Don’t Be Afraid to Break Out!

by Denise

There is a season for everything in life.  And sometimes the people, places and things that are beneficial to us in one season will be hindrances in the next, like a snug down coat worn into springtime.  It can cause discomfort, and possibly even guilt, to think that careers, relationships, and other activities that provide a source of joy, growth, significance, and connectedness today may tomorrow signify stagnation were we to remain there.

Think of a newborn chick.  He grows over a period of weeks in the warm, nurturing environment of the eggshell.  During this time he desperately needs both the shell and the nutrients inside to survive and grow.  But there comes a time soon enough when the chick has developed to the point that the shell is too confining and can no longer provide the nutrients the chick needs to continue to grow.  The shell had the capacity to take the chick from one stage of life to another, but not the capacity to carry it throughout.  In fact, it was never supposed to.

It’s hard work for the chick to break out of his shell; but now, breaking out is just as much about the drive to survive as remaning inside was.  He pecks away and eventually climbs out, ready to begin a quest in a new world.  The shell lies behind him, where it will remain.  And this is the truth:  The shell that protects, shelters, and provides nourishment for the growing chick is the same shell from which that chick must break free in order to grow into maturity.  If we are too afraid to break out of our shells in life–whether they be family attachments, jobs, identities, or some other thing–then we will stagnate ourselves and fail to thrive.  Many times we will simply have the desire to expand and move on without knowing exactly what the next stage will be.  Other times, we may find that we are so comfortable and so pleased with the good we have experienced in the present or prior season that we are reluctant to move onto the next.  But like the chick, we must always be willing to break out and face a new world in order to thrive.  If we don’t, then what was once good to us may become a source of frustration, and sweet experiences may turn sour. 

We don’t want to hatch before we are genuinely ready or leave a place or situation at the cost of breaking our word and commitments.  But we should always be discerning where we are, how we’re growing, and be responsive to the changing seasons in our lives.