We are still a few days away from the official start of spring. One neighbor, however, (the one with the exceptionally tidy yard) has a jump on us all. His tidy bundles down by the street are awaiting today’s scheduled yard debris pickup.
There’s such a variety there in the neat piles. Prickly holly branches, feathery boughs of a fir I can’t identify, totally dead English boxwood, varying widths of healthy green beech limbs (ranging from two to six inches in diameter), and a very scary root of something that has clung to all of its soil. That one is turned upside down so all you can see are the hacked off roots and its longtime friend–the dark brown soil.
As my mind works, I’m immediately thinking about John 15:5, “I am the vine. You are the branches. He who remains in me, and I in him, the same bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.” I always thought that verse had something about how He trims the vine, prunes unnecessary growth to strengthen the vine. I know I’ve heard that in sermons and read it in multiple places. It’s what’s done to vines to keep them strong and shaped to produce good grapes.
What is He trying to prune out of me now?
The prickly holly branches. That’s apparent to me. It’s all my personality traits my husband affectionately calls my “snapping turtle tendencies.” Impatience. Selfishness. The knitting of my brow when I don’t like something.
The dead boxwood? No problem. Those are the really useless habits that I’ve already given up (with His help) but haven’t cleaned out of my mind’s garage. Quitting smoking over 30 years ago is one; I still smoke in my dreams.
What about the feathery fir? That’s a bit harder. It could be all the soft tentacles that permeate my life. Those that don’t seem so bad at the time but they keep me from hitting the mark. Procrastination. Overeating. Spending too much time on trivial things.
Working up the scale of difficulty I reach the varying widths of beech limbs. Those are the areas that seem to be working to make my life comfortable but He knows they need to be lopped off. Pride. Laziness. Inconsiderate behavior. The bad things that come out of my mouth when I’m driving. Unloving words toward my loved ones. Snobbery. Oh, dear. He knows this is a long list.
The hacked off roots, clinging to life with its dirt? Yikes. He knows the really bad stuff….the hypocrisy, anger, gossip, arrogance…the list is long.
My prayer today is that I can yield to His pruning. To take one step in the direction I know He wants me to go. And then to rejoice at the end of the day and give thanks for the immeasurable joy and blessings He brings into my life.
Blessings and kind regards to you all.