As soon as a redwood is cut down or burned, it sends up a crowd of eager, hopeful shoots, which, if allowed to grow, would in a few decades attain a height of a hundred feet, and the strongest of them would finally become giants as great as the original tree. ~John Muir
“What have you done?!”
Matt jumped out of the car. We had just bought our first house.
The small front porch was hidden behind overgrown box hedges and red leaf photinia. When Matt headed to work that morning, I headed to the bushes. By the time Matt returned, they were pruned down to bare branches.
That was in November.
It was a long winter of sideways glances and raised eyebrows. Matt’s head shook as much as the bare branches in the winter wind.
But the next spring new leaves and healthy growth appeared.
Pruning looks painful- even kind of stupid. Branches with flowers or fruit are cut off. Lovely leaves are hacked away, strewn across the lawn by children building forts.
But pruning is necessary.
It’s the same in our lives.
I teach Bible class. I volunteer at the nursing home. I join Bible studies, serve on church committees, and lead community service projects. I write books, teach in China, and try to maintain my home.
All are worthwhile, looking like flavorful fruit ripening on my branches.
The truth is . . . I need to be pruned.
But what needs to go?
For me it’s easier to know what doesn’t need to go. What do I believe would disappoint God if I pruned it out of my life?
I’m sure God has called me to write, to teach in China, and to serve my church family. I’m equally sure that God doesn’t care how high the grass is, and since I don’t live in a neighborhood, no one else does either. If the living room doesn’t get painted in a weekend, who cares?
What about you? Too many evenings at the soccer pitch, or weekends at the theater, or hours at the office? Is there someone else who can step into your role and let you focus on the greater things?
What is God trying to prune out of your life?