Okay, I am a clicker. I am that annoying person who, when given control of the TV remote, will rapidly click through ALL available channels until something catches my attention. Much to my husband’s dismay, I tend to forget the existence of a TV guide. While this may not be a very efficient method of seeking out entertainment, it has yielded some viewing gems I would have otherwise never happened upon. For example, just last week I expanded my knowledge of the amazing giant octopus.
I am not quite sure what the entire program was about, but I was quickly drawn into the goings on of a group of researchers capturing an octopus and then performing behavioral studies on it at sea. I watched as they placed their captive octopus into a clear acrylic box below the surface of the ocean. The narrator informed us the box had one circular opening, which the octopus could use to escape. The octopus is basically boneless, which allows it to squish in and out of extraordinarily small places. This attribute has lead the octopus to be considered by many the Houdini of the sea. The diameter of this exit hole was just large enough to allow for the ONE part of the octopus that cannot be changed or manipulated. The octopus has one small bone section located between its eyes.
I watched as this amazing creature used one of its sucker lined arms to feel around the opening before beginning its escape. Arm by arm, body section by flattened body section; the octopus quickly extricated itself from the confines of the box. Next the researchers reduced the available exit opening to a diameter that would NOT accommodate the only bone structure the octopus had.
As soon as the little guy was placed back in the box he again used his arm to investigate his escape route. Surprisingly, within minutes the octopus had ascertained it would not be able to get out of the small opening. There was no attempt to escape at all. Instead, the octopus settled into a corner of the box. The researchers were excited! The experiment confirmed that the octopus has a very keen understanding of self. Apparently, most would have expected the captured creature to try to remove itself from the undesired circumstance. It was assumed the realization of the impossibility of escape would have come from trial and error. They discovered that because the octopus KNEW it had a body structure that would prevent it from escape, it did not even try.
Hmmmmm, an octopus knows what it can and cannot accomplish. This spineless mass of gelatinous tissue is capable of knowing something about itself that even I struggle with at times. It knows that although it can morph into almost any size, shape or color, there was something in its core being that defined it. While the small bone in its head like body may be seen as a limitation, the octopus’s understanding of it was liberating. It did not attempt to push, pull or stretch itself into something it could not become. It did not waste time or energy trying to form itself into something it was never meant to be. God had made it just so.
How often do I fail to recognize the core of what God has placed within me. Sometimes in my attempt to live out “I can do all things through God..” I forget that He has not made me to be all things to all people. He has placed within me abilities or gifts which may not always fit into my own expectations. How much needless effort would be avoided if I could seek to understand the person God has created me to be. What a wonderful attribute that would be, knowing myself as He sees me and seeking with confidence my fit in His plan.
“For You created my inner most being, You knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise You because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Your works are wonderful , I know that full well…all the days ordained for me were written in Your book before one of them came to be.” Psalm 139:14-16
The octopus may be aware of his own limitations, and the word informs us that we ought not think more highly of ourselves than we ought. Yet how important it is that we be confident that whatever God calls us to be or do, we are more than conquerors through Him.
And also, which seems to directly contradict my first premise on thinking too much of oneself, Paul tells us to believe that God is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, and conversely, without Him we can do nothing. So really, no contradictions…on our own we are next to worthless, but as soon as God enters the life, there are no limitations!