Tag Archives: cutting away

Spirit Seeker Sunday – OUCH!

Spirit 17 stephen

May His Spirit move us. Fresh. Flowing. Bubbling . . .
(Photo by Stephen Moldenhauer)

Ouch!

“ . . . every branch that bears fruit, He prunes it so that it may bear more fruit.” John 15:2 (NASB)

“Deeper, deeper! Blessed Holy Spirit, Take me deeper still, Till my life is wholly lost in Jesus, and His perfect will.” (Verse 3, Deeper, Deeper by C.P. Jones)

Have you ever been pruned? I have.

Did you like it? Me, neither!

At least at first.

I’m been through relational pruning, financial pruning, physical pruning, church pruning, and work pruning. In many of those situations I elevated something or someone over Him. I looked to these things, food, or people for happiness, security, and self-esteem. It’s not that I meant to. In fact, I didn’t even know I had until it was pruned away.

There were  relationships where I tried so hard to please the person that I missed God’s will for my life, elevating his or her plans for me over His. I thought finances could make me feel secure, but when they were gone I found security came only from Jesus. Without realizing it I allowed church ties to dictate  doctrine, and I missed some of the most beautiful truths in Scripture. Eating never filled my emotional emptiness, it only add the pain of weight gain.

When I allow my self-esteem to be tied to  relationships, accomplishments, food, or stuff, I can’t live in a stable, peaceful place. The only place that is truly secure and safe is in the shadow of my Lord’s wings. Only by being firmly connected to the Vine called Jesus can I find the courage to become all God wants me to be.

Of course, I’m not saying that every loss is pruning. But, looking back on my life, many losses were. Wise pruning only cuts away what is unnecessary or  impedes healthy growth. Pruning never means being cut from the Vine.

I don’t like being pruned. Yet, even as He saws away He holds tightly to me. We don’t walk through the experience alone because God’s love always remains. The Good Gardener wraps my wound and binds me to the Vine. After a while the loss hurts less because the nourishment from the Vine is flowing more strongly through me.

The cutting helps us focus more passionately on the Savior. We experience our desperate need for His nourishment. Often we turn to Him, drinking big gulps of His grace and truth instead of little sips.

Sometimes it feels like pruning means the Lord is mad or doesn’t Like who we are. It’s really the opposite. The Lord prunes only the fruitful branches.

God prunes because He likes the fruit He sees and wants more! He prunes so we can become more peaceful, secure, and strong. He prunes so we are firmly rooted in Him and have all we need to produce more fruit.rosebush backyard 3

God wants is to know Him best of all and to be set free to taste the sweet depth of His love.

After the pruning we become more fruitful. Our life is more focused. Joy buds. Peace grows and blossoms. Perseverance blooms. And then we feel that solid foundation of abiding.

It feels like the arms of Jesus.

Lord, sometimes I fight your pruning. I only see the hurt and not the plan you have for my good. I complain, whine, and cry. Sometimes I even doubt your love for me. I tell myself you don’t care. But all the while you bind my wounds and pour your nourishing love into what remains of me. Thank you that I never go through this process without your love. Give me the ability to submit to your shears and trust that You know best. I give you permission to prune away. Just hold me REAL tight. Okay?”

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After the pruning comes the blooming

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Another Lesson from the Roses

Talk about a gift that keeps on giving!

Last year for Mother’s Day I asked for some red squares and elbow grease. The landscaping rock around my roses bushes needed to be dug up and redone. The weeds had taken over. Thanks to our hard work in totally starting over, I have had very little upkeep around my rose bush. It gets to bloom, and the weeds are gone.

pink rose bush

no weeds 3

Of course the scenario reminded me of this  inside/out weight loss/get healthy journey we’re on.

There are places in my life where the rocks have been dug up and new landscaping has prevailed.

The complete overhaul has to do with consistently giving my body better nutrition. I daily make a point to take my Body Balance nutritional supplement, eat more fresh foods, and drink more water.

Another overhaul has been in the area of movement. While I don’t exercise like a crazy woman, lifting weights and being a true jock, I do make a point to do something active 3-4 times a week at the minimum. This is life change for me, a total re-landscaping of my priorities.

The only problem with my wonderful Mother’s Day gift is that the original intent was the landscaping on BOTH sides of the driveway. One side took WAY more effort than expected. Since my husband and sons did the most back-breaking parts of this endeavor, I didn’t have the heart to push to get that other side done last summer.

Or this one.

And the rock around THAT rose bush continues to be overrun with weeds.

weeds

I finally tackled them last week. Some pulled easily from the roots. Others broke off at the top. In a week or so I’ll have to deal with them again.

Of course that whole scenario ALSO reminded me of our BENew journey.

Much of my journey to better health is more like weeding than new landscaping.

Some weeds I pulled pretty much from the roots–like my monthly trip to McDonald’s. There was something about the female cycle that made me want to sneak off to Micky-D’s, drop almost exactly $3 and have a cheeseburger, fries, and Pepsi. That weed is pretty much gone. I’m not saying I’ll never, ever do that again, but I can easily count on my fingers the few times I’ve had french fries since last October–and not once included my ordering at a McDonald’s drive-through window.

I still have a weed I’ve never once tried to dig up from the roots. It’s called sugar.

weed deeo

It’s been chopped off at the top many times. I don’t allow it to take over my landscaping anymore, but neither have I completely rooted it out.

I love to bake. I enjoy my homemade goodies as well as really yummy stuff like dark chocolate. Before my BENew journey I didn’t pay much attention to my sugar intake. Now I do. It’s my goal to use self-control and wisdom. I think about how often and how much I indulge in foods with sugar. I think about how much movement is need to work off these kinds of treats so they don’t settle into more visceral fat. I keep taking my BENew products to block carbs and break down fat cells. I’m not naive enough to believe I can be healthy and still have all the sugar I want if I just take BENew, but it is part of the way I battle.

I have healthy friends who’ve gone after the root of this weed, but I’m not ready to do that. I know, however, that if I don’t give it careful attention, it will completely sabotage my health journey. For now I choose to live with the maintenance required by this weed in my landscaping.

How about you? What parts of your life need a total digging up and re-landscaping if you’re going to meet your goals? Do you have weeds you’ve eradicated all the way from the root? How about one you keep chopping off at the top? Or should?

Even a little weeding can change the the view . . .

bush orange

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Weeding or new landscaping?