It’s freezing cold in my basement. Right now, the main reason I’m typing this is just to keep warm. The movement of my fingers is producing just enough body heat to keep myself from going into hypothermic shock. Well, perhaps not that bad, but it’s quite chilly down here. And no, I don’t mean that it’s like a South American country, or a mix of ground beef and kidney beans. Although I could go for some nice, warm chili right now. Or even some nice, warm Chile.
I had a thought on the bus ride home today. It’s shocking, I know, but occasionally thoughts do enter my head. It scarcely happens, though, that it’s a thought worth sharing. But anyways, this was a thought that seemed to be one of those rare, shareable thoughts, so I thought I would do just that. I can’t say that it’s God-inspired or anything. I can’t even say it’s very inspired, period. I just thought it was pretty cool.
We are like eggs. Yes, that was the thought. I was thinking about eggs for some reason (I honestly can’t remember why), and as I thought about them, the realization hit me as to just how similar they are to our lives as humans. You see, eggs are fragile. They break easily, and so do we. Easily hurt are we by the words of others, their criticisms, the rejection, and so many other things that I can’t possibly hope to list them all. So we build a shell around ourselves. Eggs are slightly stronger with a shell around them – though anyone who’s ever made scrambled eggs knows that it’s still really not that hard to break one open. Nevertheless, we build these shells around ourselves to protect our insides from the hurts of the outside world. We create them to shelter us from pain, from fear, from the unknown – we all have a variety of reasons as individual as ourselves, but we have all built a shell of some sort.
I remember in my own life, the hurt I experienced was from the expectations of others. My family expected me to be one way, and my friends a completely different way. The truth of the matter was, though, that I couldn’t meet either group’s criteria. I was me, and yet everywhere I turned, there was just another level of standards to achieve. Due to the peer pressure, I eventually tried my best to fit in with my friends – or those I called friends, anyway. At the same time, to shield myself from the others that expected differently of me, I built a shell around myself. When I finally discovered that I could no longer keep up appearances with my current set of friends, up the shell went, a thousand layers thick. Every day, I built another layer, hoping that this time, it would hold with enough strength to keep me from getting torn apart.
The only problem with shells is that, while it keeps the inside contents intact, we as humans aren’t meant to keep ourselves locked away. The way to live a healthy life is to reach out to others and open ourselves up. However, shells aren’t the best at opening up. Most eggs don’t have doors. So on I lived, now unable to reach out to anyone because of my built-up fortifications. And I guess, to continue on with the egg metaphor, I started to rot inside. A city that locks up its gates and allows nothing in or out soon dies from starvation. So did my heart. It was starving from a lack of friendship, a lack of closeness with someone who would understand me. The options looked bleak, and I must confess that the thoughts of suicide flashed through my mind more than once through this time.
Luckily, though, I was in the right egg carton. You see, I ended up in the hands of the Master, who cared for me and knew exactly what to do. He knew that somehow, that shell had to come off. Of course, the easiest way to get rid of an eggshell is just to crack it, but cracked eggs are messy. No, to crack my shell would be to destroy me, leaving me a broken mess. There are other ways to remove an eggshell. One way is to hard-boil it. Some people try to do that to others. They are frustrated by the lack of connection between them, so they hard-boil the other person and then rip off the shell. Sure, the shell is gone then – but now the situation is worse, for the insides are hardened. A hard-boiled egg might be a nice appetizer, but they don’t make for great, personable friendships. They’re dried up and hard, and while the shell is gone, the insides are now destroyed.
No, God has a better method. He doesn’t break the eggshell, and he doesn’t peel it off either. He dissolves it. Remember that cool science experiment, where you put an egg in a jar of vinegar? That’s what God does. He puts us in the acid that eats away at the defenses we’ve put up against Him and others. The shell dissolves, and what’s more, the insides are still safely stored, unbroken and intact. Sure, the acid might not be the most pretty solution – it’s sometimes painful, and nobody ain’t never gonna want to eat that egg afterwards – but it gets the job done, and it sure beats the alternatives. God knows the perfect solution to get rid of the shell we’ve built around ourselves. And then He gives us the friendship and intimacy we need so that, if all other friendships fall away, we are still satisfied. The deep human need we have for interaction and for pouring out our lives into someone else are sated in Christ alone.
So there you have it: a full-blown analogy of life in, well, an eggshell. Hope that it helps, and if not, well then at the very least, it was a nice story, right? Just remember that God always has the answers we need, and He knows the best approach to our heart because He created us. And now, how does the story end? I’ve found out who I am. I’m free to be me, because the shell is gone, and I now have a Friend who sticks closer than a brother. So don’t end up like scrambled eggs – trust me on this, the vinegar hurts at first, but in the long run, it’s much less painful than the alternative.