I’ve sung it a thousand times. Anyone who grew up in Sunday School or has taught young kids probably has. One of those oldies which we’ll probably still be singing kids for decades to come. Yep, The Butterfly Song.
If I were a butterfly, I’d thank you, Lord, for giving me wings.
If I were a robin in a tree, I’d thank you, Lord, that I could sing.
If I were a fish in the sea, I’d wiggle my tail and I’d giggle with glee,
But I just thank you, Father, for making me me.
For you gave me a heart and you gave me a smile,
You gave me Jesus and you made me your child
And I just thank you, Father, for making me me.
It goes on to list other animals – elephants, kangaroos, an octopus and that crazy fuzzy wuzzy bear – and what they’d thank God for, but always comes back to the main chorus. That I thank God for making me me.
Like I said, sung it a thousand times with probably a thousand different kids, but for some reason the truth of it just hit me last week. I think it was due to a combination of things – a verse I underlined in my morning Bible reading, an announcement I really wanted to be excited about on Facebook (and was, alongside the jealousy and wishing it was me) and a giant butterfly photo on a wall. Strange how they’d all come together to leave me praising God.
The verse was Psalm 9:1-2. “I’m thanking you, God, from a full heart. I’m writing the book on your wonders. I’m whistling, laughing, jumping for joy. I’m singing your song, High God.” (The Message)
Funny how up and down emotions can be. I was so excited when I read that verse and underlined it in the morning. Yes! I thought. That’s exactly me! I’m so awestruck by your wonders, God, and everything you’ve done and are doing in my life that I can’t keep it to myself. I’m writing the book on your wonders. Whistling, laughing, singing. What an incredible privilege to be able to write and have that book published and share with others the incredible hope you’ve given me!
And, not two hours later, I’m down again. Wishing that friend’s announcement was mine. Wishing I was in their shoes, with their story, praising God with their words. Kind of pathetic really.
And then my family and I went to the museum and I saw that butterfly on the wall. I called my daughter over for a photo first, loving how she was the perfect height to stand right in the middle and ‘become’ the butterfly. Then my little, not quite tall enough but still totally cute, son wanted a go and my other daughter and then, just as we were leaving, I went back for a photo of my own. It was sweet. I liked it. And started singing the butterfly song to myself because, well, it was pretty engrained in my head after all those times singing it.
But as I was singing it in my head, smiling at the photo of me pretending to be a butterfly, the words got to me and I realized just how thankful I really was to be me. That God hadn’t created me to be a butterfly with giant wings or a robin, singing its heart out in praise. That God hadn’t made me my friend, with her particular story, journey and beautiful book cover. I really was, right to the heart of me, singing and jumping for joy, thankful that God had made me me.
Me, with my story. My journey. My family. My publishing house. My way of looking at the world. My way of praising God. My heart, my smile. The ones that God gave me. Not them. Me.
God already has that person’s praise. He already has butterflies and robins and fuzzy, wuzzy bears praising him in their particular way. What he doesn’t have, if I’m too busy trying to be someone else or comparing myself to them, is me. My praise. The thousand reasons he’s given me to worship.
If I were a butterfly, I’d thank you, God, for giving me wings… But I’m not. I’m me. Hannah Currie. And today, and always, I’m incredibly thankful that God made me me.
What are you thankful for today? What has God given you that you alone can praise him for?