Pruning plants basically involves the removal of a part of a plant, bush, or tree in order to improve it. Pruning plants may be done to improve the look or the health of the plant as well as increase harvest. For the past four weekends, I've been carefully tying up my raspberries (with cut up strips of old T-Shirts, so the plant can breathe) and pruning dead shoots or overgrowth. It is a slow-moving task that brings me great joy knowing that next year's harvest will be even more bountiful. Pruning is literally a gardener's labor of love; sacrificing time and effort, ensuring betterment in the year to come.
In order to bear our best fruits, we also need to prune. Simply put, this isn't an easy task in a fast-paced, "I am superwoman" world. Instead we often spread ourselves too thin, spreading the nutrients of our life among too many branches. We find ourselves smoothed, overwhelmed, undernourished, and not in best health. This is our reality. Our nation is literally making itself overwhelmed, because we aren't paring our focuses. We think we can do it ALL.
Over the past three and half years, I've supported my husband in his decision to complete a second masters degree while both of us working full-time. I am one of those women that thought I could "do it all". At times, I literally have thought I lost myself in all of the hustle and bustle of keeping things moving or simply have failed. With that, I've found myself leaning on God and learning to prune. I've had to make tough decisions on what to "cut" from my life in order to maintain the healthiness of our family, my "plant". Honestly, these cuts have been difficult, freeing, and lonely...all wrapped into one. In order to thrive, I have had to make strategic cuts in strengthening myself to reach the goal. I long for the harvest and everything to finally come to fruition.
Going in to this "season", I never thought I would have to prune. I thought I could do it all. But in reality, God didn't design me to have too many branches, neither did he believe that for you. It has been a hard lesson.
God is the gardener in our life and I have learned to trust him as he prunes in my own life. Over the years, I have had several conversations with others about the need to "prune" in their life like I needed to. Sadly, when I ask them what it would look like if they gave up "this or that" they are often too worried what others would think. They are a tangled mess...worried that they won't be able to produce fruit; they choose to cut nothing at all. They loose themselves, the "spirit of their fruits" becomes tart and spoiled, and honestly, they don't know where to begin to become themselves again.
What would it look like if we all made one "cut"? To trust; that God as the gardener knows the best cuts for our life to reap the harvest next year. And with every cut I make on my raspberries, I am reminded of that very lesson. Just like God, I am cutting away the damage, overgrowth, and dead parts of my plants to grow to their fullest potential. The Gardener knows best. And I will trust him.