Regular, deliberate pruning brings improvement
Every year I prune my raspberry patch because overcrowded canes compete with each other for sunlight and nutrients. If I don’t, the patch produces fewer berries and smaller, poor-tasting fruit. Without pruning, shady moist conditions around dense thickets encourage fungal diseases.
Pruning also results in better writing. Pare down your work in progress, get rid of unnecessary stuff (often the parts you’re proudest of), and keep what’s essential. You’ll find that your writing is not only shorter, but better, when pruned. Make every sentence matter.
What about myself, personally and spiritually? I need to regularly examine the patch of my soul to see what is growing. Are Sonlight and nutrients reaching all of my branches? What fruits of the Spirit am I producing daily? Are there dark, fungal, non-essentials slowing health and growth? I need to regularly chop out the detritus and expose it to the warmth of the Son.
This pruning process is what Colton Dixon sings about in “More of You.”
It’s often a crisis that leads us into a period of self contemplation. When I’ve experienced hard times–rejection, illness, death of a loved one, failure–introspection has played a big part in my return to health and function. “Navel-gazing” isn’t a long-term destination, but a port we need to visit now and then on our life journeys.
Is pruning a waste of time, a chore to be avoided?
Periodic pruning makes things better. It’s true in agriculture, writing, and our interior landscapes. It’s a universal rule.
Revision is a key part of the creative process. God does it: separating light from dark, water from land… Tweak. Examine. Consider. Revise until all is good or very good.
Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect. Romans 12:2 (NLT)
Do you look at a pruning shears with panic? Anger? Intense sorrow?
Maybe it’s time to change your reaction.