Strengthen Your WingsSep 09, 2022
Have you ever pulled a garment out of the dryer only to have the shocking realization hit you, "This should have been hung up to dry!"?
Some fabrics are just too sensitive to heat. They can fray or tear. Stains can be set. Colors can bleed or fade. Or worse, they can shrink.
What was once your favorite shirt, sweater, or dress is sadly tossed in the bottom corner of your closet, never to be worn again. Maybe it makes the donation bin. Or, as happened at my house, frustratingly pilfered by teenage daughters.
We often know which clothes need better care, yet I can't always say that about myself.
Recently in my quiet time with God, I heard, "you need to hang dry too."
No response, so I scribbled what I knew about hanging laundry in my journal.
I'm certain I heard God laugh; laundry was not the illustration he meant (not this time).
Then it came, the nudging direction.
"Go back to the butterfly."
I didn't see the connection at first until I looked deeper. Previously, I shared a tender experience with God over not having anything to wear and how he lovingly reframed it into a metamorphosis. As it is with God and me, sometimes He talks to me about the same topic for a while.
This time was no different. And God had more lessons for me to learn - about the butterfly and how it relates to our spiritual journey.
When the butterfly first emerges from the cocoon, its wings are wet. It needs to hang dry.
While it hangs, it pumps fluid into its wings. It must cling to the empty chrysalis, holding on long enough until its wings completely dry and expand. These are critical hours. It is delicate, and it could fall. If it doesn't hang dry long enough, its wings could wrinkle and become damaged or deformed.
It could be unable to fly or die.
This time is sacred.
And there is nothing it can do to rush the process.
It takes the time it takes.
Maybe you're like me and eager to fly, soaring into purpose.
But God was telling me, and maybe you, to hang dry.
We must cling to Him while our wings strengthen.
It takes the time it takes, and there is nothing we can do to rush the process.
I used to hate "the process," but I love the intimacy it creates with Heavenly Father.
The cocoon is messy work. It confronted all the areas of my heart and character. It taught me to bring my bubbling-up emotions to Him so he could purify them, take my thoughts captive, and cast down anything that comes against the knowledge of Christ. That meant if those thoughts were out of alignment with what God says about me, they had to go. I'm happy to be on this side of THAT gooey transformation.
After the cocoon is the wrestling, it is the wriggling out of the confines of our protected place (where we dealt with ourselves) through the narrow and tight cracks towards the fullness of freedom we were designed for on the other side.
Regrettably, we notice that some of the people who were a part of our lives when we were caterpillars on the ground did not follow us into transformation. They have an invitation from God as well, but they must accept it to move forward.
Others stuck it out with us through the chaos, championing us all the way. These are the ones who said YES to God, too; they are somewhere on their journey - alongside us, a few steps ahead or behind.
Similarly, the places change. The hangouts on the ground when we're crawling are different from those where we hang dry and retreat from the flight.
On this side of the cocoon, while we hang dry, it seems like rest, but it isn't. It is equipping. For butterflies, it is the fluid from their abdomen that is pumped into their wings for strength. For us, it is letting the inner work fully saturate the remaining parts.
This is the strength we need.
God knows the plans he has for us, and part of that plan is not to harm us (Jeremiah 29:11), so we need to make sure our heart and character, the innermost part of us, can sustain His calling.
It is this hang dry where our anointing is poured out and pumped through us until our cup begins to overflow (Ps. 23:5). It will be from this place, the overflow, where we operate going forward, and we need to be full.
It is in the hanging dry where we get the fullness.
Hanging dry also lets me linger in His presence a bit longer. It lets me soak up all He pours out.
While we will return to the Branch for rest and strength again and again as we fly, the hang dry season, like the cocoon, is temporary, so linger longer.
Maybe you are in a transition season, too; let me encourage you, don't rush it.
I've had worldly mentors tell me to go and fake it until I make it and to keep trying; failing even, I'll eventually make it. Eventually, I will fly.
But, in this season, this advice is wrong. Instead, it will damage our wings.
I know the invitation of the Spirit, I am to hang dry.
And when it's time, I'll hear the familiar whisper, and you will too:
"Fly, daughter, fly!"
When it's time, He will release us to fly.
Don't look at how long it is taking. God knows where we're going and how much strength we need to get there.
Our gifts and callings are irrevocable, and God will not change his mind (Romans 11:29)
And He watches to see His promises fulfilled (Jeremiah 1:12).
He loves us too much to let us miss our flight.
Hang dry, dear sister, hang dry.
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