“Teach me to do your will, for you are my God; may your good Spirit
lead me on level ground.” Psalm 143:10 (NIV)
Our family took an annual trip around mid-May this year. This was the first time we needed a babysitter for our bearded dragon and we weren’t sure how she would do with a change in her routine and caregivers. While she was pampered more than she is at home, when she came home she was “crabby.” I chalked it up to her not getting held for four days because while our substitutes took great care of her survival, they drew the line at cuddling and that wasn’t part of the job description I outlined.
I continued to try and hold her occasionally each day, but she was just temperamental and not very fun. I was starting to get scared of her because she would repeatedly try to bite me which was unusual for her personality. A few days later I realized what the underlying issue was – she was in the process of completing a full shed, meaning not just her head, limbs and tail were shedding but her whole body was shedding and this time was coming off in one big chunk. If my body was undergoing that type of metamorphosis, I believe I would be even more crabby that she was. Once her old skin was off and she was wearing skin that fit her bigger body, she was back to her happy go lucky self, jumping up on the window ledge asking to be held and let out of her cage.
I realized from that experience, at times I’m very similar to a bearded dragon undergoing a complete shed. When God is working with me on “shedding” some of my destructive habits or patterns in life, I’m “crabby” because I don’t want to give in or let go – I want to do it my way. However, it’s not until I fully submit and surrender to doing it my Father’s way, getting rid of the old habits in one big chunk, that peace returns and I’m peaceful once again.
I’m going to take it one step further. If I can recognize that pattern in myself, then don’t my friends and family deserve at least the same grace from me when they are working through shedding their bad habits that God is convicting them of? It is during those times I need to come alongside them, pray consistently for them and not be so hands on with them, giving God and them time together to work through what our Father wants to reveal to them in their own lives. If God wants my help, He’ll let me know. In the meantime, the best support I can be is prayer support and being available so that when they have completed their full shed and are feeling their normal happy go lucky selves, I’m waiting, ready to hear how God worked in their lives.
Jewel, our bearded dragon, continues to teach me lessons on a regular basis. I’m glad that God allowed our family to see life through the eyes of a lizard… especially now that I’ve learned to read her signals and when she’s shedding, give her the space she’s asking for.
© Cheri Swalwell 2017