January 5, 2015
Pruning the Old to Make Room for the New
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(John 15:1 NIV).
Friend to Friend
In 2006, I sat down to write my annual Christmas letter and it began with these words: “This year has been a year of change.” Then I realized that was the very same way I had begun our traditional greeting the year before! I tore up the paper and decided to skip our Christmas letter that year.
Have you ever had one of those years when everything in your life seemed to change? I had two years in succession where God left no area of my life untouched…except my marriage. I did get to keep my husband.
My son graduated from college, I stepped down from leadership at a ministry where I had served for ten years and my voice went off the radio for the first time in a decade. But perhaps the biggest change was that we left a home we had lived in for twenty years. This was a home we had built, raised our son, and filled with wonderful memories in every room. My adult son’s two-year-old handprints were stamped in the concrete of the driveway, his growth was charted on the kitchen doorframe, and echoes of laughter and tears lingered in the now empty rooms.
Steve and I packed up our memories and moved to a house in the country overlooking a beautiful lake. And while we loved the view and the house, the yard was a mess. The monstrous shrubbery engulfed the house like a bunker. Steve began the arduous task of cutting the back bushes, digging up trees, and shaping up shrubs. Ultimately, the job was just too big for one man (even though Steve is quite the Rambo with a hedge trimmer). Conceding defeat, he hired a crew to finish the job.
After hours of hacking, sawing, and digging, the men hauled away 2,000 pounds of limbs, roots, and shrubs. Two thousand pounds!
As I watched the last dump truck pull away from our newly-trimmed yard, God began to show me a picture of His handiwork in my heart. For the past two years, He had been pruning my life in order to make room for new growth. I had become an overgrown tangle—a mass of ministry, management, and multiple layers of activity that was suffocating what God had intended me to be. Yes, there was fruit, but He wanted me to produce more fruit. The only way to make room for what He had in store was to lop off areas of my life that had grown out of control.
Was it comfortable? No.
Was it spiritually profitable? Yes.
Jesus explained this process to the disciples in one of their last conversations together before the cross: “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” (John 15:1).
As you move into the New Year, ask God what parts of your busy schedule need to be pruned or cut back. Perhaps, like me, He has some new and exciting ventures waiting just around the corner, and He’s waiting for you to make room in your life before He reveals what they are.
Happy New Year! I can’t wait to hear what God has in-store for you!
Dear God, sometimes I don’t like it when You prune my life. It’s uncomfortable and I’m not crazy about change. However, I know that You are the Gardener who knows what I need to produce the most fruit. Forgive me when I whine and complain about the process. Help me to trust You with the pruning shears and meet change with an attitude of expectancy and anticipation.
In Jesus’ Name,
Now It’s Your Turn
Spend some time today pondering your schedule.
Are there any activities that you need to eliminate?
Are there any commitments that you need to wrap up?
Are you spending too much time on social media, Pinterest, or Facebook?
Are you involved in too many organizations?
These are just a few of the questions to ponder as you ask the Gardener what, if anything, needs to be pruned away in 2015.
More from the Girlfriends
What does God have in store for you this year? If you would like to learn more about how to listen to God’s direction and still small voice, check out my book Becoming a Woman Who Listens to God. I can’t think of any better goal for 2015! He’s speaking; can you hear Him?
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