

We would all agree that in our fast-paced culture where immediate feedback and instant gratification are expectations, waiting on anything has become increasingly more difficult. But what if you knew your waiting would accomplish something of such superior value that, if you endured it, your future would dramatically be impacted for good? It would make the waiting a little easier, wouldn’t it?

A solid green caterpillar walks on a thin twig in front of a blurred green background.

To a young boy who wanted to see an instantaneous transformation after having discovered a cocoon, waiting seemed pointless and inconvenient. As time passed, he noticed the caterpillar had made a small opening, but now was struggling desperately to emerge from its encasing. After watching the struggle for hours, he decided that he would make the little creature’s escape a little easier by making a tiny slit in the cocoon. Expectantly, he waited for the butterfly to spring forth and fly away, but instead, it emerged with shriveled wings and a swollen body, unable to fly. It shortly died. Its delicate wings were designed to actually grow stronger as it wrestled inside the cocoon, so that it could one day soar as a beautiful butterfly!

Like this young boy, so often we just want our waiting to be over! We want God to instantaneously heal our souls, forgetting this journey is a “long obedience in the same direction.” And sometimes it requires a time of waiting that feels like an endless struggle with no control. We demand an immediate escape.

Been there! Yet, like the butterfly, we don’t realize that the wings that are going to enable us to soar and be the whole and beautiful women God created us to be are being developed and strengthened through the struggle. 

It’s in the struggle that change actually takes place.

A monarch butterfly approaches a purple aster. Several asters are in bloom while many blooms are buds yet to open.

We Became Someone We Were Not

We all have become someone we were never meant to be–a false version of ourselves. There was a reason why I felt compelled to strive and achieve, why I became so dependent on the praise of others to fill a desperate need for approval. All this pointed to several unhealed wounds in my heart that needed Jesus’ attention.

Unhealed wounds and the lies we have believed keep us living in bondage.

All of us are desperate for love because we were made by God and for God, who is Perfect Love. Even if we were born into the strongest of families, our need for love was not perfectly met. As children, we adapted ways of relating and behaving that earned us the affirmation we craved. But in doing so, we became someone we were never meant to be.

We pretended.

We wore masks in order to protect ourselves from further hurt.

For me, assuming the roles of ‘good little girl, perfectionist and performer’ were the ways I found I could get my needs met.

But Jesus longs to set us free from these false perceptions, so that we can live in the glory of our new identity–who He says we are as His daughters. (Rom.8:29)

          “So all of us who have had that veil removed can see and reflect the glory of the Lord. And the Lord–who is the Spirit–makes us more and more like him as we are changed into his glorious image.” (2 Cor. 3:18; NLT)

Because God is faithfully committed to this process, He will use the very difficult struggles the enemy directs at us to prepare us to not only recognize but also confront our “false selves”. This is all part of the healing journey, but all the while, God is faithfully transforming us into our truest selves!

Becoming aware of the ways you have sought love outside of Christ is the first step.

We Can Become Who We Really Are

With Jesus, we can face the wounded holes in our souls, so that the whole and beautiful women God created us to be can be recovered through the struggle. Like the butterfly, the struggle is necessary, so that transformation can take place.

Right now, you may be wrestling inside of circumstances you cannot change and you feel nothing of significance is happening. Remember, dear one, just as an early discharge from the cocoon brought the butterfly’s demise, a premature release from your ‘cocoon’ would yield death to the true you. That would be tragic. Regardless of how you feel, you are not withering and dying. If you will yield to the process, know that the exact opposite is actually taking place!

Be still, wait in one place; go not forward, but inward. This is the sort of progress that gives us wings.” ~Sue Monk Kidd

Recommended Reading

Victory Over the Darkness: Realize the Power of Your Identity in Christ by Dr. Neil Anderson, Bethany House Publishers

Making Peace with Your Past: Help for Adult Children of Dysfunctional Families by Tim Sledge, Lifeway

Healing for Damaged Emotions by David Seamands, David C. Cook Publishing

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