Monarch butterflies follow a very specific generational migration. Starting in Mexico, the first generation will fly to the southern United States where they will remain for life. Their offspring will fly to the central states, stopping somewhere around the Ohio River, where they will reproduce. At this point the third generation will migrate to Canada to lay eggs. The fourth generation that is born in Canada will then take a miraculous flight all the way back to the same mountains in Mexico where their great grandparents originated from.
For countless years this incredible butterfly has been following this same four generation cycle, one of the most incredible yet mysterious journeys in the natural world. In short, they do it because it is in their nature.
Paul said in Romans 12:2: Be transformed by the renewing of your mind (emphasis added). The word Paul uses here is the word we use for the metamorphosis of a butterfly. The change in the end is something completely different than was there before. This is how total the transformation should be when it comes to our thinking. And remember, our thoughts determine our actions.
Dr. Robert B. Cialdini recounts a study that was done at a horse track. Two psychologists who led the study found that people were much more confident in the horse they chose immediately after they placed a bet, when just seconds before they were just randomly selecting a horse. Once they made a public declaration by laying money down on a particular horse, they matched their feelings to their actions. Cialdini calls this social influence, stating, "It is, quite simply, our nearly obsessive desire to be (and to appear) consistent with what we have already done."
It is very hard for people to change their opinion, let alone to change the opinion of another person. We've all seen people become trapped by their words. Yet instead of confessing to a fault, they will defend their words and actions, all in the hopes of appearing right, afraid of appearing weak.
Paul says that in Christ our thoughts become brand new. In Christ we are not trying to defend self, we are surrendering to him and going through a complete metamorphosis apart from other people's opinions. When our thinking is changed, our beliefs are changed, our actions are changed, and our life is changed.
In the 70's a woman named Laura Shultz, who was 63 at the time, lifted the back end of a Buick off her grandson's arm. Peak Performance author Dr. Charles Garfield tried to get an interview with her, but she refused, unwilling to talk about "the event."
After much convincing, she finally told him she didn't like to think about what happened. "If I was able to do this when I didn't think I could, what does that say about the rest of my life? Have I wasted it?"
Charlie was able to coach her into pursuing her dreams. At 63 she went back to school, got a degree in geology, and became a professor at a local college.
That happened when she changed her beliefs—her thoughts were transformed about what was and was not possible. As Lily Tomlin said, "I always wanted to be somebody, but I should have been more specific." You can make a difference today. Even if you have to admit you were wrong, make a phone call, give an apology, and be transformed by the renewing of your mind!
In 1952 Florence Chadwick wanted to swim California's shoreline. She had already been the first woman to swim the English Channel. Once she began her journey across the ocean water, her fear got the best of her. Scared of sharks, fighting the fog and the chilly water, she told the boat beside her she wanted to quit. She had already been swimming for 15 hours, was exhausted and ready to throw in the towel. Her mother tried to encourage her, telling her she was close, but panicked, Chadwick gave up.