The other day when I went out to feed the dogs I found this lying on the ground:
It took me a second to realize it was a grasshopper’s discarded exoskeleton and not a sawed-off mutant gecko, or worse. The little pest had grown too big for its shell, so it simply ripped out of it and hopped away.
First reaction: “Ew… creepy!”
Second reaction: “That means there’s a grasshopper, even bigger than this, around here somewhere. It better not be in my spaghetti-squash plants.”
But then I got to thinking about how sensible grasshoppers are. And not just because they eat their veggies. Well, actually they eat my veggies, but I guess they don’t know that. The point is, like most of God’s critters, their lives run pretty smoothly because they make the right changes at the right times.
When they outgrow something, like their exoskeleton, they leave it behind.
We humans aren’t always so wise. Reluctant to change, we tend to hang onto things long after they have stopped being useful.
Not always, of course. I remember getting new and bigger clothes each year, and promoting from grade to grade in school. The old clothes grew too small, the elementary grades too easy. Those changes were fun.
What else have I “molted” from?
* Training wheels.
* High school, hallelujah.
* Junior high school, double hallelujah.
* The 1970s.
But sometimes it’s hard to make a change. I know at times I’ve squelched my own growth rather than change an old familiar routine, even if that routine no longer fit. And so I have been questioning old habits and attitudes, discarding those that hold me back. In the past several years, for example, I’ve outgrown some of the things I used to tell myself…
Pffft, computers. I’ll never need one of those.
I’m shy, and that’s all there is to it.
Moms sit and watch their kids climb rock walls. They don’t try rock-climbing, even on a tame little wall.
I blew my chance at college, and now I’m too old to go back. I’ll never finish a degree.
Clearly, I have started using a computer. I’ve also become comfortable meeting new people and speaking in front of groups. I graduated from college in 2009 and have even climbed a rock wall or two, never mind that they were pretty much “bunny slopes.” I’m really glad I ripped out of my old comfort zones to try new stuff.
Now, as I’ve said before, I don’t recommend molting out of values like honesty or respect for God and others. Doing so would just make you a selfish pig. But you might want to re-think your old habits. Are they helpful, or do they limit you, keeping you from being who you were made to be?
As near as I can figure, we were meant to continue growing all our lives. If we limit ourselves to always fit inside our old “skin,” that skin will harden into a shell that is waaay too tight. We need to make the right changes at the right times — and eat our veggies.
How about you? Is there anything you would like to molt out of?
What’s stopping you?
Thanks for reading!
PS: Linked up this week with Jen and the Soli Deo Gloria sisters. Please jump over and read her guest Emily’s important post about sliding into an eating disorder.
I’m also linking up with Rachel Anne and the Company Girls for coffee. You’re invited to sit and join us for a cup.