When Eggs Learn to Fly

Leadership is broken because leaders are unbroken

It’s no news to anyone that C. S. Lewis was a master of metaphors, and I read one recently that really grabbed me. He said it’s truly hard for an egg to learn to fly. To learn to fly, an egg has to become a bird—but it’s not easy for eggs to become birds. After all an egg has to give up everything it is to become a bird. Eggs have to give up their lovely oval appearance; they have to give up their protective shell; they have to see their natural inward self transformed into something that isn’t remotely like them at all. An egg has to sacrifice itself completely to become a bird. An egg can’t remain an egg and fly. An egg can only learn to fly by being broken, just as leaders can never learn to lead without also being broken.


An egg has only one purpose: to be broken so the life that’s in it can burst forth and learn to fly.  As leaders we’re like that too. We also have only one purpose: to be broken so the leader in us can also learn to fly the way God intended. We have a protective shell that we often try to keep intact. Maybe we decorate it the way we decorated Easter eggs when we were children. But our aim as leaders is not to preserve our outer shell or make it look good, and especially not to protect what’s inside us and keep it from facing risk. It is to learn to fly the way God made us to fly.  To do that we must put what’s inside us at great risk, ultimately to see God force it out of the nest into thin air with the chance that we might crash to the ground below. As long as we try to stay in control and protect what’s inside us, we hinder the very purpose for which God made us, but as soon as we give up ourselves we become ourselves.


That’s what’s so hard for so many of us to understand. We seem to think that if we take the risk God calls us to take and give up our protective shell, we will lose everything. We know the words Jesus said—that by losing everything we gain everything. We can quote these words and say them to one another in times of confusion and struggle, but saying these words and living these words are two different things. To give up everything to become ourselves doesn’t make sense to us. As far as we can tell, to lose ourselves is to lose everything we ever dreamed of becoming. To give up all control and entrust ourselves to a God who will push us out of the nest and force us out of our comfort zone is contrary to all the realities we have every known. What if we crash, lose everything, and gain nothing? What then? So even though there’s a leader in us struggling to get free and fly, we strive to be in control and keep the treasure of our shell and never let our heart be known. So we never learn to fly.


Look, Leader, think about this. Why don’t you just go ahead and be a good egg and let your protective shell crack all to pieces so the real leader God has put inside you can step forth and learn to fly His way?


From "When Eggs Learn to Fly" on

Bill Lawrence is the President of Leader Formation International, Senior Professor Emeritus of Pastoral Ministries and Adjunct Professor of DMin Studies at Dallas Theological Seminary where he served full-time for twenty-four years (1981-2005). During this time he also was the Executive Director of the Center for Christian Leadership for twelve years.

One Comment

  • martinezk

    Leadership concept

    Here in this article we have found suitable example of leadership concept; the author really present remarkable example of leadership and compare the concept of leadership with egg and bird. Leadership is also a great concept we should be more determined to understand the concept of leadership and from here we can get suitable ingredients on leadership and how to maintain it.