What I learned from the turtles

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Over the weekend, my best friend and I got our first tattoos. Mine looks like this:

Why a turtle, though? Well, first of all, to symbolize the long life of our friendship. Also, my best friend and I are the proud, unconventional parents of two turtles of our own. We rescued them from the black market in New York and raised them together. Aren’t they cute?

After taking care of these little guys (who aren’t so little anymore) for a few months, God began to use them to teach me some important lessons about myself and about life.

I’ve always been shy- extremely so. I’m quiet, I keep to myself. And when life gets scary, I pull my head into my shell and hide from the world for awhile.

After  awhile, I stopped sticking my head out. Every time I did, I got hurt. Taking risks, facing my fears, making new friends, letting someone love me- these things were all too dangerous. If I kept to myself, I’d be safe. If I kept to myself, life would be more simple. If I kept to myself, I’d be happier. That’s how turtles live, right?

“Is that really how turtles live though, Sarah?” God said to me once as I chased (yes, chased. Turtles are FAST. Tortoises are the slow ones. Common misconception) one of my turtles around my bedroom. “This one’s trying to explore. He wants to see the world, not hide from it.”

And, as always, God was right. Turtles need their shells, because life is tough for them, just like I needed to withdraw from a hurtful world every now and then. But the turtles don’t stay withdrawn. They spend most of their lives sticking their heads out. Taking risks. They may be quiet, but they are anything but cowardly (take the turtle in this video for instance):

So, even though the world’s a scary place, may I take a lesson or two from the turtles and not spend my life hiding in a shell!

So, what about you, readers? Do you have/want any meaningful tattoos? Has God ever used an animal to teach you a lesson about life?

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