Has anyone seen my chameleon this morning? He has to be hiding somewhere. He asked me if we could play hide-and-go-seek, and then disappeared into thin air.
I’ve looked high and low in the yard and the house and it seems like he’s nowhere around. He’s probably hiding right out in the open but doesn’t yet want to be found.
I’m guessing he looks like a leaf on a bush or the back of a sofa or chair. He could be disguised as a book or a bagel. Regardless, I don’t think it’s fair.
If you come across my chameleon, please tell him I give up. He beat me today. He’s clearly the champion at hiding so, next time, it’s my turn to pick what we play.
– “Has Anyone Seen My Chameleon?” by Kenn Nesbitt
Hide-and-Go-Seek Champion. Master of Disguise. Mimic of Legendary Proportions. The Chameleon.
Chameleons are extraordinary creatures, most well known by their ability to change colors and blend in with their surroundings. The word chameleon is derived from two Greek words: “khamai”, which means “on the earth”, and “leon”, which means “lion”. When we say the word, chameleon, we are calling this lizard a “lion on the earth”. Isn’t it odd that such a small creature would bear such a grand title? An oft-suggested explanation for this is that the crest on the chameleon’s head is reminiscent of a lion’s mane. Might I suggest another, more symbolic, explanation for the Greek moniker? Charles Darwin once said:
It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent that survives. It is the one that is most adaptable to change.
Now, I am not a fan of Darwin, nor do I ascribe to his theories on evolution. However, I agree with him on this point: adaptability often outweighs strength and intelligence (or makes up for the lack thereof). A chameleon may not have the strength or cunning nature of the lion, yet its adaptability rivals that king of beasts.
“What does all this chameleon stuff have to do with me?” you may be asking. Here’s the correlation: there are those of us who at times bemoan our lack of ingenuity. We are the people who imitate those we look up to, who mimic genius, who pick up bits and pieces from others to invent our identity. We are the ones who will never hear the words, “he/she is a natural”, spoken in reference to us. Because frankly, we aren’t naturals…we are chameleons. We replicate. Others paint the landscape, we copy the painting. Others write the music, we sing the tune. Others publish the books, we quote the words. Others are the inventors, we are the imitators. Does this resonate with you?
If you are a “chameleon”, you likely think that you lack unique attributes. You may feel that God forgot to sprinkle that extra “special something” in your DNA that others seem to possess. You probably have days when you look down on yourself, because you have to work so hard to do what comes naturally to the ones who just plain “have it”.
I am here today to shift your perspective. I am going to give you three reasons why being a chameleon isn’t such a bad thing as you’re making it out to be. By the time you finish this article, perhaps you will look at yourself through a new set of eyes. Let’s get rolling.
Ashamed of being a chameleon? Don’t let this escape your notice. #1: The Character of a Chameleon is one of…
• Their eyes move independently and can rotate 360 degrees. • Their eyes can also see two directions at once. • They have very sharp vision with excellent depth perception which allows them to easily target prey (insects) even up to 20 feet away.
If you are a “chameleon”, you have been given excellent observation skills. You are able to see things that others cannot. Your brain is able to process an inordinate amount of information through your heightened visual perception.
Observation is a valuable tool in many areas of life:
Observation allows a wife to ascertain what her husband wants and needs from her…she takes careful note of all his desires and adds them to her mental “to-do” list.
Observation allows a mother to identify her child’s nature…she learns how she might reach him in the way best suited to his individual personality traits.
Observation allows an employee to learn the tricks of her trade…she studies diligently to become an asset to the company for which she is employed.
Unfortunately, not everyone can and not everyone will observe to their betterment. Such individuals rely on their natural ability to carry them through life, and don’t see a need to look further. They lack the ability to see beyond their present talents, and this hinders their personal growth. You, however, have the character of a chameleon. You are at an advantage, because you see that you have room for improvement. You can easily observe all your traits that need an upgrade.
Observation is a key element to our Christian faith. The Lord says this in regard to people who don’t observe:
Look, you blind, that you may see. Who is so blind as he that is at peace with me, or so blind as the servant of the Lord? You have seen many things, but you do not observe them. – excerpt from Isaiah 42:18-20
Chameleons have a stark advantage toward understanding the scripture – let it not be wasted on us. The Bible is more than mere words on a page…we must not only see, but observe. We must hold God’s word as the blueprint by which we mold our lives. Let us use our “360 degree” field of vision to observe every detail – the whole counsel of God.
Still ashamed of being a chameleon? Don’t let this escape your notice. #2: The Character of a Chameleon is one of…
• The tongues of chameleons are two to three times longer than their bodies. • They are able to shoot their tongues out at high speeds in both high and low temperatures, which other reptiles cannot do. • They use both their eyes and tongues to capture their prey: their sharp eyes first spot their target then their long tongues grab the insect.
If you are a “chameleon”, you have been given excellent eradication skills. You are able to quickly remove what others cannot. You can effectively take down your target and convert the unwanted intruder to positive energy.
Eradication is a valuable tool in many areas of life:
Eradication allows a wife to avoid giving any turn-offs to her man (whether somatically, soulishly, or spiritually)…she finds out which of her habits are undesirable or loathsome to him and permanently lays them aside.
Eradication allows a mother to break her previous cycles of poor parenting…she replaces impatience with patience, a raised tone with a lower tone, and harsh judgments with an understanding heart.
Eradication allows an employee to nip her bad habits in the bud…she takes constructive criticism seriously and adjusts her work ethic and attitude accordingly.
Unfortunately, not everyone can and not everyone will eradicate to their betterment. Such individuals don’t see anything wrong with the way they’ve always done things. They lack the ability to ditch their negative traits, and this hinders their personal growth. You, however, have the character of a chameleon. You are at an advantage, because you are repulsed by all that is lesser within you. You don’t feel at rest until you remove the wrong and make it right.
Eradication is a key element to our Christian faith. Ezekiel 18:31 gives this admonition:
Cast away from you all your transgressions which you have committed and make yourselves a new heart and a new spirit! For why will you die, O house of Israel?
Chameleons have a stark advantage toward removing sin from the heart – let it not be wasted on us. We can not allow ourselves to be complacent when it comes to wrongs in our spirit, but continually work hand-in-hand with God to weed them out. We must replace negative traits with positive ones. Let us capture our prey (our sin) with lightning speed and devour it…before it devours us.
Still ashamed of being a chameleon? Don’t let this escape your notice. #3: The Character of a Chameleon is one of…
• Chameleons don’t disappear; they change colors to blend into their environment. • Most species change color; some can even change the pattern and mix of colors. • Chameleons change colors as a defense mechanism from predators, a signal to other chameleons, and as a technique to regulate body temperature.
If you are a “chameleon”, you have been given excellent adaptation skills. You are able to become what others cannot. You can transform into something far more beautiful and refined than your first form.
Adaptation allows a wife to morph into the woman of her husband’s dreams…she adapts to the qualities her man finds attractive in a woman and win his favor.
Adaptation allows a mother to bond with her child…she adapts to tried-and-true parenting techniques and becomes a better mom.
Adaptation allows an employee to rise in her company’s ranks…she adapts to the business model of her superiors and impresses her boss.
Unfortunately, not everyone can and not everyone will adapt to their betterment. When such individuals reach the end of their natural ability, they find themselves unable to progress further in life. They lack the ability to become more than what they are, and this hinders their personal growth. You, however, have the character of a chameleon. You are at an advantage, because you can copy what you see. You have the very real gift of becoming what you admire.
Adaptation is a key element to our Christian faith. We are called to:
…be imitators of God, as beloved children. – Ephesians 5:1
Chameleons have a stark advantage toward transforming into God’s image – let it not be wasted on us. We have the perfect example to follow in our Messiah, Jesus Christ. We must pick up our cross and follow in His footsteps daily. We must find Him worthy of our imitation. Let us blend into our Savior and model our every color after Him.
Still ashamed of being a chameleon? Surely not, my friend. Chameleons are truly one-of-a-kind among God’s creation.
This message is for me as well as for all of my fellow “chameleons”. No longer will I be ashamed of my God-given design. I used to think that I had no special qualities of my own, that I was merely a cheap imitation of those I considered to be “better” than myself…the naturals. Now I realize that others are not better than me, nor vice versa…we are merely different.
If it were possible for a chameleon to voice a lament in my ear, perhaps it would say: “I am a worthless creature. I have no abilities of my own! All I am is a cheap imitation…a copy. I’m nothing special.”
“Silly lizard,” I would reply, “you are a lion on the earth. Your very strength lies in your ability to adapt. This is the quality that makes you unique. Not everyone can be a chameleon, you know.” And this is what I am telling you also. Are you a skilled observer, eradicator, and adapter? Then you have the character of a chameleon. You have no cause for shame. Stand tall, and embrace your distinctive expertise…painting yourself in a beautiful array of colors.
“Living in the skin of a chameleon requires the ability to adapt and change on a dime, every single day, multiple times a day – while continuing to keep an eye on the big picture.”