Last week, I shared about a big huge pity party I had been throwing myself. You can read more about how the Lord spoke to my heart in the midst of that pity party here. While my attitude about the situation has changed, my situation hasn’t. I still am waiting for a miracle baby. I’m still having strange symptoms that seem to have no explanation. My job is still busy and stressful. My to do list still feels too long. I still feel stretched to my limits – not able to really give anything the attention it deserves. So where does that leave me?
My Dad sent me a video that I cannot stop thinking about. In the video, psychiatrist (and rabbi) Dr. Abraham Twerski describes stress, using lobsters. I know that sounds absolutely crazy, but hang with me here! This metaphor was something I needed to hear.
Dr. Abraham Twerski described lobsters as soft, squishy little animals that live in hard shells. The lobster grows, but the shell does not. As the lobster grows and the shell becomes too small, the lobster becomes uncomfortable. When the lobster can no longer stand the pressure, it finds a rock to protect itself from predatory fish. While under the rock, the lobster casts off it’s old shell and grows a new one. This happens several times in the lobsters life. It grows uncomfortable, finds a rock, casts off its old shell and grows a new shell. The pushing point for the lobster to grow is that it feels uncomfortable.
Stress and discomfort is unavoidable in life, however I love what the lobster teaches us. Without stress and discomfort, we would never grow. We’d never do more. While it’s incredible to think stress and discomfort is the catalyst to better things, that’s not the part of the lobsters story that spoke to my heart.
When the lobster can no longer take the stress and discomfort of its tight shell, it runs to a rock for shelter. It’s under that rock where the situation changes. Psalm 62:2 says:
Truly he is my rock and my salvation;
he is my fortress, I will never be shaken.
There are so many times the Bible describes God as a rock. Rocks are used to build walls, fortresses, and towers. Just as rocks create shelter, the Lord does that for us. God is our source of strength in times of distress and danger. I think the word “rock” also describes something about the nature of God. He is solid as a rock. He is unchangeable in nature.
I know God could speak one word and my body would heal, my womb would be full with a healthy full term baby (or babies), my stress levels would change and my to do list would disappear…. but remember the lobster? Even though the lobster is hidden under the rock, it still has to cast off it’s old shell and grow a new one.
Max Lucado, a famous Christian author, said “The circumstances that we ask God to change are often the circumstances God is using to change us.” I wonder if God is using these stressors and discomforts to change my heart. Pushing me to grow, to change my perspective and to give me the capacity for more.
Here’s the thing, casting off an old shell and growing a new shell is hard work. I think the lobster finds a rock for shelter, but also for relief. Matthew 11:28-30 says this in the passion translation:
“Are you weary, carrying a heavy burden? Then come to me. I will refresh your life, for I am your oasis. Simply join your life with mine. Learn my ways and you’ll discover that I’m gentle, humble, easy to please. You will find refreshment and rest in me. For all that I require of you will be pleasant and easy to bear.”
Today, if you are feeling overwhelmed by the discomforts of life, I encourage you to remember the lobster. Run to Jesus. He is a strong steady rock where shelter can be found. If you are feeling like you can’t take another step forward because of the pressure, allow Jesus to give you rest. Most of all, remember that sometimes the Lord uses discomfort and stress to help you grow… bigger shells are always worth the work!