Meet Spike.Reptiles in general use to totally gross me out but somehow over the last few years my gross-out tolerance has changed. I'll even hold this little guy now..... that's what I call progress baby!
Our son's bearded dragon.
Our son's bearded dragon.
Last year when my husband announced that he was going to get a lizard for our son I wasn't a big fan of the idea.
But, since our little guy has allergies to "normal" more cuddly pets (like dogs and cats) I reluctantly agreed.
And I'm so glad I did, because our little guy absolutely adores him. All the kids at school know about him, in fact his teacher last year told me that our son prayed for Spike most mornings in their circle prayer time. Too cute.
Spike is actually quite the guy. Apparently bearded dragons are extremely smart and can even be trained to play catch with you. Who knew?! My only beef with him is his diet.
Why, you ask?
One word: Crickets.
Blech! Especially when they escape and I find them hopping around the playroom and my sewing corner.
(But that's a post for another day.)
Back to spike.
As you can tell from the pictures Spike is growing. (You may have guessed it by the gross skin being shed off his back.)
When I walked past his tank this morning my initial reaction was a big fat "YUCK!"
He's been shedding skin like crazy these past few weeks.
But as I watched him a little longer I started to think more about why he sheds and about how we shed too.
In order for him to grow he needs to shed his old skin. I can always tell when it's about to happen...it lightens in color and then slowly starts to lift up all on it's own.
Sometimes when I see Spike like that I am tempted to just pick him up and rip off all the old skin. It takes everything in me to just walk away. Ya, I'm weird like that.
But I do walk away and each time I come back to see him, more has fallen away and within a couple days he has shed the layer completely.
In order for us to grow, we need to shed too.
We need to shed the things that hold us back from healthy growth.
So, what am I shedding?
I'm shedding my idea of what faith should look like. I'm shedding off worry and unbelief. God is growing me and as I grow, slowly my old ideas of who I though God was and who I though I was are being shed away, and a new skin of faith- of truth, is left shiny and new underneath.
Sometimes I want to rip off whatever it is that God is stripping away from me, rather than just allowing him to do it for me. If I decide to "take matters into my own hands" I am always left hurt in some way. I'm frustrated and wounded. But when I let Him do it, although it may be uncomfortable, and certainly not pretty, I come out the other side Refined. Purified. New.
Other times I am tempted to pick up those yucky scaly pieces and wear them again, but God is showing me that when I do this I just look RIDICULOUS!
I certainly don't need what I once thought was real but instead can fully put my trust in him for where he is leading me.
Sometimes it seems safer to pick up that scale of fear and live underneath it, even though it has already been removed. Or, to operate out of worry, and make my decisions based on what others are going to think of me, rather than embracing my new skin of who God says I am. Rather than embracing faith.
There are also times when I don't even know I need to shed a layer. I'm just going about my life tickety-boo when all of a sudden I find myself being stripped of something. Where all of sudden I realize I'm starting to leave behind something that has always been a part of me.
I find my eyes being opened to new truth and as they are, my old understanding- my old skin, starts to lift off me.
The more truth I take in the more lies fall off. Sometimes it's things like fear or worry or unforgiveness, but sometimes it's just leaning the truth of who God is and of who God says I am...
I am His beloved.
I am chosen.
I am free.
... and as I grow into accepting these truths the lies of "you are not enough" and "no one loves you" begin to shed. They begin to lose their power over me.
For me, it is a slow process. Big chunks shed, little bits here and there, but always a process. A beautiful process. One in which God is making me more and more like him.
Being confident of this, that He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.
This is a good thing. Shedding. It's fear. It's worry. It's bitterness. It's anger. It's my faith. It's my view of who I see God to be. My view of myself.
Slowing my layers are being shed and I am becoming more and more into who God has intended me to be.
What about you? Have you ever looked back and noticed some of your skin being stripped away? Have you ever suddenly realized that you have lost a layer and in the process grown into something new?
Let me assure you, even though it's not the most pleasant thing to watch (Spike shedding his yucky skin) once he has finished he looks brand new, he even looks a little more mature..... Especially when he gives me a big ol' smile like this: