Wednesday, February 23, 2011

I Got Pruned.

Yall, it's been a while. I know.

I apologize.

Last week was just a crazy week mentally. I went home Sunday after church feeling very encouraged and carefree and just, you know, ready for spring. I was in one of those, "This is going to be a GREAT week!" mindsets.

Then Monday came. Oh, Monday. I don't really have the normal dislike for Mondays. I actually like them a lot. But that Monday was different. Because following a very encouraging Sunday came a very discouraging  Monday. It was like one thing after another. A complaint. A disapproval. A discouragement. A not-so-fun-to-read e-mail. A disrespectful text message. You know, that kind of day.

So that kind of set the stage for my week. The rest of the week was spent trying to overcome this enormous feeling of, "I stink. People hate me. Why am I doing this? I'm sick of people. I want to be at the beach. Lord, I'm trying to have a right attitude."

I was discouraged. I'd been hurt. I was ticked off. I was confused. I felt lonely at times.

The whole time I was tempted to blame this on Satan. He's trying to discourage me. He's tempting me. He's just trying to slow me down and trip me up.

Maybe he did have a part in it, and I have no doubt He enjoyed it.

But I think it was bigger than Satan.

I think the Lord was pruning me. In fact, I know the Lord was pruning me.

Because this week I feel stronger, healthier, more passionate, more fruitful, more focused than I have in very long time. My heart is a little more sensitive and my skin is a little thicker, both which are essential to a life of ministry. There is no doubt in my mind this was the Lord's work.

Pruning is a term you've probably heard a lot if you've lived in a church circle for much time at all. We throw it around like it's self-explanatory. But sometimes my simple mind has to stop and be reminded of what these "thrown-around" words really mean.

So here we go:

Pruning is a horticultural practice involving the selective removal of parts of a plant, such as branchesbuds, or roots. Reasons to prune plants include deadwood removal, shaping (by controlling or directing growth), improving or maintaining health, reducing risk from falling branches, preparing nursery specimens for transplanting, and both harvesting and increasing the yield or quality of flowers and fruits

That's exactly what God was doing in my heart and mind last week. He was removing the parts of me, like pride, arrogance, selfish ambition, insecurity, doubt, haughty attitudes, etc. that would, in the long run, diminish my spiritual health. He was shaping me in order to redirect my growth in a direction that would improve who I am and the fruit of my labor.

And I am so glad He did.

Pruning is never fun. Getting things removed can seem like torture. Sometimes it is. Getting reshaped can hurt. But the result afterward... is priceless. It's something so much greater, brighter, prettier, stronger than if you would have just left it to be.

God loves us too much to just "let us be." He loves us enough to prune us. To make us better.

Next time you're having one of those weeks, don't be so quick to blame Satan.
It just might be your loving Creator taking good care of His creation. 


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