“A tortoise, tired of being slow, impatient to get up and go,”
Sometimes, life weighs us down. Stress. Grief. Exhaustion. Disappointment. Have you ever just felt weary, or like you were just moving in slow motion and things just would not move forward for you? Yeah.. so did the foolish tortoise, apparently.
“took off his large and heavy shell, and left it lying where it fell.”
We can try to pretend the things that are weighing us down aren’t there, or sometimes, depending on the situation, walk away from them. I would be willing to guess that many marriages end in this way; they are perceived as the large, heavy shell that prohibits progress.
“‘Hooray’, he cried, ‘now, I’ve been freed! I’ll see the world at double speed!'”
Initially, the tortoise thought it was grand. He felt so much lighter and liberated- as would any creature who left behind what was perceived as a burdensome load.
“Though faster, he was not express, and his protection was far less.”
The story goes on to demonstrate all the reasons the tortoise had his shell in the first place. He found himself unprotected from other creatures and the elements. He wasn’t prepared for what he was about to face.
New International Version (NIV)
Trials and Temptations
2 Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters,[a] whenever you face trials of many kinds, 3 because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. 4 Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. 5 If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.
The trials and temptations we face help prepare us for what’s to come. They serve as lessons to help us build our faith, perseverance, and spiritual maturity. Running away from our problems doesn’t fix them, and you never know when those trials may be preparing you for something God knows you will encounter.
So, 4 lessons from The Foolish Tortoise:
1. Your “shell” may feel heavy and awkward at times, but without the pain in life, we’d often not be prepared for what’s to come.
2. Pretending you don’t have baggage won’t change you from a tortoise to a hare. You can walk away from your strained marriage, quit school, etc., but that doesn’t mean the challenges aren’t going to be there. God uses the challenges to help you grow. To skip out every time a challenge comes along would be like trying to run a marathon without allowing yourself to feel the pain of training. Not a wise move.
3. Sometimes what looks good to us while we’re struggling isn’t so appealing when we drop everything to get it. If you are struggling in your marriage, you’ll probably see lots of other people who seem like they’d be a “better spouse” … focus. If you’re already in a marriage, you’ve got no business looking elsewhere! If you need to work on your ability to communicate and your ability to love your spouse, jumping ship and boarding another won’t fix that!
4. God made us who we are for a purpose. Strengths and weaknesses both. Trying to change who we are because we think we know best isn’t going to work in our favor.
What other lessons could we take from The Foolish Tortoise?
Keri Kitchen is a devoted wife and mother, blogger, author of Love Isn’t Selfish, licensed mental health counselor, and founder of The Carys Rainn Foundation. To read more about what God is doing in her life, visit her blog at www.aftertherainn.com