I was going to sit down and read this afternoon, but the sun was actually shining and the warm weather drew me out into my small back yard. Since the first frost killed my roses budding on the vines, I have been wanting to prune. Today was my chance.
I changed into my garden shoes, grabbed my gloves and shears and went to work. I was cutting everything in sight, starting with the roses, but then moving on to my few bushes. I find myself a bit OCD about bushes, as I don’t like them to be uneven, so I kept cutting. The weird thing about most bushes is — God didn’t make them even.
Mine now look like they’ve been beat with a bat.
However, as I took out my wrath on my plants, I began to discover a few things:
- Pruning reveals other things are growing the midst of your shrubs. I found I actually had two kinds of bushes growing, plus some holly, sneaking its way into the mix.
- Pruning reveals some things have died along the way. Thankfully, for me, it was not an animal, but simply branches of my roses or shrubs had withered. The growth of the bush was hiding that which should have been cut and burned.
- Pruning gives space to clean out from underneath the plant. Finally, now that I’d trimmed my crazy-wild roses, I was able to rake beneath the bushes without getting attacked. Under my shrubs, I could finally get the dead leaves that had accumulated, making the space look much cleaner.
- Pruning lets other plants have a moment to see the light and grow. I have some pretty monkey grass that looks so nice now that it has some room for itself.
- Pruning doesn’t always look pretty, but time reveals the benefit. Now is not the time for my yard to be pictured in Southern Living. Looking at my plants now makes me sad, as a matter of fact, but I knew it had to be done.
- Pruning reminds me growth is up to the Creator. I can only do my part. I’ve cut, I’ve cleaned, I’ve cared, but I can’t make things grow. I have to leave that up to God.
Is any of this hitting you like it did me? Yep, I saw the lesson for my own life. It’s actually funny that I’m pruning today, at this time in my life, at a time when I’m purposefully seeking Him in that spacious place. Realized I can’t seek the spacious place without cutting back, cleaning my own spiritual house.
Now as I take my gloves off and reflect, I ask myself some hard questions:
- What’s been sneaking into my life that’s counterfeit to my Christian walk?
- What have I been doing as a habit so long in my life, that it’s become a dead work, unfruitful? What needs cutting out completely?
- What just needs cleaning up in my life? Refreshing? What can I get rid of that will allow me to spend more time with him?
- What do I need to let go of, so that others can step up and serve?
- Can I be patient in this season of my life, even though I’m not “fruitful” or look pretty, so that he can do his work in me?
- Am I willing to allow his pruning in my life and trust him for future growth? Can I freely give myself over to him for this time?
I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful.*
Of course, Jesus said it best. He wouldn’t prune us if we weren’t already bearing fruit. He just wants us to submit to his pruning so we can be even more fruitful. You may not be a pretty sight right now, but now you can say: “I’m just being pruned. Just you wait and see what God does next!”
Grace and Peace
*John 15:1-2 (NIV)