From a very simplistic vantage point, what is referred to as the Butterfly Effect, illustrates an extremely powerful concept related to persisting during less than ideal or just plain challenging circumstances. This phenomenon explains the idea that, in an environment that is deterministic, a minute change is able to impact this same system in much larger ways. Metaphorically, for example, this concept has the look of a butterfly flapping its wings in Japan and causing an eventual hurricane in the Gulf of Mexico. In a nutshell, any way you slice it, it declares the powerful thought that small things can eventually effect significant outcomes. Small. Things. Can. Cause. Big. Things. To. Happen.
It is often pretty easy to grasp this concept when it comes to nature or the weather or big companies or large systems or anything that looks like it is running effectively or effortlessly. The tendency is to minimize our own small efforts at building, creating, devising, modifying, designing, organizing, generating, forging, making, planning, shaping, actualizing, composing, fashioning, hatching, instituting, investing, dreaming, and bringing things into existence. But this is what we were designed to do! This space is where I live. I get it. It's tough. It's obstinate. It's exhausting. It's perplexing. It's exacting. It's just plain hard. It's all of these things and more. That's the realistic view. That's obvious. That's real talk. However, we don't talk enough about how hard things have a way of shaping us. That means they give us definition. Hard things form us. They facilitate growth of character in us. They help us adjust and adapt. They direct, develop, and deepen us. This means that the small steps that we continue to take on our most challenging days DO count. Even when you don't yet see any results. Even when you feel like aborting the mission. Even when what you prayed not to happen literally unfolds before your eyes. Even when you don't think you have it in you to keep going. It's on those very days that you must attend to the small things and enact the Butterfly Effect because small things certainly do add up.
Just ask the caterpillar who, over time, transformed into a beautiful Monarch Butterfly. First of all, be reminded that a caterpillar is designed to become a butterfly. It is what it was created to do. However, the process of becoming a butterfly is a totally different story. In this process, the caterpillar remains in its dark chrysalis and eventually digests itself and almost completely liquifies before rapid cell division forms its butterfly parts. Once the butterfly is formed, it must fight its way out of its chrysalis. In this process, blood begins to circulate through its wings making it strong enough to fly once it frees itself. Every small, even hard step in this process connects to another small step, which contributes to its final form.
This whole process is built into the design of this creature. In fact, some caterpillars have tiny, underdeveloped wings already existing in their bodies prior to their transformation process. What does that mean for you and me? God has designed you to fly. He has pre-packaged you with the ability to get through hard things. It's part of your shape. While our circumstances are real and obvious, it's not really about the circumstances; it's actually about your capacity to tap into what God has put inside of you that enables you to continue pushing through with each small thing. He hasn't wound you up and left you to your own devices out here in these challenging streets. In fact, He has promised to be present with us throughout each moment of our lives, enabling us to endure while tackling hard things with a Butterfly Effect mindset.
“But you, Israel, are my servant.
You’re Jacob, my first choice,
descendants of my good friend Abraham.
I pulled you in from all over the world,
called you in from every dark corner of the earth,
Telling you, ‘You’re my servant, serving on my side.
I’ve picked you. I haven’t dropped you.’
Don’t panic. I’m with you.
There’s no need to fear for I’m your God.
I’ll give you strength. I’ll help you.
I’ll hold you steady, keep a firm grip on you." Isaiah 41:8-10 MSG
In those moments when its easy to forget, when you feel like giving up, when days are rough, when you are pushed to your limits, remember that you are not forgotten, remember that you are chosen, remember your amazing design, remember how much you are loved by a God who gave up everything to ensure your survival.
Stand up. Walk tall. Do hard things. Prepare to fly.
Be encouraged, y'all!
You can call me Jenn. Let's sit on the front porch, grab a tall glass of sweet tea, and chat about life. I communicate through writing and I so enjoy the conversations that squeeze out of my thoughts and words. I especially look forward to hearing your responses to my thoughts and words that spark other conversations, peak interest, and inspire change.