One of the jobs I knew I would need to tackle this year was the pruning of our ornamental plum tree in the back yard. It had not been pruned for a number of years. The result was many crossing branches and growth that was not healthy.
So a couple weeks ago, pruners and saws in hand, I started on the job. The actual pruning of the tree only took a few hours, but cuting up the branches to go in our green waste containers has taken many more.
This has offered me the opportunity to reflect on pruning and how it affects our lives as well as the lives of trees.
One of the reasons for pruning a tree is to create space for new growth. I pruned to open up the middle and allow light and air into the center of the tree. So it is with my life when it gets pruned by a loving God. Over time habits, attitudes and and ways of thinking and responding can accumulate in our lives. Not all of these are healthy; some take up so much space in our lives that there is no room for growth, some block light from getting to us, so we cannot grow. Pruning these items out can allow us to change, find room for new interests and space for new relationships.
When I decided to do the pruning of the tree, I did it because I wanted the tree to be healthy and strong. My reason for doing it had to do with the health of the tree and the health of the surrounding plants. When God prunes our lives, He also does it to bring health to us. However He also prunes to bring health to those surrounding us. Just as a tree that has become too large can shade and stunt the growth of other plants around it, we can if left unpruned cause the growth of those around us to be unhealthy.
Of course we are not trees, and so our needs for growth differ. However I have found that the pruning of some habits has allowed space for better and more reflective choices, as the light of God has space to penetrate my life.
What about you?