Some Brutal Pruning
I went a little wild with the electric hedge trimmers tonight. This poor bush got the brunt of my OCD.
About half way through hacking away at it, I got to thinking…
This bush was just doing what it is designed to do. It’s spring, so it’s growing, budding and blossoming at a rapid pace. And here I come with the electric trimmers and cut away all of it’s recent growth. In fact I cut it back quite a bit because I know that as it continues to grow, it will fill back in and be a nice reasonably sized bush. Had I let it keep growing it would have become unruly and taken over the other flowering things around it.
So as I got all sentimental about hurting the bush’s feelings, 🙂 I couldn’t help but make the application to my life. How many times do we find ourselves growing rapidly only to have someone come in and prune us back in a big way. We think we are growing and learning and doing all the right things and then someone comes in and gives us some constructive criticism that deflates us. We were just doing what we were designed to do, right? And then someone comes in hacking away. But this pruning may be just what we need to gain some perspective and to see how we are influencing the world around us. Are we adding to and enhancing our environment and the people around us or are we just growing, sprawling and taking over?
We all need the guiding and pruning of others in our lives.
Pruning is painful but unruly, unguided growth is worse.
While there is nothing good about letting a maverick run with whatever he/she thinks is right when its not, there is also nothing good about deflating someone who is truly living the life that Christ wants them to live because it looks different from what we think it should.
Where is that balance found? When do we know that we are the ones who need to throw out that constructive criticism instead of the uplifting word that person needs? When do we know that our feelings of negativity are justified and not based on our human failings?
But yes, constructive criticism is worth its weight in gold – and more. Too often our pride starts coming to the foreground and we think we’ve got it going on. And then some. When in reality we are not even as cool as we were in 7th grade (and we all know how non-cool we truly were in 7th grade).
You are so right without pruning we would all be unruly overgrown bushes..God always find a way to lift us back up after a fall.
To put us in a place where we can grow after the crazy OCD lady whacked at us with her trimmers 🙂 Then when we grow back we are the better for it. What a great perspective !
….um noticed our little landscaping is looking a little Adams Family feel free to bring your OCD over !
This picture cracked me up. Our first spring in Nashville (2004) Nate went a little crazy with the electric trimmers. We had 5 boxwoods in the front bed and and he decided that they should look just like boxes. I wasn’t paying attention and when I saw what he had done I couldn’t believe it – we now had 5 cubes in the front bed!! They only grow about 1″ per year so it took a long time for them to become bushy again! The Wilson’s were still next door to us and they teased him relentlessly. 🙂
Good analogy – I find myself guilty of pruning my kids too much because I’m too tired, busy, uninterested, don’t want a mess, etc. They will blossom in their artwork or imagination or stories and sometimes I can come along and ruin it all with a misplaced word or two. I constantly have to check myself and try to see their “mess” or “creation” or “game” from their perspective and encourage instead of discourage. Good reminder!
We miss you too! We hope to visit sometime this summer – I’ll keep you posted!
So true, Jenny! The pruning hurts, but keeps us growing and beautiful for the Lord’s glory. If we stop growing, we stop being effective. If we are ineffective, we produce no fruit for the Kingdom. Thanks for this reminder.
Blessings and love,
Angie has a good blog about pruning… it does sting sometimes, doesn’t it? As the “pruner”, I try to remember that when I may be offering some sort of constructive criticism (hate/love that phrase) that I am talking to a person who has feelings… and I try to pray about it before I say it because I feel like God does a better job talking THROUGH me than me talking (if that makes sense).
As the prunee… (I don’t think that’s even a word), I try to really really listen to what the person is saying… although, I have to admit, sometimes I wonder who the heck they think they are telling me I need to work on something… USUALLY, there is some sort of truth to what they’re saying… and usually it’s something I already know, but haven’t wanted to fess up and work on.
Anyway… it’ Friday. Have a good weekend 🙂